Delicious & Hearty (Vegan) Caesar Salad
The other day, J (AKA, the hubs) and I went downtown with some friends of ours who are vegan. We ended up at a place called Sizzle Pie right in the heart of PDX. Sizzle Pie is known for it's vegan (and non-vegan!) pizza. While there I tried their vegan Caesar salad and it was AMAZING. I was inspired to make something similar for myself--and this delicious ensemble was the result!
This Caesar salad is so good that you wouldn’t know its really healthy! Actually, the dressing is safe for paleo, gluten-free, and vegan diets. BUT, because it's made with a base of cashews, it's also super hearty and full of heart-healthy protein and fat. (My husband, a self described and unashamed "meat eater" loved this salad!)
This recipe is intended to make 2 entree sized salads or 4-5 appetizer sized salads.
For the Caesar Salad:
- 3 romaine lettuce hearts, roughly chopped –Heads up! Because of the recent romaine lettuce outbreaks, I’ve been substituting for Bibb lettuce or iceberg lettuce.
- ½ cup grated or shaved Parmesan cheese*
- Kosher salt or Himalayan salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 6 slices sandwich bread, cubed
- 1 avocado, chopped
- 3 Tbsp. Bob’s Red Mill sunflower seeds
- 6 marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
- 1 red onion, julienned
- 2 rosemary sprigs, finely chopped
- 1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
- ½ cup chopped olives, pits removed
- 3 Tbsp. EVOO
- Garlic powder
- Sea salt for taste
For the Cashew Caesar Dressing:
• 1/2 cup raw cashews, softened (see step 1)
• 3 Tbsp. Bob’s Red Mill Hemp Seed Hearts
• 3/4 cup warm water
• 1/2 cup lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
• 2 teaspoons capers
• ½ tsp. garlic powder
• Sea salt to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 350-degrees F.
2. In a blender, combine cashews, hemp seed hearts, water, 1/4 * c. lemon juice, hemp hearts, capers, and garlic. Add in a pinch of sea salt, then pulse and taste. You will probably want to add in more lemon juice and sea salt using this pulse-and-taste method. When you are pleased with the dressing, set aside. (This dressing tastes similar to a traditional creaser salad dressing; it is rich, somewhat nutty, and creamy.)
3. Chop bread into small square pieces. Toss onto a cookie sheet and drizzle with EVOO. Sprinkle with sea salt and garlic powder and add in sprigs of chopped rosemary. Bake for 15 minutes until bread is hard, then remove from heat and set aside.
4. Chop lettuce if using romaine; if using another type of lettuce, like iceberg, roughly chop. If using a more gentle kind of lettuce, like Bibb or butter lettuce, you may just want to tear into pieces. In the bowl with lettuce, add in chopped artichoke hearts, olives, avocado, cherry tomatoes, red onion, Parmesan cheese, tomatoes, and sunflower seeds.
5. Just before serving, drizzle the cashew Caesar salad dressing over the ensemble and enjoy!