The Spicy Upgrade Your Caesar Salad Dressing Needs

After you've combined the romaine lettuce, croutons, and assorted veggies in a bowl, you're just halfway to getting a simple Caesar salad. To bind everything together, you absolutely need a dressing. Making one isn't hard or fancy – it's just a blended mixture of mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce (or anchovies), Dijon mustard, garlic, lemon juice, and a generous sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. But why stop there? If you like your salad to taste a bit brighter, you'll want to follow it up with a touch of Sriracha too!

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About a tablespoon of Sriracha into the mixture (or more if you prefer a spicier kick) while you're processing or blending your dressing is all that it takes. Being primarily a chili paste, Sriracha packs far more heat than most other hot sauces in your pantry and can give quite a wallop of spice onto your palate. It'll be a refreshing change from the usual creamy and rich Caesar dressing.

And because Sriracha also contains garlic and vinegar, it can help you deepen the flavor by complementing the other acid-giving ingredients in the base dressing (the citrus juice and vinegar.) So, what you get in the end is a far more complex dressing with a more well-rounded flavor, just with one tablespoon of Sriracha.

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Upgrading your store-bought dressing with Sriracha

Caesar dressing isn't difficult to make at home, and all the ingredients are cheap, but not everyone has the time to DIY. In that case, it's totally okay to turn to the store-bought dressing. Though, as with anything mass-produced, bottled Caesar dressings are designed to appeal to as many people as possible, so you'll often find that they have a fairly "neutral" taste — just the right amount of the key flavors like creaminess and tanginess without any being too overpowering.

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A touch of Sriracha is the perfect tool for the job to give bottled dressings the character that it's lacking. Just like with homemade, stir in a tablespoon, and it'll already be a huge upgrade. If you want to take it a bit further, you can also give it extra seasonings with fresh black pepper and Dijon mustard to really bring out the flavors.

And here's a bonus tip: Many bottled Caesar dressings lack the savory depth you'd find in dressings from Italian restaurants and salad bars. While the Sriracha can help somewhat, thanks to the fermented chili paste, it won't quite deliver the same umami punch. To get there, you'll need to add anchovies (fresh or paste work equally well). If anchovies aren't an option, try a touch of Worcestershire sauce – if you didn't know about the history of Caesar salad, Worcestershire sauce is part of the original recipe anyway. That'll be sure to round out the flavor of your bottled Caesar!

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