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Cook This: Gluten-free & Dairy-free Caesar Salad

kale chips drsamantha.comI’ve always loved Caesar. Not the dude, of course, the salad. I’ve been off of dairy for almost 15 years so it was out of the question for altogether too long. Then a few years back my sister developed a vegan dairy-free Caesar recipe that has become a staple for both of our families. We’ve found it’s not only good on salad but also on pasta. Of late I’ve been using it also for massaged kale salad as well a marinade for shredded chicken. Lunch the other day combined these two and it was delicious (though I have to admit when I went to the gym a few hours later my trainer asked if I’d had Caeser for lunch…apparently the garlic factor is such that I shouldn’t eat it when I’m going to be breathing hard that close to another human. Oops.)



  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup filtered water
  • 1/4 cup  flax seed oil (make sure this is refrigerated and not expired, rancid flax oil is nasty)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2-4 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1/2 tsp umeboshi paste (this is available at the health food store or asian market- it’s also good to put on canker sores! note it’s a little spendy but it lasts forever and once you make this dressing you’ll want to keep making it!)

Combine all ingredients in blender. Oddly, this dressing needs to be kept in a container without a metal top. The metal top will actually taint the flavor. Any food scientists out there please feel free to weigh in on why that is!

You can adjust this recipe to taste very easily. If it’s too lemony you can add more water, not salty enough add more umeboshi, want more garlic? You get the picture.

Vegan Parmesan
Truth is this isn’t really parm-like at all. But it’s delicious. We make extra and sprinkle it on pasta or other dishes. My family calls it ‘sprinkles’ and we use it liberally. Be sure to store this in the fridge, along with any nuts that you aren’t using within a few weeks as nuts contain oil and spoil pretty quickly at room temperature.


  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2+ tsp of sea salt to taste

Blend in a cuisinart until uniform.

Whenever I visit my sister there’s a jar of oily delicious croutons in her fridge. There have been times that I’ve downed an entire jar in a weekend. These days I’m completely gluten-free so I’ve been using Happy Campers bread to make mine. They’re great on the salad but also as little snacky bits dipped in the dressing. Or yum sauce.


  • 1/2 loaf of gluten-free whole grain bread (obviously this works with regular bread too if you eat gluten.)
  • 1 tsp-1 TBSP Olive oil or olive oil in a spray bottle.
  • Rosemary or salt if the bread needs a little boost.

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees. Cut bread into cubes and toss in bowl with olive oil, salt, and rosemary. Spread out on baking sheet. Toss every 10 minutes until crunchy all the way through.

You can have this as a traditional Caesar with whole pieces of romaine heart that you toss with dressing and then sprinkle with topping and add croutons. As I mentioned though, I’ve been using the dressing for massaged kale (clean, cut into small pieces and massage dressing into kale as hard as you can until the leaves are soft and supple) and for a chicken marinade. I also use the dressing and sprinkles on brown rice pasta. It’s also delish poured over chicken. Or fish.


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