Probably one of the most popular salads on the planet: Caesar Salad. Who doesn’t love a good, crispy, tart and creamy salad with salty, crunchy bits? I know I do.
In fact, as a kid, it was the only salad I would eat. I really was quite the fusspot. But, damn, it’s a popular salad for a reason. Even my fussy buds couldn’t resist.
Now, I will still occasionally enjoy a Caesar salad out at a restaurant (hold the bacon), but when I’m at home, I like to try and keep it healthy which means including lots of plants when I can. Yes, some of the main ingredients in a traditional Caesar are bacon, eggs and Parmesan, but I know a lot of you are looking for some vegan recipes to add to your repertoire, so I wanted to share this really easy plant-based recipe to show you that not only can it be done, but it can also be delicious!
The main substitutions I’m making here are:
- swapping eggs/dairy in the dressing for hummus,
- vegan parm in place of cow parm and
- chickpeas instead of wheat croutons.
By making these swaps you’re removing some of the less healthy ingredients and adding a ton of nutritional value in place.
Most of the time, when making a creamy vegan sauce, I’ll use cashews or other nuts but to keep it even simpler, I’m suggesting hummus as a creamy base for the dressing. Most of you will have it on hand in your fridge or you can easily whip it up based on my basic hummus recipe. You’ll see that it lends itself nicely to this recipe because of its inherent tart and creamy nature. The Dijon also kicks things up a notch too.
Using capers gives this dressing both a lemony, olive and pungent taste in lieu of anchovies, which are traditionally used in Caesar dressing. Capers are basically pickled flower buds, but they are high in sodium, so moderation is key (not that I know too many people who are chomping on handfuls of capers, just thought I’d point that out).
Vegan parm consists simply of cashews, nutritional yeast (aka nooch), garlic powder and sea salt whizzed together. Nooch has got a great cheesy flavour and is a good way to get some vitamin B12 into you when you’re not eating animal products. This vegan parm is honestly SO tasty and lasts for weeks in the fridge! So you can make a cup, store it and sprinkle it on any salad, pasta, soup or even popcorn! Delish!
I’ve already posted a recipe for easy crispy chickpeas so you may know how much I love them for their texture, taste and versatility (and of course their fibre, B vitamins, magnesium and protein!).
I like to roast the garlic because it makes it sweeter and less potent than raw garlic, but feel free to use raw garlic, just keep it to a few cloves until you get a sense of how garlicky you like it. Roasting a bulb of garlic is dead easy, but I will outline the method below in case you’ve never done it before.
I stuck with romaine lettuce here because I love it and it’s also really nutritious and super hydrating. Romaine is loaded with antioxidants like vitamins A and C, which help boost immunity, reduce inflammation and fend off disease. It’s absolutely loaded with vitamin K too, which is great for bone health. But, as you know, when making a salad, you really can use any green you like.
Let’s get to it!
First, to roast the garlic, here’s what you do:
Preheat over to 400F. Cut the very top off the bulb to slightly expose the tips of the cloves and then peel off the thick, papery outer layers away. Rub a bit of coconut oil on top of bulb and then wrap in tinfoil and roast for 30 minutes. When done and cool enough to handle, the garlic will squeeze right out of its skin. Like garlic toothpaste! Yummmmmm…
- - ⅓ c hummus (store-bought or homemade)
- - 2 tbsp olive oil
- - 3 tbsp lemon juice (juice from 1 ½ lemons)
- - 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- - 2 tbsp capers (smashed) and 2 tbsp brining liquid
- - 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- - 1 small bulb of roasted garlic
- - pinch of sea salt and few good grinds of pepper
- - filtered water (to achieve desired consistency)
- Combine all ingredients together in mason jar and use immersion blender to blend until creamy. Add a bit of filtered water to achieve desired consistency, but I like mine pretty thick!
- - Large head of romaine
lettuce,washed and chopped into bite-sized pieces.
- - 1 ½ c crispy chickpeas (see recipe)
- - 2 tbsp hemp seeds
- - ¼ vegan parm (see recipe below)
- - Vegan Caesar dressing, enough to coat leaves well.
largebowl combine romaine with Caesar dressing. Toss to coat all leaves well.
- Top with crispy chickpeas, hemp
seedsand vegan parm.
- - 1 c cashews
- - 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
- - 1 tsp garlic powder
- - 1 tsp sea salt
- Add all ingredients into food processor and pulse until fine, but crumbly powder forms.
- Store in airtight jar in
fridgefor a few weeks.
Would love to know how it comes together for you. If you try this recipe out, snap a pic and tag me in it @kimdeoncom so I can see! If you have any other tasty suggestions or comments, I’m all ears (er…eyes…) hit me up in the comment section below!