Growing up, my dad was a vegetarian. He still is for the most part. However, because he travels out of the country quite often for work to places like Ireland, Spain and Germany, dinners with his colleagues don’t always come “meat free”. In that sense, he’s a bit of a “flexitarian”. He tells the story of how on one trip he was treated to dinner at a place called “The House of Foie Gras” – A restaurant serving entirely duck and goose liver. I’d have to call that flexible to the max!
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that I’m not a vegetarian nor a vegan. Far from it… However, I do enjoy preparing recipes that are healthier than their original versions. Caesar dressing has such a great creamy texture and tangy flavor. The classic recipe calls for raw egg yolks and anchovies, ingredients that many people are squeamish about. This version uses raw cashews which are processed until very smooth, creating an amazing silky texture. Also added is nutritional yeast, which has an almost cheesy like flavor, garlic, and lemon juice.
I used my Vitamix to get just the right texture, and processed for about three minutes. I cannot stress enough how much I love this tool. It’s a bit pricey, but I do use it on almost a daily basis. You could also do this easily in a food processor, although if you have a small prep-sized one, that would be preferred. Just be sure to scrape down the sides of your bowl as needed.
To give the dish some added interest, and protein, I topped it off with some chopped avocado, hemp seeds, capers, and quick garlic croutons. Hemp seeds are said to be the most nutritious seed in the world. They have the most concentrated balance of proteins, essential fats, vitamins and enzymes combined. They have a very mild flavor, and taste slightly like almonds or pine nuts. They are becoming much more widely available. Check your supermarket’s bulk section or purchase them online. They’re great added to smoothies for an extra protein kick too!
I’d have to say that it may be hard to turn back to the original version of this dressing. Although Caesar Dressing is a classic, and some will debate that it can’t be prepared without anchovies and egg, I’ll stick with this new twist.
Vegan Caesar Salad
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1/4 cup water plus additional as needed to thin dressing to desired consistency
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 clove large garlic smashed
- 1 tsp salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pieces large heads romaine lettuce chopped into bite-size
- 1 ripe avocado chopped
- 1/2 cup hemp seeds
- 1/3 cup capers drained and rinsed
- 3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 clove large garlic crushed and peeled
- 2 cups to 3 bread cubes
- 1/2 tsp . kosher salt
Place all dressing ingredients in high-powered blender or food processor and process until very smooth, taking the time to scrape down the sides of your container as needed. Add up to 4 tablespoons additional water to achieve your desired consistence.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Place olive oil in microwave safe bowl, add crushed garlic clove and heat on high for 30 seconds.
Discard garlic clove and drizzle olive oil over your bread crumbs, sprinkle on the salt, and toss until the bread is well coated.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, tossing once during cook time.
Place your chopped lettuce in a bowl and toss with 1/2 cup of the dressing, add more or less to suit your taste. Top with avocado, croutons, hemp seeds and capers.
- You can find nutritional yeast at any health food store. Also, many supermarkets carry it in the bulk section. It’s great sprinkled on popcorn or kale chips if you have any extra!