Southwest Caesar Dressing (vegan)

When I decided I wanted to make southwest-inspired salad, I took some cues from a traditional Caesar salad, including the dressing. My vegan caesar dressing is one of my all time favorite dressings, it’s sunflower seed based and gets it’s caesar-y flavor from capers, dijon mustard, garlic and lemon juice. For this southwest version, I just doctored up my original caesar with some chipotle powder, cumin and fresh cilantro. Just like that, the best creamy, smoky, spicy flavor-packed dressing you’ve ever tasted, you won’t believe it’s vegan-friendly.

As I was saying, this dressing was created for a salad, a salad packed with romaine, corn tortilla “croutons,” pickled red onions, black beans and corn. But it’s also an amazing dip for crudités (talk about an easy snack or side dish to have on hand), or as a sauce inside of a veggie-filled wrap. Or on tacos. Or as a dip for tofu nuggets. Point is, this sauce…the dressing… it’s freaking delicious.

Creamy Southwest Caesar Dressing (vegan)
serves 4-6


3 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds, soaked*
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (1+ lemons)
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
2-3 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro (or taste)

To Make

Blend soaked/drained sunflower seeds with 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/3 cup water. Go heavier on the olive oil and lighter on the water to taste.

Once the sunflower seed base is super smooth, add the chopped garlic, capers, nutritional yeast, mustard, lemon juice, maple syrup, cumin and chipotle powder to the blender. Blend until capers are tiny flecks. Add cilantro, pulse until finely chopped.


If using a very powerful blender, there’s no need to soak the sunflower seeds. To soak them, pour nearly boiling water over the seeds and let them sit at room temperature for a couple hours. Drain.

6 thoughts on “Southwest Caesar Dressing (vegan)

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