Vegan Caesar salad... yass
Happy Valentines Day!!
I enjoyed this salad so much, it might need to be my Valentine this year (shh, don't tell my husband). In all seriousness though, this would be a fantastic side salad for dinner, or add in extra protein like I did and turn it into a full meal! If you both eat the garlic, you won't even notice the smell ;)
I was recently INSPIRED by a salad from my local health store; it was a vegan Caesar salad with chickpeas, tempeh, kale, romaine, coconut bacon, and the BEST cashew dressing. It was life changing- seriously, but it was also expensive (as most salads are). I'm not one to go out of my way to buy salads; mainly because I know I can make something that tastes better for a fraction of the cost, at home.
It's been a hot minute since I was inspired by food. I normally LOVE cooking and experimenting in the kitchen. It brings me so much joy trying new recipes and sharing them with my family, but I just haven't been inspired or excited by food lately. While I've still been eating plant based, I've been stuck in a rut for the past couple months; half assing my meal prep, looking for quick meals, turning to comfort foods.
This salad brought back my kitchen mojo.
The combination of ingredients from the smokey tempeh, spicy chickpeas, crisp lettuce, and creamy dressing that brought all the flavours together- perfection.
Unfortunately I couldn't find any tempeh at my local grocery store, so I made due with some vegan chicken, which tasted just as good!
Vegan Caesar Salad
Serving size: 3 big salads or 6 small
Prep time: 45min
Cook time: 35min
For the Roasted Chickpea Croutons:
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (or 1 1/2 cups cooked), drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
For the Caesar Dressing (makes 3/4-1 cup):
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight (or boiled on the stove for 10 min (if you forget to soak overnight like I did))
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 small garlic clove (you can add more or less depending on your preferences)
3 teaspoons capers
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt and pepper, or to taste
For the Nut and Seed Parmesan Cheese:
1/3 cup raw cashews
2 tablespoons hulled hemp seeds
1 small garlic clove
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
fine grain sea salt, to taste
For the lettuce:
1 container of baby spinach, chopped
1/2-1 bag baby spinach, chopped
Vegan chiken, cooked and chopped
1.Soak cashews in a bowl of water overnight, or in boiling water for about 10min. Drain and rinse. 2.Roast 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 at 400°F, 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.
3.Prepare 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.
4.Prepare the Parmesan cheese: Add cashews and garlic into a 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.
5.Prepare the lettuce: wash if it isn't preached, chop and mix together in a big bowl (or portion into containers for grab and go lunches)
6.Assemble: 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. Alternatively: portion salad and toppings into containers, add dressing when ready to eat.
YUM! I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. I made mine suuuper garlicky, but adjust it to your preferences!
Let me know what you think!!