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Is Caesar Dressing Dairy Free?

Caesar dressing – you’ve probably seen it on the salad menu at a restaurant at least once in your life. It’s a wildly popular dressing that you can often find on top of salads or in wraps. This delicious concoction is creamy, decadent, and a little tangy. 

If you’re lactose intolerant, you may wonder, can I even eat this stuff without regretting it?

All too often, people find that there are sneaky dairy products in their food. Seemingly safe items may have some hidden dairy inside. 

So, is Caesar dressing dairy-free?

Keep reading to find out!

What is Caesar dressing?

Caesar dressing is a velvety dressing typically made out of a number of everyday pantry items. However, there are a few surprise ingredients in the mixture that you might not expect.

This dressing typically has anchovies, garlic cloves, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, olive oil, parmesan cheese, and pepper.

Wait, anchovies? Fish?

Yep, you heard right. The dressing doesn’t have a strong fishy flavor, but this ingredient adds a little umami to the dish. It sounds a bit fishy, but trust, it’s delicious.

Okay, but you said cheese. Does this mean that I can’t eat Caesar Dressing if it has cheese?  

Can I eat Caesar dressing if I’m lactose intolerant?

Cheese automatically sounds like a no-no for people who are lactose intolerant.

It has dairy, right? Lactose intolerant people can’t eat dairy?

Yes, parmesan cheese does indeed have dairy. This delicious dairy product contains cow’s milk, and cow’s milk does contain lactose.

However, parmesan cheese doesn’t have lactose

What type of magic makes that happen?

It’s not a magic spell that takes away the lactose in parmesan cheese. Cheesemakers add thermophilic lactic acid bacteria to the milk during its production.

This bacteria starts the lactose breakdown process. Lactose converts to lactic acid. The cheese ages, and all of the lactose breaks down. Not only does this process guarantee rich flavor, but it also tastes delicious!

If you are lactose intolerant, this is excellent news! That means that it is possible to eat Caesar Salad dressing without worry.

However, if you are on a dairy-free diet or have a dairy allergy, you may have to tweak this dressing to suit your dietary needs.

What are the uses for Caesar dressing?

Now that you know what the ingredients are for Caesar Dressing and if it is lactose-friendly or not, let us explore its uses.

While Caesar is most famous as a salad dressing, there are many more uses for it. Here are a few ways to use Caesar dressing  other than as a dressing:

  • Marinade your chicken or fish with it
  • Use it in pasta or potato salad
  • Spread it inside your burgers or sandwiches
  • Roast veggies tossed in Caesar
  • Replace mayo with it in a tuna or chicken salad
  • Make coleslaw
  • Dip chicken wings in it
  • Dip veggies in it

Dairy-free Caesar dressing recipes

Let’s say that you don’t want any dairy in your Caesar dressing. In that case, you can easily swap out the dairy for other delicious ingredients.

A simple swap would be to take out the parmesan cheese. If you do that, there will be no dairy left in the dish.

However, if you want that extra flavor, here are some alternatives:

Whole30 Caesar Dressing  

One delicious recipe is the Whole30 Caesar dressing from the food blog 40 Aprons

Even if you’re not doing the Whole 30 challenge, it is a delicious, dairy-free alternative to a traditional Caesar dressing recipe.

Preparation is simple.

To make this delicious dressing, you’ll need:

  • One cup of light olive, avocado, or fractionated coconut oil
  • A whole egg
  • Tbsp of anchovy paste
  • Three smashed and peeled garlic
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tbsp of white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp of mustard powder
  • Juice from ½ a lemon
  • 4 tbsp unsweetened almond milk

From here, this dressing is super easy to make. All you need to do is blend all of the ingredients using an immersion blender in a jar. Once the mixture is opaque and thick, it is ready! Season to taste.

By swapping out the parmesan cheese in this and adding a few key ingredients, you’ll enjoy Caesar salad worry-free.

Make it Dairy Free Caesar Dressing

Another great recipe that is a little bit different comes from Make it Dairy Free.

This Caesar dressing recipe is not only dairy-free but also vegetarian. There are no anchovies in this recipe.

Ingredients that you will need include:

  • ¼ cup of vegan mayo
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp of dairy-free parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • ½ tsp of ground mustard
  • Salt, pepper, and onion powder

Add all of these ingredients together into a high-power blender and blend smooth.

This delicious dairy-free and vegetarian dressing will last about a month in the fridge.

Alternatives that you can buy

If you don’t feel like making a dairy-free salad dressing, there are plenty of ready-made ones that you can buy from the store. Here are a few brands that you can try:

Daiya Creamy Caesar:

Daiya Cream Caesar dressing is not only dairy-free, but it is also 100% vegan. This tasty dressing is also gluten, soy, and egg-free, so people with almost any type of dietary restriction or need can enjoy this creamy, delicious concoction.

Mother Raw Caesar Dressing:

This dairy-free Caesar dressing will leave you feeling extremely clean. The dressing’s all organic ingredients include extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, capers, hemp seeds, garlic, pepper, onion, nutritional yeast, and other seasonings.

Follow Your Heart Organic Vegan Caesar Salad Dressing:

If you like your dressings on the thicker, creamier side, you’ll enjoy this delicious Caesar dressing. This decadent, completely vegan version has garlic, pepper, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Vegenaise, and other tasty ingredients. You won’t miss the dairy in this recipe.

Bottom line

Even if you’re lactose intolerant, you don’t have to run away from Caesar dressing. The original recipe does not have any ingredients that will upset your stomach because parmesan cheese is lactose-free.

However, if you do need to avoid dairy for any reason, there are many alternatives for you.

You can either make a homemade dairy-free dressing or buy one at the store.

Regardless, anyone can enjoy this creamy, decadent treat!

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