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dinner lunch

Vegan Kale Caesar w/ Homemade Croutons & Dressing

A dairy (and anchovy!) free Caesar salad that’s as easy to make as it is to eat! Make extras, and wait till your guests have tried their first bite to let them in on the dairy-free secret.

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Today was actually sunny again, so I finally got to cross something off my sunny day recipe list: kale caesar salad. Normally, I feel like caesar salad is the black sheep of the salad family since it’s more croutons & cheese w/ a bit of lettuce sprinkled here and there than an actual salad. I’ve been coming across a bunch of recipes online for “healthy” caesar dressing but was sketched out by  a) the thought of chopping up an anchovy and b) the lack of dairy, mayo, etc. Much to my surprise, the anchovy-less dressing I ended up making turned out awesome, and I’m confused how the combination of ingredients ended up tasting so much like actually full-fat, full-dairy caesar dressing. Added bonus: it went fabulously with the homemade croutons and kale, which was the intention. Essentially, make this salad and ensure you have leftover dressing!

BEST FOR- Days you want caesar salad and something healthy quickly since the only real wait time is blending the salad ingredients and baking the croutons!

MUSICAL PAIRING- “Riptide” by Vance Joy

DRESSING INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup fresh Meyer lemon juice (5-6 small lemons)
  • the juice of 1 small lime 
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbs. water
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • 1 ½ tbs. dijon mustard
  • ½ cup raw walnuts, soaked in water for 10 minutes, then drained
  • 4 large garlic cloves

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Crouton Ingredients

  • Petit Pain Pauline Whole Wheat Loaf from Trader Joe’s
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
  • salt + pepper, to taste

OTHER INGREDIENTS

  • 10 oz (1 bag) Tuscan/ Dino Kale
  • 10 oz (1 bag) Romaine Lettuce
  • OPTIONAL- Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (if making non-vegan)

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Soak walnuts in a small bowl for 10 minutes.
  2. While walnuts are soaking and oven is preheating, cut bread into small chunks and put on large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, chopped rosemary, salt, and pepper. Place in oven when preheated.
  3. After 10 minutes, chop up walnuts into small pieces. Add them and all other dressing ingredients to food processor or magic bullet. Blend. The dressing should end up thick, creamy, and tangy.
  4. Place desired lettuce (my suggestion of kale & romaine, or just romaine or just kale, or whatever really) croutons, and dressing in bowl. Toss, and enjoy! Add cheese as well if desired!

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NOTES

  • The customization possibilities for this salad really are endless, no matter your dietary restrictions. Grill some chicken, tuna, steak, tofu, shrimp, veggies– throw it on. Chop up some carrots, broccoli, celery, red peppers, etc– add them in. Add in cheese if you’re into dairy. Roast chickpeas instead of bread for a gluten-free crouton option, or add on extra chopped walnuts. The sky is the limit!

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