Caesarish Salad Dressing

by Maggie on June 13, 2011

The first time I bought nutritional yeast was about five years ago. I brought it home even though I was thinking, What the heck is this flaky looking stuff?

Eventually nutritional yeast lured me in and there was no looking back.

We love to use it in our pesto to replace the parmesan cheese.

We sprinkle it onto pasta, popcorn and our homemade sweet potato fries and french fries.

And don’t get me started about the combination of nutritional yeast and kale chips.

It’s got amazing nutritional benefits too:

  • Naturally low in fat
  • High in protein and B vitamins
  • Contains more than 7grams of fiber in just 1 ounce

I created this salad dressing after an amazing meal Pete and I had at a raw food restaurant. Live Food Bar has an amazing raw and vegan version of Caesar salad. It was beyond delicious. I was determined to recreate it once we got home.

If you’re looking for the traditional caesar taste, add the juice of half a lemon.


Vegan Caesarish Salad Dressing

This dressing goes great on mixed greens, drizzled over asparagus, or as a dip for tofu. Let your imagination run wild. It does have a strong flavor, but that’s my favorite part.

¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup hemp hearts
¼ cup nutritional yeast
2 tsp capers
pinch of sea salt
1 tbsp maple syrup or honey (use more for a sweeter dressing)
1 clove garlic
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
¼ cup water (more if necessary, depending on desired consistency)

Add olive oil, hemp hearts, nutritional yeast, capers, sea salt, honey, garlic, and pepper to your blender (we use our immersion blender). Blend well and add water until you’ve reached desired consistency. If you’re adding lemon, be sure to use less water.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Yield: dressing for one large salad

The winners of Good Morning Breakfasts Without Gluten, Sugar, Eggs, or Dairy are:

Kim who said “I’m in search of a new favorite breakfast food. Green smoothies get old after awhile and my go-to recipe for waffles with berries doesn’t have quite the nutritional profile I want. Would love to win Ricki’s book; I have two of her other books and she never disappoints.”

Candice who said “How exciting! I’m all about breakfast. I love to start my day with some sort of nut or seed butter because the perfect combination of protein and fat helps stabilize my blood sugar for the day. Some of my favorites are granny smith apples with almond butter, Lundberg wild rice cakes with Sunbutter, or celery dipped in homemade pumpkin seed butter. I was so excited to see that Ricki’s blueberry muffins have tahini in them! Right up my alley.”

Contact me at so we can get you your e-books as soon as possible!

This post is linked to:
Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays
Real Food Weekly
Gluten-Free Wednesdays
Seasonal Sunday

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Caitlin June 13, 2011 at 8:45 pm

it took me a long time to purchase nutritional yeast because, let’s be honest, the name sounds disgusting. but i fell in love with it immediately, too! it is just so yummy in so many different things!

your caesarish salad dressing looks awesome- i love that it doesn’t have silken tofu in it like most vegan caesar dressing recipes. i’ve never heard of hemp hearts before!


Maggie June 14, 2011 at 5:42 am

Hi Caitlin – You’re right, the name is pretty weird too! Hemp hearts are also called hemp seeds I think. I get mine at our Farmer’s Market, and at my health food store. Hope you like the dressing!


Kalinda June 13, 2011 at 10:17 pm

Mmm, caesar salad. One of my favorites, but the anchovy thing doesn’t fly in our house. I will gladly give this a try if it means I get caesar salad more frequently. 🙂


Maggie June 14, 2011 at 5:41 am

Hey Kalinda – Hope you enjoy this version!


Kristin @ Peace, Love and Muesli June 14, 2011 at 8:39 am

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with nutritional yeast. I like it but I never buy it. The kids would never notice it on popcorn.


Maggie June 14, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Kristin – It takes popcorn to the next level. We can’t eat it without nutritional yeast now. We also put it on their pasta. Kind of like you would parm. cheese. So good!


Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free June 14, 2011 at 8:53 am

I use nutritional yeast in my pesto, too. Love the health benefits….and love this egg-free dressing, too! 🙂


Maggie June 14, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Great minds think alike Amy!


heidi June 14, 2011 at 1:53 pm

What is THAT next to the salad? Looks delish… 😉


Maggie June 14, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Heidi those are sweet potato chips made with my new toy, I mean kitchen tool. If you play your hummus cards right I will make you some.


Alisa Cooks June 14, 2011 at 2:13 pm

I love nutritional yeast. Good idea to put capers in! I’ll have to try that.


Maggie June 14, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Thanks Alisa – The capers are definitely a key ingredient!


Debi June 14, 2011 at 6:58 pm

How funny I’m reading this now. One of the mom’s of a kid I used to work with long ago is talking to me in FB about hemp hearts vs. hemp protein powder. Plus, I was just thinking that it really might be a good idea to go completely dairy-free but I don’t like the fake cheeses. I always forget about nutritional yeast. Caesar Salad is making an appearance next week, I believe. 😀


Maggie June 14, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Hey Debi – I’ve read that hemp hearts are the way to go because they’re less processed than the protein powder. I use both though. I am not a fan of the fake cheeses either. I do have daiya every now and then, but I like to stay away from processed foods. It’s just a treat! Let me know how you guys like the salad!


Kim - Cook It Allergy Free June 14, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Yay! I love this! I use nutritional yeast in my dairy-free mac and cheese (which I will post one of these days). It is so so yummy!! This dressing looks delish! Seriously! We are in the same mode. I am posting a salad dressing recipe tomorrow too. 😉


Maggie June 15, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Hey Kim – I’m off to check out your salad recipe! You can never have enough at this time of year! Can’t wait to see your mac and cheese recipe!


brandi June 15, 2011 at 8:26 am

this sounds so good! what a fun twist on dressing.

i finally got some nutritional yeast a few weeks ago, but I’ve only used it a few times. i still need to try it on popcorn, for sure!


Maggie June 15, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Thanks Brandi. Nutritional yeast is soooo good on popcorn! Just sprinkle it on at the end and you will love it.


cathy June 15, 2011 at 8:37 am

I’ve never bought hemp hearts. What section of the store could I find them in?


Maggie June 15, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Hi Cathy – I buy mine from the farmer’s market but I have also seen them at my health food store. If you can’t find hemp hearts you could try using tahini. Hope this helps!


Annie June 15, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Yum yum this looks so good! I’ve just sort of got into nutritional yeast lately and mostly just to make cripsy tofu so I’ll be glad to give it a go in another recipe. I’ll have to try in on popcorn too. Also, what are those delicious looking chips in the picture with your salad!?! You are giving a pregnant lady cravings over here Maggie!


Linda June 21, 2011 at 11:33 am

I bought some nutritional yeast for the first time not long ago, but I haven’t done much with it. You have inspired me! Thanks for sharing your dressing with us.


Heather June 24, 2011 at 9:14 pm

So glad you posted – Was craving this today!!


Maggie June 25, 2011 at 8:36 am

Anything for you Heather 🙂 xo


Alta July 14, 2011 at 2:41 pm

I agree on the nutritional yeast+popcorn thing. AMAZING. Especially with a touch of cayenne added in too.
Love this dressing. Sounds yummy!


Barb Stephen September 19, 2011 at 9:26 am

This is the first time I’ve heard of nutritional yeast. I’m dying to try it after all the accolades I’ve just read. I get the part about sprinkling it on popcorn but I’m not sure how else to use it. I read about it making tofu crispy, but beyond that I’m not sure what to do with it. Do you use it as you would a sharp cheese?


Maggie September 19, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Hi Barb – Thanks for the note 🙂 We sprinkle it on pasta too, and use it in our pesto to replace parmesan cheese. I do have a gravy recipe on here that uses it but that has nothing to do with cheese replacement. Have you ever tried Daiya Cheese? I like to use it when I want melted cheese on my pizza or nachos!


Barb Stephen September 28, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Hi Maggie, I have not heard of Daiya Cheese. Something else new to try. You are a wealth of new information. I take it, it is not really dairy. Where do you buy it?


Maggie September 30, 2011 at 5:14 pm

Hi Barb – I get mine at The Main Ingredient, but Joanne’s also sells it. Feel free to email me directly if you have any questions. I’m happy to help 🙂


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