The Best Caesar Salad (With a New Dressing)

Caesar salad is always delicious, but raw egg and anchovies can turn people off—and the dressing can feel too rich. Well, Megan of Passports & Pancakes was raving to us about her mom’s light and tangy dressing that changes the whole dish. Here’s her secret recipe…

The Best Caesar Salad You’ll Ever Have
by Megan Fleiner of Passports &; Pancakes

My mom is one of those people who has “famous” dishes among her family and friends. She’s always asked to bring one of them to the next family gathering, party or vacation—people can’t wait for the perfect Caesar salad/salsa/chocolate pie they have come to love so much. I’ve been lucky to have a few of these recipes passed down to me, and I’ve received the same reactions from my friends.

My mom’s Caesar salad is much different from the creamy version typically served in restaurants, and has been a crowd favorite for as long as I can remember. It’s light, tangy and delicious; plus it’s so simple to put together. It makes enough for a big dinner party, or you can bottle the dressing and eat Caesar salad all week long.

Tips: My favorite mustard for this dressing is the whole grain Dijon from Trader Joe’s, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand. Also, if you have the time, freshly grated Parmesan cheese goes a long way.

Recipe: Caesar Salad
Serves 6-8

You’ll need:

For the dressing:

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp. mustard (whole grain Dijon if you have it)

3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 lemons, juiced

Seat salt & fresh black pepper
1 cup extra virgin olive oil

For the salad:
3 heads romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
5 oz. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 package croutons
Black pepper for serving

Whisk together the garlic, mustard, Worcestershire and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add a sprinkle of sea salt, a few turns from a pepper grinder and the olive oil. Whisk to combine. (Feel free to bottle the dressing at this point, if you’re going to save it for later; dressing will keep in the fridge for one week.)

If serving the full salad, toss the lettuce, cheese and croutons with the dressing and serve, topped with extra black pepper and a sprinkle of cheese.

Yum! Thank you so much, Megan.

P.S. More best recipes, including citrus salad and a kale Caesar salad.

(Photos and recipe by Megan Fleiner of Passports & Pancakes. Thanks to Shoko for helping with this series)

  1. Patti says...

    I just have to say…this is my favorite dressing! I crave it regularly and keep a little jar in the fridge for quick and tasty salads. I’ve passed your link on to friends and family and everyone loves it! Thanks for sharing this way back in 2013. :)

  2. I agree with Zip Quinn. There really is no point in calling it a Caesar since it’s missing eggs (which is the second primary ingredient in a Caesar) and has the non-Caesar addition of mustard.

    Mustard-lemon dressing is a more accurate name for this.

  3. without anchovies and raw egg it’s simply NOT a Caeser Salad as invented by Cesare Cardini in the 1920s. It’s not a generic salad.

  4. So I made this salad for my husband, who is a caesar salad fiend, but also very picky- and he actually liked it! That tangy dressing with the lightness of the toppings, and flavor of some marinated chicken= molto bene. I am obsessed with it, thank you for sharing. I might not have stumbled on it otherwise. I make “salads in a jar” for my daily lunches, and this week’s flav is that caesar.

  5. Made this last night and my fiance loved it! He said, “It’s like this dressing was designed for me.” Haha. We topped the salad with blackened shrimp.

  6. This is very similar to my mother in law’s recipe and it is delicious! This plus a thin crust pizza is a favorite Friday evening meal!
    ~Mary Keller

  7. I made this last night, and it’s absolutely delicious! I didn’t have whole grain dijon on hand, but regular Grey Poupon worked just as well. I baked some day-old baguette cubes into croutons, and they were so tasty with the romaine, parm and dressing. Thank you for the recipe!

  8. Hello! I just would like to give enormous thumbs up for the delicious recipe.

  9. Looks delicious!

  10. this is a version of my go-to dressing recipe! my friend’s mom made it for me originally, and her version has a little anchovy paste.

  11. The original Caesar’s didn’t have anchovies either. Parmaesan on top but not in the dressing. We know this because Julia Child used to go to the restaurant that invented it, as a kid. Her parents would drive down from California to Mexico for dinner and drinks. It’s neat that it’s come back around.
    Another way to make it for a party (a la Julia): use the smaller tender leaves from romaine heads. Compose them in a circle on a round plate. The dressing is drizzled on top. I’d say mound some shrimp in the middle too.

  12. jm says...

    This looks delicious. And I love that it doesn’t have anchovies.

  13. I normally don’t like the creamy, cheesy dressings, but this sounds yummy. Will have to try it. Do you know where that darling jar is from? I love it!

  14. sounds just up my alley, i like a salad with a kick from dijon!

  15. While the dressing sounds good, as a vegetarian, I was really looking forward to a Ceasar salad recipe that didn’t have raw eggs or anchovies (as stated in the intro)… but worcester sauce contains anchovies. So people who avoid typical Caesar dressing for that reason… would have to avoid this one too. I am not suggesting you not share this recipe (it really sounds so good I might hunt down vegetarian worcester sauce) – but you shouldn’t introduce it as not containing anchovies.

    • I think she just meant that some people find anchovies gross, especially since she didn’t say anything specifically about vegetarians.

      But since I cook on behalf of one such weirded out omnivore with Caesar fatigue (me!) and one real vegetarian (my man!) I feel your pain. I’ve tried Happy Herbivore’s recipe for Vegan Worcester and its fine, but from a cookbook so can’t link. Here’s Martha’s…I think I’ll try hers to make this recipe.

  16. Sounds delicious! Any ideas for a Worcestershire sauce substitute for vegetarians?

    • I have some vegetarian Worcestershire sauce. I believe Annie’s has one but I’m really like the Wizard’s brand. Whole Foods has it and I suspect most upscale and natural grocery stores to also carry it.

    • Cool, thanks! I’m definitely going to check those out!

  17. Sounds delicious! I also love the little white prep bowls – where are they from?

  18. I will always loved creamy caesar dressings, but this one looks yummy too – I will have to give it a try!!

  19. Trying this tonight with our homemade pizza! Perfect post for tonight!!