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This Caesar-style dressing recipe (anchovy vinaigrette) is quick and easy to make with just 5 simple ingredients.
For those times when you’re craving a good Caesar dressing but want something lighter, quicker and simpler…
…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, but omits the raw eggs that are typically added for creaminess. The result is a fresh, lemony, garlicky dressing for anchovy lovers that we can’t stop making here in our house.
Barclay and I like to toss it with some veggies, toasted breadcrumbs and a sprinkling of parmesan into what we affectionately call our “Caesar Salad,” which takes a full 10 minutes to prepare and makes a great side salad or appetizer. (We especially love serving ours with salmon.) But just like the traditional Caesar dressing, there are many other delicious ways to use this easy vinaigrette with veggies, seafood, meat, sandwiches, pasta, and more.
So if you love Caesar dressing as much as we do, crack open a can of anchovies (or a tube of anchovy paste) and let’s quickly make a batch of this delicious vinaigrette together!
Anchovy Vinaigrette Ingredients
Before we get to the full Anchovy Vinaigrette recipe below, here are a few pointers to the ingredients you’ll need:
- Anchovies (or anchovy paste): We typically chop or puree canned 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 canned anchovies, so please add to taste.)
- lemon juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice is always best.
- Dijon mustard: This is my favorite Dijon that we always use in our house.
- Garlic: I love the tangy 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 quality olive oil as its flavor really shines 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 as much as you prefer.
How to make anchovy vinaigrette
There are a number of ways you can make this dressing! We usually flash ours with an immersion blender, which I think is the quickest and easiest option. However, 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 directions in the recipe below to drizzle the olive oil into the other ingredients, stirring vigorously to emulsify the dressing.
- hand blender: I usually place the ingredients in a wide-mouth jar (or small bowl), then use an immersion blender to puree the dressing until emulsified.
- Conventional blender or food processor: Any of these options will work, but they can be a bit tricky with a single batch of this dressing. So if you’re using a traditional blender or standard-sized food processor, I recommend making either a double or triple batch and saving the leftovers for another round.
Here are a few other variations on this recipe that you’re welcome to try:
- Add fresh herbs: Feel free to add a handful of other fresh herbs that sound good to taste. Basil, dill, parsley, rosemary, thyme, or tarragon would be delicious options.
- Add Parmesan: If you want to mix cheese into the dressing itself, feel free to add some grated fresh Parmesan.
- Make it sharp: The raw garlic gives this dressing a real kick. But feel free to add some crushed red pepper flakes for another layer of heat.
- Make it gluten free: This dressing recipe is naturally gluten free. If you’re making the salad below, you can purchase gluten-free panko breadcrumbs.
This Caesar Dressing Recipe (Anchovy Vinaigrette) is quick and easy to make with just 5 key ingredients.
- 4 Anchovy fillets in oil*, drained and very finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 Garlic clove, finely chopped
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Whisk together the basic ingredients. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the chopped anchovies, lemon juice, Dijon, grated garlic, and some freshly ground black pepper. Beat vigorously for 15 seconds to combine.
- Add the olive oil. While continuing to beat the anchovy mixture vigorously with one hand, drizzle a very thin stream of olive oil into the mixture and slowly add the remaining olive oil until the dressing is completely emulsified. Do not rush this process or the olive oil will separate. (Alternatively, you can puree all of the salad dressing ingredients in a small bowl or glass using a hand/stick blender until emulsified.)
- Surcharge. Serve immediately or store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
anchovy paste: Feel free to substitute about 2 teaspoons of anchovy paste for whole anchovies if you prefer.
Option for traditional blender or food processor: You can also use a traditional blender or standard-sized food processor to puree the dressing. But since the serving size is so small for a single batch (and may not blend well in these larger machines), I’d recommend doubling or tripling the recipe for a good blending experience.
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