Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing

A great Caesar salad gets it’s greatness from a great dressing. This easy, homemade version will knock your socks off. The hubs, a self-proclaimed Caesar salad connoisseur , approved of the authentic taste. Bonus for him? He didn’t have to worry about being served a ‘chemical cocktail’ (aka processed dressing) over his bed of lettuce for dinner ever again. The hubs can be touchy about such things.

Even better for me? This recipe doesn’t have anchovies. Anchovies give me the creeps. I didn’t even know that’s what gave Caesar the tangy bite I loved so much until my early twenties when a friend told me mid-bite of, you guessed it folks, Caesar salad. First I freaked out, then I had a mild panic attack, and felt like my throat was constricting blinking back tears and trying not to gag. Then I couldn’t even look at my salad, let alone eat it. It was a whole year before I could even think about eating it. Not my finest hour, err year. But hey, time can fix anything, right? Wrong. You did know Caesar dressing usually has anchovies in it…right? If not, sorry I told you. Spoiler alert!

A long while later a quick search of the all-knowing Google proved that I could still get the taste I craved without getting the willies. A host of tangy ingredients, and a good bit of garlic, cover beautifully for the absent anchovies.

Caesar Dressing (without anchovies)

4 Sons 'R' Us: Caesar Dressing

recipe adapted from BigTigger on Chow Hound

3 tsp minced garlic
3/4 – 1 cup mayonnaise
1+ tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp dry mustard
2 1/2 – 3 tbs red wine vinegar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions

1. Add all of the ingredients to a food processor or blender, and blend until completely incorporated.
2. Slowly add in a little bit at a time, while continuing to blend, 1/4 cup of olive oil. Blend until the dressing has emulsified.
3. Refrigerate until chilled, so that the dressing thickens, and continue to refrigerate any leftovers for up to a week.

Love the zesty, tangy taste of Caesar dressing? Give these recipes a try next:

4 Sons 'R' Us: Tortellini Caesar Salad

Tortellini Caesar Salad

4 Sons 'R' Us: Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

Sometimes, I think my kids must find me a real drag. I mean, they love carbohydrates sooooo much. Why should they be forced to suffer through a salad? If they were meant to eat leaves, they would have been born cows… right? No.

I’m kidding. Just a little. Maybe. Really they don’t complain. Much.

However, this mean, green Mama came equipped with a wonderful little sensor. I can feel the resistance building. When I feel an attack of the ‘anti-leaf’ campaign approaching, I immediately resort to subterfuge. I find a way to get those greens in. I get behind their defenses and hit them where it hurts. Right in the taste buds. This recipe is a beautiful pairing of pasta and salad that they can’t resist. The secret ingredient? Bacon! They see the greens, they know they’re good for them. They know they should at least try to resist, but their surrender is inevitable. This dish is just too tasty. Support your own troops with this delicious pasta salad. Pack a punch that they won’t soon forget. Who said your greens had to taste ‘green’ anyway?!

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

4 Sons 'R' Us: Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

  •  1 cup dry pasta; cooked according to package directions
  • 8 pieces bacon; cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 1 tbsp bacon grease*
  • 1 cup cooked chicken, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
  • 1/2 head of lettuce (or whole if small), chopped**
  • 1 cup croutons (optional)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup casesar dressing (or more to taste)

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Cook bacon, reserve 1-2 tbsp of the drippings/grease.
  3. Transfer cooled pasta to a bowl and toss with the bacon drippings* until evenly combined.
  4. Add in all other ingredients and stir thoroughly until evenly combined.
  5. Add in more dressing if necessary, to taste, and again toss everything to evenly coat.
  6. Serve immediately.**

*Don’t skip the bacon drippnigs! I know it might be tempting, but the flavor just isn’t nearly as robust without it. Also, it helps prevent the pasta from sticking together if you want to let it chill or transport.

**If not serving immediately, DO NOT add in the lettuce until you are ready to serve. If you add in the lettuce and don’t serve immediately the lettuce will be wilted and soggy.