Food & Drink
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Vegan Caesar Salad

One of the greatest things about eating vegan is being able to explore an entirely different side of the culinary arts. It challenges you to find healthy and creative alternatives to ingredients that you perhaps believed were irreplaceable. There are any number of reasons to cut animal products from your diet. Health concerns, environmental concerns, and ethical beliefs are the primary ones. It’s not a cult, it’s not “in” this season, and it’s certainly not “girly”. It’s a compassionate and conscious choice, and yes, there are health benefits too. Plus, plant-based food is downright delicious. And it’s innovative — Silicon Valley is no longer just for techies, it’s now for Impossible Foods.

I’m not a nutritionist, and I pass no judgement on people who eat animal products. If you’re willing and able to buy local and organic meats and cheeses, that’s already a conscious decision. Besides, I’m no saint. Leather shoes, fur, a bite here and there of Max’s turkey club, the occasional goat cheese nibble – guilty on all accounts. But I’m going  in what I believe is the right direction – towards appreciating and implementing a plant-based diet.

And if you’re not yet impressed with vegan food, seriously just try this Caesar salad. It’s crunchy and creamy, lemony and flavorful, healthy and filling. The recipe I use is inspired by oh she glows‘ vegan Caesar, but tweaked in all the right places.

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Ingredients

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Chickpeas pre-roast

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Crunchy roasted chickpeas

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Nutty parmesan cheese topping

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Well-mixed salad and dressing

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Time to assemble

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Done. Enjoy!


Ingredients

Salad
1 head romaine lettuce, large
1 bunch lacinato kale (1:1 kale to lettuce ratio)
Dressing
1/2 cup (120 ml) raw cashews, soaked for at least an hr and up to overnight
1/4 (60 ml) cup water
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice (I tend to add a couple extra squeezes because I prefer it extra lemony)
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 small garlic clove
5 drops vegan Worcestershire sauce, like Annie’s
2 tsp capers
Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Crunchy Chickpea Croutons
1 can (15 oz or 425 g) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Nutty Parmesan Cheese Topping
1/3 cup (80 ml) raw cashews
2 tablespoons raw hemp seeds
1 small garlic clove
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Optional: 1/4 tsp turmeric for health boost and color pop

Directions
1) Set aside cashews in a bowl of water to soak for at least an hour.
2) Crunchy Chickpea Croutons: Preheat oven to 400°F. Drain and rinse chickpeas. Lightly rub dry with towel  (it’s okay if some skins fall off). In bowl, gently mix chickpeas, oil, salt, and cayenne pepper. Transfer to large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Roast for 20 minutes at 400°F, redistribute chickpeas on baking sheet, and roast for another 10 to 20 minutes, until lightly golden. They will firm up as they cool.
3) Dressing: Drain cashews and add them and all other dressing ingredients (except salt) to blender or food processor. Add splash of water, oil, or lemon as needed to get creamy consistency. Blend until smooth. Add salt, to taste.
4) Nutty Parmesan Cheese: Add cashews and garlic to blender or food processor until finely chopped. Add remaining ingredients, pulse until mixture is combined.
5) Salad: Destem both kale and romaine, then chop the leaves. Wash and dry kale and romaine in salad spinner. Place into extra large bowl.
6) Assemble: Add dressing onto lettuce and toss until fully coated. Season with a pinch of salt, a couple grinds of black pepper, and a squeeze of lemon, and mix again. Sprinkle on the roasted chickpeas and the Parmesan cheese, or set toppings aside for self-serve. Serve immediately with lemon slice. Enjoy!

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