This crisp, hearty, tangy, and vegan Caesar salad is a refreshing spin on the old classic. I know that Caesar salad isn’t the healthiest salad in the world, but it’s perfect for a special occasion or when you’re craving a salad with a creamy dressing.
I have to admit that I’d never been a big fan of a Caesar salad. The heavy dressing, flood of Parmesan cheese, and white-bread croutons just never made me feel particularly good about eating this salad. However, my husband (Tanner) is kind of obsessed with it. Whenever we eat out and Caesar salad is on the menu, he’s ordering it. Every single time. This isn’t typical of him at all because he rarely, if ever, orders the same meal more than once. But when it comes to side dishes, it’s always Caesar salad.
Since we don’t eat out that often, I never even thought about transforming Caesar salad into a healthier plant-based alternative. However, when Tanner brought a bottle of a Caesar salad dressing home a few weeks ago (just so that he could make Caesar salad more frequently), I really wanted to come up with a healthier alternative. Having Caesar salad as an occasional treat in a restaurant? OK. Turning it into a staple with a store-bought dressing? Not so OK.
The good news is that it’s not that difficult to turn Caesar salad into a nutritional bomb! In fact, the first time I made this vegan Caesar salad, Tanner finished all 6 servings, aka the entire bowl! He actually thought that I used the dressing he bought for himself. So when I told him that it’s dairy-free, his jaw dropped. Yes, this vegan Caesar salad is that close to the original.
Tips for Making Vegan Caesar Salad
While I have nothing against romaine lettuce, when it comes to a nutritional value, it pales in comparison to other leafy greens like spinach, kale, or Swiss chard. Generally speaking, the darker the leafy green, the more nutrients it possesses. So I usually mix some de-stemmed dino kale or spinach with the romaine lettuce for added fiber and nutrients. I like the two tones of greens on the plate as well.
There’s a reason cashews are labeled a culinary wonder. Cashews provide a creamy rich consistency without any diary. Capers stand in for the salty, briny flavor. Mustard adds the much needed zing, and lemon juice with olive oil balance the dressing. Tweak the garlic and salt to your taste and voila – you have a perfect Caesar salad dressing.
Vegan Parmesan cheese is nothing but a mixture of coarsely ground cashews mixed together with some nutritional yeast, salt, and garlic powder. It’s savory, cheesy, and surprisingly tasty.
Swap out the bread croutons in favor for roasted chickpeas. These chickpea croutons are not only healthier, but also crunchy, savory, and very addictive.
Tools You’ll Need
1. Blender (Vitamix Pro 750) | 2. Food Processor (Breville Sous Chef) | 3. Cookware Set (Calphalon, Stainless Steel) | 4. Baking Sheet (Pampered Chef, Stone) | 5. Cutting Board (12”x 9”, Midori Way, Bamboo) | 6. Knife Set (Utility, Stainless Steel) | 7. Mixing Bowls (Pyrex, Glass) | 8. Measuring Cups (Set of 6, Bellemain, Stainless Steel) | 9. Measuring Spoons (Set of 6, 1Easylife, Stainless Steel) | 10. Mesh Strainers (Set of 3, Cuisinart, Stainless Steel)
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