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Best Vegan Caesar Salad

You've had it? You know it? It's the best Vegan Caesar salad y'all!

The elements in this recipe make enough to store in the cupboard and fridge to have Caesar salads for weeks !

What makes up the best vegan Caesar salad? FIVE elements, that I promise you, are all worth the work!

1- The Coconut Bacon! If you've made the tempeh bacon before, you'll notice this recipe is very similar! The coconut chunks you use MATTERS! I highly recommend getting the toasted coconut chunks specifically from Bulk Barn! They are the best! Pricey, but a little goes a long way!

This needs to be prepared the night before! Marinade time matters!

2- The Cashew Parmesan. Easy to make, delicious, versatile. Nothing more to say

3- The creamy, garlicy dressing. Not made with cashews, compared to most Vegan Caesar dressing recipes out there! Made with one of my favorite ingredients, silken tofu! Bonus, super high in protein and contains calcium and iron!

4- The buttery croutons! Be sure to use either homemade biscuits for the bread, or a thick, soft sourdough ! Other bread will work too, but these are the best options to use

5- Kale & Romaine, mixed . The nutrition and flavor from the kale, paired with the classic juicy crunch of Romaine is the ultimate "chew love". Make sure you follow my steps on how to properly prepare your kale!

Okay, enough chitter chat, let's get at'er!!!




1 - Coconut Bacon


Makes About 2 1/2 cups

Prep time 8 minutes + overnight marinade

Cook Time 24 minutes


Ingredients

- 3 cups of toasted coconut chips (buy from Bulk Barn )

- 1 cup of soy sauce (I use Bragg's brand)

- 1 tsp of liquid smoke

- 1/4 cup of pure real maple syrup

- 2 tsp of ground cumin

- 1/2 tsp of paprika

- 1/2 tsp of ground pepper


Method

- Add the coconut bacon into an 8x8 baking dish (or similar size)

- In a measuring cup, whisk all the marinade ingredients together well

- Pour the marinade over top of the coconut chips and mix really, really well

- Cover with saran wrap and put in the fridge to marinate over night or minimum 8 hours

*Every time you open the fridge, give the coconut bacon a stir to keep everything well coated !


To Bake

- Preheat the oven to 350

- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper ( for once, I don't recommend using a silpat liner)

- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the coconut onto the parchment paper. Make sure that there isn't too much marinade on the baking sheet as the coconut bacon won't crisp up properly.

- Bake the coconut bacon for 12 minutes, then stir well on the tray and continue to bake another 12 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool and store in the fridge for up to 2 months

**Remove from the oven and stir again before starting to let it cool. It will continue to crisp up as it sits cooling

**If you prefer it extra crispy, bake for an additional 4-5 minutes longer . Just keep an eye on it because coconut can burn very quickly




2 - Cashew Parmesan


Makes About 2 cups

Prep time 1o minutes

Cook Time none!


Ingredients


- 1 cup of raw cashews

- 3 Tbsp of nutritional yeast (not sure where to buy? read this post !)

- 2 tsp of granulated garlic (or powder)

- 1/8 tsp of sea salt


Method


- Add all of the ingredients into a food processor, and process until small bits, like Parmesan!

- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month

* You can also do this in a blender, just watch it closely so that it doesn't blend it into a butter or create too much moisture when blending!




3- Vegan Caesar Dressing


Makes About 2 - 2 1/2 cups of dressing

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook Time none!


Ingredients


- 1 package of Firm Silken tofu (extra firm also works, you just may need to add water to thin out)

- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled

- 2 tsp of vegan Worcestershire (I always use the Wizard's brand) See this

post where to find it

- 1 1/2 TBSP of lemon juice (freshly squeezed or bottled work)

- 1 TBSP of Dijon mustard

- 1/2 TBSP of capers

- 1 TBSP of extra virgin olive oil (E.V.O.O)

- 1/2 tsp of ground pepper

- 1/2 tsp of sea salt

- 2 1/2 TBSP of Nutritional yeast

- 3 TBSP of water if you want a thinner dressing or if you're using extra firm silken tofu instead of firm


Method


- Add all of the ingredients into a blender, or food processor and blend well until completely combined and smooth (about a minute and a half)

- Turn off and scrape down the sides half way through or as needed

- Store in the fridge in an airtight bottle or container for 7-10 days


4 - Croutons


Makes About 4 cups of croutons (lots!)

Prep time 12 minutes

Cook Time 30 minutes


Ingredients


- 5 cups of cubed bread (homemade biscuits or soft sourdough work best, but any bread will also work)

- 2/3 cup of butter (I know, it's a lot. But it is what it is. Just do it)

- 1 TBSP of nutritional yeast

- 1 tsp of granulated garlic (powder works too)

- 1 tsp of granulated onion (powder works too)

- 1/2 tsp of sea salt

- 1/2 tsp of ground pepper

- 1/2 TBSP of dried Parsley

- 1 tsp of dried basil


Method

- Preheat the oven to 350 and prepare a lined baking sheet with parchment or a silpat liner

- Add the cubed bread into a large bowl, set aside

- In a small glass measuring cup or bowl, melt the butter.

- To the melted butter, add all of the ingredients (not the bread), and mix well

- Pour the butter mixture on top of the bread in the bowl and mix very well

- Evenly spread the croutons onto the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, then stir and bake another 15 minutes or until golden around the edges, but still slightly soft on the inside parts

- Let cool and store in an airtight container up to three months




5 - The Kale!


Okay, I'm not going to give you measurements or tell you how much parmesan, dressing or coconut bacon to put on your salad, that's your business! You add in as much as you damn well please!

BUT, I am going to teach you how to properly prepare the kale so that you actually love it!


1- De-stem a full bunch of kale, and rip into small bite size pieces

2- Wash your kale and your romaine (if using) very well and dry with a salad spinner or paper towel, but keep the two lettuce types separate for now

- Place the kale into a bowl big enough for when you add the romaine and other salad ingredients, there's still room to mix it all up

- Squeeze the juice from 1/2 a lemon onto the kale only, then massage! Yes! Massage your lettuce like you love it. As you do this, you'll notice the leaves become softer, and it also helps break down the bitterness of the kale. It only takes about one minute

- Then, add in your romaine, coconut bacon, parmesan and desired amount of dressing.

- Mix the dressing in super well, I like to do this with my hands as well to really get the dressing into the kale! Again with the romantic massaging! It really does make a difference!

- Plate, and top with more cashew parm and a squeeze of fresh lemon!

-WHOO! LOVE IT! Eat your greens and massage your kale!

**Hot tip! wash, cut/rip and dry your lettuce and keep in a big ziploc bag or bowl for the whole week so you're more likely to grab a salad, plus less time to prepare ;)


Hi, I'm Melanie!

 

Your home or mine, let's just make it delicious and vegan!

Sharing what I've learned over the last 10 years as a vegan chef and restaurant owner.

© 2020 Melanie Boudens | Vegan chef at home
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