Vegan Caesar Salad Dressing & Intermittent Fasting Update

May 20, 2013

Good morning to you! I hope you had a great weekend.

Vida Vegan Con:

I’m buzzing around getting ready to leave town for the upcoming vegan blogging conference, Vida Vegan Con. I had so much fun at the first round back in 2011 and I can’t WAIT for this year’s event. You can read about the trip I took to the Bob’s Red Mill factory here, plus another post I wrote about my experiences and the fellow vegans I met here. While I’ll be traveling starting on Wednesday through early next week, my hope is to keep blogging on my regular Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule, with lots of updates from my adventures. For candid pictures taken from the road, be sure to follow me on Instagram here.

Vegan Caesar Salad Dressing:

Who doesn’t love a good Caesar salad? I know that before I went vegan, this was my standard go-to salad that I would order at restaurants or buy in a bottle and serve at home. There is just something special about the salty, creamy dressing served on crisp, crunchy romaine.

Thanks to my husband who has been bugging me to make a healthy, vegan version of a Caesar dressing for longer than I am willing to admit (sorry, honey), I finally started experimenting this weekend to make my own. I turned to the blogosphere for inspiration, plus Dr. Fuhrman’s recipe collection as a starting point. I noticed that most vegan versions use cashews as the base, so that is how I started. The cashews lend creaminess, for sure, but I balanced them out with hemp seeds on my second go-around, to take advantage of the omega-3s.

Dijon mustard is also a common ingredient, although I used stone-ground mustard combined with mellow white miso for the distinctive salty flavor that really defines a Caesar dressing (probably due to the anchovies used in the traditional version). As you know, I normally don’t use ingredients that contain a lot of sodium like mustards or miso, but in this case, I think it is necessary. I also used dates to balance the savory and nutritional yeast for an added element:

Vegan Caesar Dressing using cashews and hemp seeds.

I just blended all the ingredients together in my Vitamix and it was ready to serve on fresh romaine. Why, oh why, did I wait so long to make this dressing?

I love this dressing so much that I’m putting it on everything I can find, including my Vegetable Quinoa Salad (see the recipe here):

Caesar Dressing served on top of Vegetable & Quinoa Salad.

The dressing recipe is also available in a handy-dandy mobile version on my app, Vegan Delish (get it here!). Just look in the “New Recipes” category for it and plenty of other easy, healthy recipes that are all gluten-free and made using little to no oil, salt, or added sugars.

Intermittent Fasting Update:

Thanks for your comments on the post I wrote about intermittent fasting last week (you can see it here). I forgot to mention in that post that there is a great video that was aired on PBS earlier this year on the topic. You can watch that video here, it is super interesting. My first week using the Fast-5 approach was overall really great, although I’m still making adjustments to how it works for me. Namely, I am needing to be more careful about not doing “compensatory eating” which means filling up before the fast starts to alleviate anxiety about the fasting phase. So far, though, I am really loving getting back in touch with my hunger and noticing how intertwined my emotions are with my desire to eat.

Random Weekend Pictures:

Before I go, I thought I’d share some pictures I took this weekend. I made a green smoothie yesterday and was taking a picture when someone got very interested in the fresh mint on top (mint and catnip are in the same family, apparently):

Xena sniffing the fresh mint.

On Friday, we had an unexpected cool spell in Southern California which allowed for a late season hike:

Probably my last hike of the season?

I went walking yesterday morning around the neighborhood and spotted this beautiful hibiscus that made me feel like summer is right around the corner:

Orange and red hibiscus.

That being said, I’m busting out my warm sweaters and coat for my trip to Portland; Wednesday’s high is only in the 50′s. Brrr! See you back here then.

{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

kimmythevegan May 20, 2013 at 7:45 am

Mmmm the Caesar salad sounds delicious =)
And oh man, I triple love mint in my smoothies. So good!
You’re looking so great Carrie!

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Carrie May 20, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Thanks, Kimmy! Hugs!!!

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janet @ the taste space May 20, 2013 at 7:49 am

Oh wow – this is the first caesar salad dressing I have been enticed to make. Looks delicious Carrie. Glad to hear the fasting regimen is going ok. Hopefully you can keep it up at VV! :)

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Carrie May 20, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Hi Janet! I might just go nutritarian at VVC and not try to do the fasting. There are too many good vegan food options in Portland. :) Next time, you should come to the conference!

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janet @ the taste space May 20, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Sounds like a good plan… maybe next year will be better. This year, I am writing the biggest exam of my life. :)

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Sheri May 20, 2013 at 9:35 am

Carrie.. I don’t have white balsamic…. Would regular balsamic work?

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Carrie May 20, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Hi Sheri! I would probably use a more potent vinegar, maybe just a regular white wine. You can use regular balsamic, but it will change the color and might not be strong enough.

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Laura S. May 20, 2013 at 12:05 pm

I always love a new dressing so thanks for the recipe! I’m glad it does not have silken tofu in it as I’m trying to stay away from soy. (I’ll replace the soy milk with an alternative non-dairy milk.)

Have so much fun in Portland! I’m sad I couldn’t make it but I’m sure you’ll give us a great recap, as always :)

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Carrie May 20, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Thanks, Laura! Wish you could be there too, it would be awesome to meet you in person. Hugs!

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yummy May 20, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Yum! I love caesar salad too! I make my dressing really lemony and almost hot from raw garlic :) Keeps vampires away.
This is totally random but there is a chain restaurant that serves a caesar salad that uses a head of romaine lettuce grilled over mesquite. It is INCREDIBLY YUMMY! Next time you get invited to a BBQ, bring lettuce! :) So good, I wish I had some right now!
Have fun in Portland! <3

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Carrie May 20, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Hi Yummy!!! I totally know what you mean about putting so much garlic in that it tastes hot. I used two cloves in my first test of this recipe and learned my lesson. I also LOVE your idea about bringing a head of romaine to a BBQ and just throwing it on. Xoxo!!!

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Michele May 20, 2013 at 1:10 pm

I’m wondering if the purpose for the hemp seeds is for nutrition or texture. It’s an ingredient I don’t usually use and I’m wondering what I could sub it with. Sounds great!!!

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Carrie May 20, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Hi Michele! Yes, I used the hemp seeds for their great nutritional profile. You could just sub the cashews instead. :)

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Robin Corbin May 20, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Caesar Salad is one of my husband’s favorite salads but he is allergic to cashews, pine nuts, and pistachios. He actually avoids all nuts for fear of new unknown allergies. He had to spend the night in the hospital after eating a salad that had pistachios in the dressing. This is when we learned of the pistachio allergy. He is okay with seeds and eats flaxseed, chia seed, and sunflower seeds pretty regularly. Are there any Caesar Salad recipes that don’t include nuts?
Robin

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Carrie May 20, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Hi Robin. You could totally just use hemp seeds and sunflower seeds in this recipe. It’s the miso and mustard that gives it the flavor.

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Robin May 20, 2013 at 7:20 pm

Awesome, thanks Carrie! I am excited to give this a try! It seems like sunflower seeds are super versatile. They’ve been recommended as a substitute many times!
Should the measurements remain the same?

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Carrie May 21, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Let me know how it works, Robin. Yes, the measurements would be the same.

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Sandy May 20, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Beautiful hibiscus flower, beautiful cat & you’re beautiful too Carrie! :-)

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Carrie May 20, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Thanks, Sandy! :)

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Sheri May 20, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Hey Carrie ! Well.. I went to store and found the white balsamic vinegar. Then came home and noticed my hemp seeds tasted bitter. I left them out of recipe . The dressing was delish! Can you tell me if hemp seeds are supposed to be refrigerated? Mine were just sitting in pantry… Thanks Carrie !!! :)

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Robyn :) May 20, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Where do you buy the Miso?

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Fiona Leigh May 20, 2013 at 10:55 pm

Hi Carrie
I follow your blog regularly and really enjoy it. Thank you.
I am a nutritarian and found your blog via the Fuhrman website some time ago.
I have given the fast 5 a go and find it so easy – suits me well. I was just wondering if you knew what Dr Fuhrman’s thoughts were on this? I know he likes a long period of not eating for rest and repair but wondered how he specifically felt about this approach or if it had any drawbacks?
Certainly I am hungry when I do eat the first meal but then I do eat a second meal before the window closes and I might not actually feel ‘true’ hunger’ then.
What do you think?

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Carrie May 21, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Hi Fiona! Thanks so much for the note. I don’t know that Dr. Fuhrman has commented specifically on the Fast-5 program, but there was a thread where he commented on the Michael Mosley video (for some reason I can’t find it now). I believe he mentions that he could not personally do so much intermittent fasting because he would get too thin. In regards to not feeling hungry before the close of the window, I think that would indicate that the first meal would need to be smaller. That’s just my opinion, of course. :)

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Oly Jacobsen May 21, 2013 at 3:49 am

Hi Carrie, I have to try that Caesar dressing for tonight. I just love new dressings on my salad now and again. Thanks for all the inspiration! I’m gonna make a drawing of that lovely hibiscus!! Cats could be my next project … I love to draw new things all the time, like a learning process … to keep me young!

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Oly Jacobsen May 23, 2013 at 6:27 am

Carrie, you won me over with your Caesar dressing! I really like the salty, hot taste from the miso and mustard. But after refrigeration I couldn’t taste the yeast, so I’m gonna add some more next time. And there will be a next time!
Thanks!

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Carrie May 23, 2013 at 6:39 am

Thanks for the feedback, Oly! I agree, the nooch flavor was mild, but I think it is more similar to a traditional Caesar dressing that way. That being said, definitely add more next time if that’s your preference! :)

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Patty May 21, 2013 at 10:42 am

Hi Carrie!
The new Caesar dressing is SO good! I made it right away, last night, because it sounded so delicious and it did not disappoint at all! I’m loving it. I had it last night on my greens and I’m having it again right now on more greens. I also am putting a little in my quinoa, and that is so yummy! Great job, Carrie! Thanks for coming up with this new recipe…it’s awesome!

Great post! I enjoyed the whole thing. Have a fabulous time at Vida Vegan Con! I can’t wait to read your posts and see your photos from that conference. I love Portland! Cool weekend photos. Your hike looks wonderful and I loved your kitty smelling your smoothie mint! So cute!

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Carrie May 21, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Thanks so much for letting me know, Patty! :)

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Jodi@PurelyNourished May 21, 2013 at 6:38 pm

This dressing sounds like something I definitely need to try. Thanks for experimenting! How exciting about your trip. Enjoy, the cool weather. We’ll keep the hot summer temperatures around here going for when you return. Have a great trip!

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Carrie May 21, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Thanks, Jodi! Are you in the desert?

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Jodi@PurelyNourished May 21, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Yes! Indian Wells. I think we’re in for a long hot summer.

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Carrie May 22, 2013 at 5:58 am

Oh wow! I had no idea you were here too. You probably gathered that I live in the desert part-time. We should get together!!!

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Anna May 22, 2013 at 10:29 am

Just printed your caesar salad dressing recipe and I can’t wait to try it! Thanks for sharing your health journey and wonderful recipes with the world!

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Lee at Veggie Quest May 24, 2013 at 8:30 am

That Caesar dressing looks stellar! Printing the recipe out right now. :-)

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gina May 27, 2013 at 8:59 am

Hi Carrie! As always, this looks delish! How long will this stay good in the fridge? Also, I avoid soy (except miso and tempeh in moderation) since I have hypothyroidism and soy is a known thyroid depressant. Honestly, I’m a little surprised you use it in recipes as often as you do. Please correct me if I’m wrong. What do you think would be the best replacement? Almond milk, maybe. Thanks so much and I’m super jealous of your Portland trip. If the job market wasn’t so dismal, I’d move there in a heartbeat. I love it! Best. :)

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latoya May 27, 2013 at 1:27 pm

again. this is about the 3rd or 4th of your recipes that have been winners! i’m in love with this recipe. i’m so bad, i already dipped my black bean and quinoa chips in them. (so bad).

thanks!

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Carrie May 28, 2013 at 6:24 am

Thank you, Latoya, I LOVE the feedback, especially when it’s positive, ha ha. :)

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gina June 1, 2013 at 7:42 am

Hi Carrie! I was checking to see it you responded to my question and after re-reading my post, I want to apologize. It reads…well…judgmental, which was my very last intention. I love your site, recipes, and app! I guess what I was really trying to ask, aside from a good alternative for soy for your recipe, is: What’s your opinion regarding the soy/thyroid link? You have my email address, so feel free to message me privately since this is kinda a big question. I really appreciate everything you do and offer to the vegan conversation. <3 Warmly.

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Carrie June 1, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Hi Gina! No problem, I didn’t take your comment and question negatively. I know there is a lot of stuff out there about soy and thyroid function. I’ve done what I consider my due diligence on the topic and appreciate Dr. Fuhrman’s advice that as long as there is adequate iodine in the diet, then it’s not an issue (assuming moderate intake of minimally processed, organic sources). It’s such a controversial issue, though, that I don’t like to comment except for my opinion as I just mentioned. I do appreciate the note, though, and I’m trying to make a better effort to get a variety of nut-milks and beans in my diet, and not just soy. For awhile, I was avoiding grains and so I felt I needed the soy to get a higher-quality of protein, but I’ve incorporated more grains back into my diet recently and so I feel less pressure to go to soy for my amino acids.

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gina June 2, 2013 at 7:46 am

Soy, in general, can be a pretty controversial issue. So many varying opinions. It’s a little overwhelming as I try to figure out what works best for me. That’s really interesting what Dr. Fuhrman says about iodine. Good to know. Thanks so much for your feedback. Much appreciated.

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Carrie June 3, 2013 at 7:31 am

I agree, Gina, it’s totally confusing and sometimes overwhelming. I’m glad you asked for my opinion, I appreciate it, as well as getting your feedback. :)

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gina June 1, 2013 at 7:43 am

Ha! That was supposed to be a heart. Poor little thing.

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susan beterbide June 24, 2013 at 9:31 am

Best dressing ever!

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Carrie June 24, 2013 at 1:40 pm

So glad you like it, Susan!!! :)

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Linda Dale July 3, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Do you mind saying which “no-salt seasoning” you used? There are a lot of them out there and using one rather than another could totally could the taste of the dressing. Thanks Carrie.

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Carrie July 7, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Hi Linda! I just use the no-salt seasoning from Costco because it’s cheap and accessible to me. I’ve heard a lot of people say they like Mrs. Dash. Which one do you like?

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Linda Dale July 8, 2013 at 7:55 pm

I have and like both. I tend to use the Costco one more often because it’s organic. I find it to be a bit spicier than Mrs. Dash, which I use when I want something a little milder. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve introduced to that Costco seasoning. I’ve even sent it to relatives around the country who aren’t near a Costco. Thank you for answering my question!

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Carrie July 9, 2013 at 5:33 am

Hi Linda! I forgot to mention that I also love the fact that the Costco one is organic. I think that is a very important distinction. Also, fyi, I just noticed that they sell a four-pack of it on the Costco website, just in case you want to order it for people directly.

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Linda Dale July 8, 2013 at 7:56 pm

P.S. What can I do to remove that horrifying pink grimace face from my comments on here???

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Carrie July 9, 2013 at 5:32 am

Hi Linda! Do you mean to say that you don’t have a grimacing, pink face in real life? :) I think you need to have a picture or avatar uploaded in the Wordpress system or maybe Disqus to have it show your real image? One of my other friends always shows as a really mean looking face and so his new nickname is Mr. Angry Face.

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Annie July 19, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe. I’m so happy I found your website, I’ve never been this excited to try recipes without oil, salt or sugar. :)

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Les February 21, 2014 at 10:37 am

if this dressing was any thinner I’d be drinking it with a straw – SUPER

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Carrie February 21, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Ha ha, that’s funny, Les. I’m SO GLAD you like it!!! :)

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Les February 24, 2014 at 3:11 pm

what is the nutritional content

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