Anyone who knows me well knows how much I love a good Caesar salad. As evidenced by the many versions here in the blog archives, you can never have too many variations on this classic. As much as I love Caesar dressing, I don’t love the fact that it generally falls more on the unhealthy side of the salad spectrum. Given my continual shift toward healthier eating in general, I was very intrigued and excited when I saw this recipe for cashew Caesar dressing. The prospect of a great Caesar without egg yolks or mayo to up the cholesterol content of the dressing meant this could be a very good thing indeed.

And, it really is! This dressing tastes for all the world every bit as good as my other favorite versions of Caesar salad. I topped our salad with a simple roasted salmon which I broiled for the last few minutes to crisp the top, as well as a handful of whole grain croutons (using my usual favorite crouton recipe and a whole grain baguette.) This meal was simple and excellent and I love that I now have a version of Caesar I can feel better about eating.


For the dressing: 

  • 4 oil-packed anchovies
  • ¼ cup raw cashews
  • 3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the salad: 

  • 4 (4-6 oz.) salmon fillets
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large head of romaine, torn or coarsely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • Whole grain croutons


  • 01

    To make the dressing, combine the anchovies, cashews, lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder in a blender or food processor. Pulse until the cashews are broken up, then process until the nuts are finely ground. With the motor running, gradually add in the olive oil and then the water. Add more water as needed if too thick. Season to taste with freshly ground pepper.

  • 02

    Preheat the oven to 425˚ F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place the salmon fillets on the baking sheet. Brush lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the salmon about 8-9 minutes, then check the temperature with an instant read thermometer. The final internal temperature to indicate that the salmon is fully cooked is 145˚ F. A few minutes before this temperature is reached, turn on the broiler to crisp the top of the salmon while it finishes cooking. Remove from the oven and let rest briefly, then carefully lift the salmon fillets away from the skin and transfer to a plate or cutting board.

  • 03

    In a large salad bowl, combine the lettuce, sliced onion and croutons with a portion of the cashew Caesar dressing. Toss well to coat. Adjust with additional dressing as desired. Divide the salad between serving plates and top with pieces of the cooked salmon. Serve immediately.

  • Paige Cassandra Flamm

    This salad looks incredible! I love salmon but have never actually had it in a salad before. I’ll have to try this soon!


  • Angela

    All of the heart eyes. It looks delicious. I’m eager to try it.

  • Stacy

    On my rare mom nights out, a chicken Caesar salad and a vodka martini (with olives) are my guilty pleasures. This is a nice healthier home version! Plus salmon in Seattle can’t be beat. Thanks, Annie!

  • Megan Kempf Citro

    I’ve only recently started to like salmon and I’m not sure that I like it each time. What kind of salmon do you look for at the store? I’m not sure what to look for.

  • Annie

    I only buy fresh so I can’t comment on quality or lack thereof for frozen. I would recommend just asking the people at the seafood counter at your store or butcher shop and they can help you make your selection. The people at Whole Foods are generally pretty knowledgeable if you have one in your area.

  • Monica

    I rarely comment, although I’m a frequent reader–your recipes have fed my family many, many nights! I made this tonight and it was a standout hit. My husband raved about it, and our daughter cleaned her plate–a rare event! Thanks for the inspiration to branch out and achieve two of my goals in one meal, more fish and more salads for dinner!

  • Annie

    Hooray! I’m so happy to hear that!

  • Annie, this dressing is phenomenal! Despite enjoying making most things from scratch, I am a serial bagged Caesar salad junkie. I threw this dressing together tonight on a tuna Caesar salad, and this healthier take on the classic was such a huge hit (despite my husband’s initial skepticism when I whipped out the cashews). Thanks for pushing us outside of our comfort zone!

  • Rachel Tilly

    Annie, I rarely post comments, but I just wanted to tell you how delicious this salad is. It is so simple, yet so yummy! My husband and I both really liked the homemade cashew Caesar dressing. This will definitely be a repeat meal in our house! We are looking forward to enjoying the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Thanks for another great recipe!

  • Annie

    I am so very happy to hear that!

  • Heidi Schermerhorn

    I wanted to love this but just didn’t, but my husband did!

  • Angela

    I made this tonight for Easter and it was a resounding success. Thank you so much for sharing. The kids had seconds and my husband had thirds. :) Personally, I was anxious about cooking fish, but your instructions, especially the temperature guide, were just what I needed.

  • Annie

    So happy to hear that!

  • Heidi Schermerhorn

    I was hesitant to make this because I’m scared of anchovies but oh my was this ever good, i literally ate the dressing all by itself! So yummy def something I’ll make again!