This “caesar-ish” dressing (anchovy vinaigrette) recipe is quick and easy to make with just 5 simple ingredients.
For those times when you’re craving a good caesar dressing, yet want something a bit lighter, quicker and easier…
…try my favorite 5-ingredient “caesar-ish” dressing! ♡
Technically an anchovy vinaigrette, this dressing packs all of the bold, savory, umami flavors we all love in a traditional caesar, yet leaves out the raw eggs that are usually added for creaminess. The result is a fresh, lemony, garlicky, anchovy-lover’s dressing that we can’t stop making here in our house.
Barclay and I love tossing it with some greens, toasted breadcrumbs, and a sprinkling of Parmesan for what we fondly call our “caesar-ish salad,” which takes all of 10 minutes to whip up and works beautifully as a side salad or entrée. (We especially love serving ours with salmon.) But just like traditional caesar dressing, there are all sorts of other delicious ways that you could put this simple vinaigrette to use with vegetables, seafood, meat, sandwiches, pastas, and more.
So if you love caesar dressing as much as we do, pop open a tin of anchovies (or a tube of anchovy paste) and let’s make a quick batch of this delicious vinaigrette together!
Anchovy Vinaigrette Ingredients
Before we get to the full anchovy vinaigrette recipe below, here are a few notes about the ingredients you will need:
Anchovies (or anchovy paste): We typically just finely-chop or mash tinned anchovies to make this vinaigrette. But if you prefer not to work with whole anchovies, you can use anchovy paste instead. (Just note that some anchovy pastes tend to be even saltier than tinned anchovies, so please add to taste.)
Lemon juice: Freshly-squeezed lemon juice is always best.
Garlic: I love the spicy kick of fresh garlic in this dressing, but if you’re in a pinch, garlic powder can work as a substitute.
Olive oil: I recommend a good-quality olive oil since its flavor will really shine through with so few ingredients in this dressing.
Black pepper: We add lots and lots of freshly-ground black pepper in our house, but please use however much you prefer.
How To Make Anchovy Vinaigrette
There are a number of ways that you are welcome to make this dressing! We usually blitz ours with a hand blender, which I find to be the quickest and easiest option. But you can also whisk yours by hand or use a traditional blender or food processor.
By hand: I recommend finely chopping or mashing the anchovies for this option. Then follow the instructions in the recipe below to drizzle the olive oil into the other ingredients while vigorously whisking in order to emulsify the dressing.
Hand blender: I typically add the ingredients to a wide-mouth jar (or small bowl) then use a hand blender to purée the dressing until emulsfied.
Traditional blender or food processor: Either of these options will work, but they can be a bit challenging with a single batch of this dressing. So if using a standard-sized traditional blender or food processor, I recommend making either a double or triple batch and saving the leftovers for another round.
Here are a few other variations to this recipe that you are welcome to try:
Add fresh herbs: Feel free to add a handful of any other fresh herbs that sound good, to taste. Basil, dill, parsley, rosemary, thyme or tarragon would all be delicious options.
Add Parmesan: If you would like to blend cheese into the dressing itself, feel free to add in some grated fresh Parmesan.
Make it spicy: The raw garlic already gives this dressing a fair amount of kick. But feel free to add in some crushed red pepper flakes for another layer of heat.
Make it gluten-free: This dressing recipe is naturally gluten-free. If making the salad below, you can purchase gluten-free panko breadcrumbs.
Whisk the base ingredients.Combine the chopped anchovies, lemon juice, Dijon, grated garlic, plus a few twists of freshly-cracked black pepper in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk vigorously for 15 seconds to combine.
Add the olive oil.While continuing to whisk the anchovy mixture vigorously with one hand, drizzle a very thin stream of olive oil into the mixture, slowly adding the remaining olive oil until the dressing is completely emulsified. Don’t rush this process or the olive oil will separate. (Alternatively, you can use a hand/immersion blender to purée all of the salad dressing ingredients in a small bowl or jar until emulsified.)
Serve.Serve immediately or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 4 days.
Anchovy Paste: Feel free to substitute around 2 teaspoons of anchovy paste in place of whole anchovies if you prefer.
Traditional blender or food processor option: You can also use a standard-sized traditional blender or food processor to blend the dressing. But since the portion size for a single batch is so small (and may not blend well in these larger appliances), I would recommend doubling or tripling the recipe to help it blend well.