The Best Smoky Salad Dressing Recipe Ever

The whole idea for this dressing all started when I tried Urth Caffe’s homemade Caesar dressing. I don’t know whats in that one (eh ehm CRACK), but I wanted to achieve a similar taste and texture as healthily as I could. The secret for this dressing (and a lot of recipes with depth) is roasted garlic. It comes out like a healthy Caesar/honey mustard hybrid and its good on everything!

Smokey Caesar-Like Dressing

1 15-17 oz. TetraPak (or can if you can’t find) of organic chickpeas, drained but not rinsed

1-2 large bulbs of garlic, peeled and crushed with the side of a knife

2 tsp organic dijon mustard (ideally one that only contains a few ingredients)

splash of white wine vinegar

splash of organic raw apple cider vinegar

1-2 tsp raw organic honey (orange blossom is best)

1/2 lemon, juiced


splash of coconut aminos (fermented coconut sap liquid – tastes like a soy-free/GF soy sauce)

sea salt, to taste

onion powder, to taste

a few drops of liquid smoke (less is more)

filtered water, as needed

*A food processor is ideal, but a good blender could work too. I use a large Cuisinart Food Processor.

General Recipe

Preheat your oven to 350 (375 for some electric ovens). The real trick to this dressing is roasting the garlic just right. This is an absolute must – and the key to getting the right texture and flavor. Place your garlic on sheet of foil. Add the garlic to the center and fold up the sides, add a splash of olive oil and sea salt, and close it completely. Then flip to disperse the oil and shake it up. Cover it with one more foil sheet (sometimes it can foam out of the package). It’ll need somewhere between 20-35 minutes, and the occasional check and shake up. Its done when the garlic inside is soft, a caramelized color on all sides and your house smells delicious. 

Start by pulsing the chickpeas in your food processor. Once evenly chopped, add some olive oil to the food processor. Add a little water, then add the soft roasted garlic and process. Adding more water and oil as needed, use remaining ingredients: dijon, onion powder, salt, honey, vinegars and lemon juice. Blend this as you add your coconut aminos and liquid smoke. I would taste it several times throughout the process to make sure you aren’t adding too much of the potent parts (vinegars, coconut aminos, smoke). And remember, as always, that our ingredients may differ so you may have to tweak the amounts to fit your taste!

You can use this right away, or store it in your fridge because the more it sits the more its flavors combine. I’ve had this last for over 6 months in my refrigerator! Serve on salads, over grilled fish or veggies, or as a dip for crudites. I bet it could even be incorporated in the roux for my Cleaned Up Mac & Cheese!

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