Monday, May 23, 2016

Vegan Caesar Salad

This take on Caesar salad, which is both vegan and gluten-free, was very good! It was actually impressive how much it tasted like Caesar salad, even without anchovy paste. I omitted capers in my version. You can prepare each of the components ahead of time and refrigerate them separately, except for the chickpea croutons (which should stay on the countertop in an airtight container). The dressing will thicken when chilled, so it’s best to let it come to room temperature before using. This is a good recipe for a light lunch or a side dish; it is from Oh She Glows.

Don’t forget to soak ½ cup cashews overnight beforehand to make the dressing!

For the roasted chickpea croutons
1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas (or 1 ½ cups cooked), drained and rinsed
1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp. fine grain sea salt
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 dash cayenne pepper (optional)

For the Caesar dressing (makes ¾ - 1 cup)

½ cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
¼ cup water
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
½ Tbsp. Dijon mustard
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 small garlic clove (you can add another if you like it super potent)
½ Tbsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce (GF if necessary)
½ tsp. fine grain sea salt and pepper, or to taste

For the nut and seed “parmesan” cheese
1/3 cup raw cashews
2 Tbsp. hulled hemp seeds
1 small garlic clove
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp. garlic powder
fine grain sea salt, to taste

For the lettuce

1 small/medium bunch lacinato kale, destemmed (5 cups chopped)
2 small heads romaine lettuce (10 cups chopped)

For the chickpea croutons
Preheat oven to 400 °F. Drain and rinse chickpeas. Place chickpeas in a tea towel and rub dry (it's okay if some skins fall off). Place onto large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle on oil and roll around to coat. Sprinkle on the garlic powder, salt, and optional cayenne. Toss to coat. Roast for 20 minutes, then gently roll the chickpeas around in the baking sheet. Roast for another 10 to 20 minutes, until lightly golden. They will firm up as they cool.

For the dressing
Add the cashews and all other dressing ingredients (except salt) into a high-speed blender, and blend on high until the dressing is super smooth. You can add a splash of water if necessary to get it blending. Add salt to taste and adjust other seasonings, if desired. Set aside.

For the “parmesan” cheese
Put cashews and garlic in a mini food processor and process until finely chopped. Now add in the rest of the ingredients and pulse until the mixture is combined. Salt to taste.

For the lettuce
Destem the kale and then finely chop the leaves. Wash and dry in a salad spinner. Place into an extra large bowl. Chop up the romaine into bite-sized pieces. Rinse and then spin dry. Place into bowl along with kale. You should have roughly 5 cups chopped kale and 10 cups chopped romaine.

For assembly
Add dressing onto lettuce and toss until fully coated. Season with a pinch of salt and mix again. Now sprinkle on the roasted chickpeas and the “parmesan” cheese. Serve immediately.

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