Going vegan doesn’t mean giving up your favourites, it just means reinventing them! I use to love the classic Caesar salad but I may as well have ordered a side of fries since the typical Caesar salad is filled with dairy fat. Kale is a sturdy green that holds well to a creamy dressing like this and has more of the good stuff in it than romaine lettuce. Be sure to massage the kale well since this softens the normally tough vegetable. Bonus: I got to use this beautiful purple kale that I got from Mama Earth Organics. Nature always gets the colours just right.
This is my first veganized Caesar salad and it is a lot fresher and less caloric than the original. Let’s break down and compare the typical Caesar dressing to my raw version.
*** I used MyFitnessPal to obtain the nutritional information ***
350 calories for all the dressing! I only used 1/3 of the dressing to coat 4 cups of greens. I looked up a few Caesar dressing calorie counts and they averaged 90 calories with 10 grams of fat per tablespoon! And who uses just 1 tablespoon? Sure nuts are high in fat but it is plant based fat verses dairy and I will choose plants every time.
Makes 4 cups but I only used a few at a time so feel free to halve the recipe.
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, grated through a microplane
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 cups cubed crusty bread, crusts removed
In a small bowl, mix the oil and garlic and let it stand for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, make the dressing. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and strain the garlic out of the oil. Discard the garlic and toss the bread cubes with the garlic-infused oil. Transfer to a parchment paper lined baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until golden brown. Let cool on baking sheet until the croutons are room temperature.
Makes about 1 cup of dressing.
- ½ cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon each of capers and caper brine
- 1 teaspoon chai seeds (I used black but white is fine too)
- ½ medium clove of fresh garlic
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1/2 cup water
Add all the ingredients to a high power blender and process until completely smooth. Transfer to bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- 4 cups purple or green kale, tough stems removed and chopped
- ½ tablespoon nutritional yeast to sprinkle on top
- ½ avocado, diced
- Lemon wedges to serve
Massage the kale with 1/3 cup of dressing and let stand for 15 minutes to soften the kale. Top with some croutons and avocado, sprinkle with nutritional yeast, drizzle 1 tablespoon extra dressing on top and lemon wedges on the side.
Looks great, as usual! I’ve never massaged my kale before. Does it really make that much difference?
Jessica DeMarra says
Such a difference! I use to hate kale salads but forced myself to eat it. Turns out the tough green just needs a little TLC to make it delicious. Try it for yourself! The only bad part is you will be eating much more kale salads (hahaha!)
That looks lovely. I wonder if the humble kale realises how much it is fawned over?! I’m gluten free and have used tempeh as croutons before. Do you have any other suggestions?
Jessica DeMarra says
One really good add to any salad for some serious crunch is raw broccoli stalks, peeled and cubed. I add them to lots of salads since they are sort of sweet and I get to use the whole broccoli head and not just the florets. Any gluten free bread will do as well but your croutons may be smaller since I have never seen a loaf of GF bread that wasn’t pre sliced. Hope this helps!