Colin loves to remind me that “the lowest calorie salad is the one you don’t eat.” It’s not that Colin does not like vegetables, or salad for that matter, but he thinks a salad is not worth eating if it does not taste good. To his credit, salad can easily fall into the “not worth it” category. Think back to all of the salad bars you’ve ever been to at buffets or dining halls: tasteless iceberg lettuce, shredded carrots, croutons, ranch dressing. It’s really not that appealing. But, being a dietitian and someone who grew up eating lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers grown in my mom and grandpa’s gardens, I love salad. As you can imagine, telling Colin that we are having salad for dinner does not always go over well. Luckily, he knows that pretty much anything I make will be good, so he doesn’t complain too much.
If I’m being honest, I didn’t tell Colin what was in this dressing the first time I made it. He was wary enough about chicken Caesar salads for dinner and I didn’t want to scare him off completely by telling him that the salad dressing was made with cashews. I have to admit, I was even a little hesitant myself. I’ve always looked for healthier options for creamy dressings, I love them, just not the calories, but I wasn’t sure if cashews would significantly change the flavor. Plus, I couldn’t find raw cashews (of course) so my only option was roasted.
As predicted, Colin and I both loved the dressing and the salad for dinner. I had warned him it was not a traditional Caesar dressing, but he didn’t comment on the “apparent” cashew flavor until after I told him what was in it. (I think if I had been able to use raw cashews like the recipe calls for, he would not have noticed.) To me, this dressing tastes exactly like Caesar dressing should: creamy, tart, slightly salty and nutty. It’s excellent on a traditional Caesar salad, but we love it for side salads or any random salads we come up with using leftovers in the fridge. Using cashews in the dressing makes it lower in calories than it’s traditional creamy counter part and it has lots of healthy fats from the cashews, rather than egg yolks or mayonnaise. I’m happy to say I finally have a creamy salad dressing I can feel good about eating.