Apr 01, 2014

Vegan Caesar Salad to Live For! (nut-based dressing)

Thank you, Caesar Cardini, wherever you are! That’s the guy who created the famed Caesar Salad. I love him. No, I didn’t know him. In fact, he passed the same year I was born. But I love that he gave us this wonderful culinary treat. He was an Italian immigrant who traveled back and forth from Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego, California, running two restaurants simultaneously. On one 4th of July, he had so many customers that he ran out of his usual ingredients for salad dressing. Improvising, he created this stunningly flavorful dish, using what he had on hand and prepared the salads table-side—with a flair. The rest is history.

Caesar Cardini
Now we’re making our own history by preparing this salad without the use of egg, parmesan cheese, anchovies and oil (the usual culprits ingredients). It’s so easy to prepare and if you eat a lot of salads, like we do, it’s a must to include into your weekly meal rotations. And it’s so fabulous, I could eat this morning, noon and night. I made it two days in a row and could easily have had it the next day, too! Seriously. The dressing is to die for… I mean, to live for!


  • 1-2 heads Romaine lettuce, chopped (about 10 cups)
  • 2 avocados, sliced

~ for the dressing

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • ½ cup raw pine nuts
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 TBS balsamic vinegar
  • 2 TBS nutritional yeast, plus more for garnishing
  • 1 TBS tamari or other low sodium soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 TBS granulated or flaked sea vegetables, such as kelp
  • Freshly grated black pepper and nutritional yeast to garnish


  1. Place all dressing ingredients into a high powered blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Toss the lettuce with the dressing until completely coated.
  3. Add avocado (into the salad or on top, up to you)
  4. Garnish with extra nutritional yeast and some freshly grated black pepper.

Makes a lot! Will serve about 6 as a healthy-sized side salad, or 2-3 as a main dish. Enjoy!

Healthy trails,

9 responses to “Vegan Caesar Salad to Live For! (nut-based dressing)”

  1. Sarah says:

    Another great history lesson! I've always wondered where the salad came from, but never actually looked it up! You NEED to write a cookbook with all this great info included too (hint hint)!!!!

  2. Helyn says:

    Thanks, Sarah! The cookbook is coming!!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    This looks and sounds so yummy! Can't wait to try it. Thanks for sharing!!

  4. LO says:


    I've made this salad many times and LOVE it! I usually double the recipe and eat it for lunch for a week straight! I was going to make it again and thought about substituting beans for half of the cashews. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think it would have such a good flavor still?



  5. Helyn says:

    Leah, so funny I just made this again tonight! I love it too. YES! What a fabulous idea to sub some beans for the cashews. I would use white beans such as cannelloni or navy beans. Let me know how it turns out, will you? Thanks!!

  6. Helyn says:

    oops, typo, that' supposed to be CANNELLINI beans… silly spell checker :))

  7. LO says:

    I will let you know! I'm so excited to eat it again, it's one of my faves 🙂

  8. LO says:

    The verdict is in, it's still delish using beans instead of half of the cashews! I think using all cashews is still a little bit better, but I don't notice a huge difference using beans!

  9. Helyn says:

    Fantastic! Thanks for letting us know 🙂

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