Caesar salad is something that non-vegans will swear we can't re-create! Ah-ha... you're wrong. In fact, a vegan caesar salad is SO much healthier for you, you'll want to eat this version from now on. It will leave you feeling light, clean, and energized. Feel free to use romaine lettuce instead of kale for an even more traditional salad. And I prefer the taste of roasted garlic in a caesar dressing because it makes it sweeter and less over powering. You know, we just like to switch it up wherever we can!
Tempeh bacon makes this more of an entree salad, but you could also use coconut bacon for an appetizer version, like this.
** recipe makes 4 entree salads
caesar dressing ingredients (makes 2 C):
1 bulb of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
pinch sea salt
3/4 C raw cashews (soaked for 3 hrs)
3/4 C water
1 pitted medjool date
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
3 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground pepper
Pre-heat your oven to 400F. To prepare the bulb of garlic for roasting, peel the outer layers of the garlic bulb leaving a thin layer still in tact and cut the top of the bulb off (approx. 1/4 inch from the top) so the cloves are visible. Coat the top with 1 tbsp of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and then bake at 400F for 35 mins or until the cloves are browned and soft to touch.
Remove the roasted cloves of garlic from the bulb and place in a vitamix or high powered blender. Drain the soaked cashews and rinse with more water until it runs clear. Place the cashews and the remaining in the blender and mix on high until smooth.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving on your salad. In the meantime, prepare the croutons and tempeh bacon.
garlic crouton ingredients:
3 C cubed bread (your choice)
1/4 C olive oil
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 tbsp go veggie! vegan parmesan (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F. In a mixing bowl whisk together olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt, and pepper. Toss the cubed bread in the mixture until well coated. If you're adding the vegan parmesan add that to the bowl and toss to coat the bread evenly.
Lay out the bread onto a baking sheet and bake for approx. 10-15 minutes, turning over once in the middle of baking, until golden brown. Depending on the bread you use the time will vary so just keep an eye on them. Gluten free bread takes longer, approx. 20 mins. and gluten free bread is always a bit gummy so don't expect them to be crispy crunchy croutons. We prefer an italian baguette.
tempeh bacon ingredients:
1 pkg of tempeh (approx. 250g)
1/4 C low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp liquid smoke
1 tsp smoked paprika
up to 1/4 cup water for cooking
Thinly slice the tempeh into strips approximately 1/8"-1/4" thick. Whisk together tamari, vegetable oil, liquid smoke, maple syrup, and smoked paprika in a shallow dish that you can use to marinate the tempeh in. Lay the slices of tempeh in the dish and let sit for 10 minutes while the pan heats up.
To cook, heat a non-stick pan or prepared cast iron pan to medium and once the pan is hot add the slices of tempeh without overcrowding the pan. You might need to cook in two batches.
Cook on the first side for 2 minutes and then brush the excess marinade on the slices of tempeh as they start to brown. Cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. If the pan starts to look dry you can add a small amount of water to deglaze the pan. This will allow the tempeh to also steam a little bit while cooking. Gently flip the slices and do the same thing on the other side. Continue to brush with excess marinade and add small amounts of water to the pan if it starts getting very dry. You want a balance between loosening up the marinade that starts to caramelize on the bottom of the pan and allowing it to get more browned. The tempeh bacon slices should be pretty dark in color before removing from the pan. If at any point the pan gets too hot just lower the heat as necessary. Remove from the heat to cool while you assemble the caesar salad.
8-9 C kale, finely chopped into ribbons/shreds
1 tsp lemon juice
pinch sea salt
1 C caesar dressing, as per above recipe
ground pepper to taste
Wash kale and remove the leaves from the ribs/stems and discard those. Finely chop the leaves into ribbons or shreds and place in a large mixing bowl. Put lemon juice and sea salt on the kale and massage it into the leaves lightly with your hands for 2-3 minutes until you notice it becoming darker in colour and slightly wilting.
Add caesar dressing and ground pepper and toss to coat evenly. Portion out the dressed kale to your serving dishes and top each salad with tempeh bacon, garlic croutons, and a drizzle more dressing, if desired. Serve immediately.
Well, I think we might just convert you to being a vegan caesar salad lover.