A quick and easy egg-free Caesar salad dressing and a simple recipe for crispy chickpea croutons.
Everyone should have a good Caesar salad recipe in their cooking repertoire, but many people are leery of consuming raw eggs, one of the main ingredients in traditional Caesar salad dressing. Even though the risk of salmonella poisoning from consuming raw eggs is really quite small, I too, am one of those people who just doesn’t like the idea of raw eggs in my salad dressings. I’ve always gotten around this by using a Caesar dressing recipe that calls for mayonnaise instead of raw eggs. The mayonnaise lends creaminess to the dressing and is a great substitute for eggs. I avoid using store brought mayonnaise because it’s usually made with highly refined oil like soybean oil or canola oil, so when I make this dressing I almost always use homemade mayonnaise. This can get a little time-consuming though, because you’re actually making two recipes – the mayo and then the dressing. That’s why I was psyched when I discovered this quick and easy way to make a egg-free, mayonnaise-free, Caesar salad dressing – it can literally be whipped up in under 5 minutes. Avocado Kefir Caesar Salad Dressing is light, and tangy with classic Caesar salad flavor and, it’s better for gut health than your average Caesar dressing thanks to probiotic rich kefir.
As far as nutrient dense foods go, kefir and avocados are tops on my list! While most people are familiar with avocados and avocado oil, kefir is not as well-known, so here’s the low-down on kefir (pronounced KEE-fur). It’s a cultured dairy product chock-full of probiotic cultures that boost immunity and promote digestive health. It’s high in protein, calcium, and Vitamin D with a tart, tangy, slightly effervescent quality that has earned it the title “Champagne of Dairy”. Since many Caesar salad dressings contain tart, tangy ingredients like lemon juice and Dijon mustard, the kefir works well in Avocado Kefir Caesar Salad Dressing as a stand-in for these flavors and has the added benefit of enhancing the nutritional profile.
One of my favorite ways to use Avocado Kefir Caesar Salad Dressing is, as pictured above, on top of kale, with some halved grape tomatoes, and crispy chickpeas in place of croutons, so it’s gluten-free. There are a gazillion recipes floating around for crispy chickpeas but here’s how I make mine. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Drain 1 (15 ounce) can of chickpeas and pat them dry. Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and toss with 1 teaspoon of olive oil or avocado oil, ½ teaspoon of garlic powder and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Roast them on the bottom rack of the oven for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through the baking time, until they’re golden brown. Now, here is the trick for making them extra crispy!! After they’ve finished roasting, leave them in the turned OFF oven for another 30 minutes, or until they reach the desired level of crispiness. Don’t leave them in too long though or they’ll be rock hard. Sample them every 10 minutes or so. They should be crispy and crunchy but not so hard that you feel like you’re going to crack a tooth!
Feel free to use olive oil instead of avocado oil in Avocado Kefir Caesar Salad Dressing. I’m a huge fan of avocado oil and use it as much as, or more than, olive oil, but some people prefer the taste of olive oil in salad dressings. If you haven’t ever used avocado oil though, I urge you to give it a try. It’s delicious and has some benefits over olive oil you might not be aware of. Check out this excellent article on the differences between olive oil and avocado oil. This article also addresses the dangers of using highly refined vegetable oils in your cooking – something I alluded to at the beginning of this post. If you’d like to see some other recipes that use kefir, check out Chickpea Cheddar Kefir Biscuits, Apricot Ginger Turmeric Smoothie, and Kefir Avocado Basil Dressing.
- 2-ounce tin of anchovies in olive oil
- ¾ cup (80 grams) finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 large or 4 small cloves of garlic
- ¼ cup (2 fluid ounces) whole milk kefir
- ⅔ cup (5 fluid ounces) avocado oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt* (see note)
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Add all the ingredients to the work bowl of a food processor, or the carafe of a blender, and process until smooth. Makes about 1½ cups.
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