Vegan Caesar salad with tempeh

DSC_4830.jpg


One of the most common items in many vegan restaurants that I have been to is the Caesar salad. In my experience, all of the people I know that are not crazy about salad, will always be willing to eat a Caesar. It's almost like the junk food of salads to people.

DSC_4545.jpg

A traditional non plant based Caesar will have parmesean cheese in the dressing as well as sprinkled on top. The extreme traditional Caesar dressing will have anchovies.

In this plant based Caesar we will omit the anchovies, which will not be missed, and replace the cheese with a combination of other ingredients.

DSC_4545.jpg

I used soaked cashews. For a simpler dressing you can use store bought vegan mayo instead. I would have but I didn't feel like going to the store so I made use of ingredients that I had.

Caesar salad dressing
1 cup soaked raw cashews
1 cup plant milk
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon onion powder
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon capers
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon agave
salt to taste

Blend all the ingredients except for salt until creamy. Add salt afterwards. The capers will add saltiness so it's best to see how salty it needs to be after blending.

DSC_4744.jpg

Traditionally Caesar salad is made with romaine lettuce which is tough so it doesn't get soggy with the heavy dressing. I have also used kale which is a more fun way to eat kale in the raw state.

I managed to find some romaine that was in good shape along with some artisan baby romaine so I combined the two. Produce in Canadian winter during an apocalypse is not as good as it use to be so I took advantage of this find and mixed the two romaine together.

DSC_4757.jpg

The baby romaine consisted of dark purple leaves which add some color. I need color in my food since it is drab and colorless outside.

There are usually croutons on a Caesar salad so I took some left over bread that I had, cubed them and seasoned with onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and oregano. They were tossed in a bowl with olive oil then put in the oven on 350F for around five minutes then on lower heat until they were crunchie. I have made croutons in a pan on the stove as well. I have not always had an oven.

DSC_4768.jpg

One of the most popular ingredients on a traditional Caesar is bacon bits. I don't consume meat but that is not a problem these days. There are many ways to substitute bacon bits. You can purchase it or make it easily which is what I have done.

I happened to have some soy protein in the cupboard which I don't use often but I do sometimes. In this case it was the perfect quick solution to bacon bits. I have made "facon" with rice paper which takes a little more time and care but this was my solution today.

"Facon bits"
1 cup soy protein
2 tablespoons braggs amino or soy sauce
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon olive oil or any oil

DSC_4774.jpg

Put a little oil in a skillet then add soy protein.

DSC_4778.jpg

Mix the seasonings together and cook until covered and browned.

DSC_4781.jpg

These days when you see a Caesar salad on the menu it's common to have it come with a protein which is in most cases chicken. In a vegan restaurant it usually can be accompanied with tempeh or tofu. I chose tempeh today.

DSC_4813.jpg

To cook the tempeh, I just slice it, put it in a pan covering it with soup broth and a dash of soy sauce. I often add other seasonings but this was going to be covered with salad dressing so I didn't bother.

I bring the tempeh and liquid to a boil then simmer on low heat until the liquid is evaporated. You can cook it in water as well. After I seared it in a pan until it was a little brown. If I had a grill or barbecue I would have grilled it.

Coat the chopped romaine leaves with the dressing then plate.

DSC_4817.jpg

It was topped with vegan parmesean which was simply made with sunflower seeds.

Vegan parmesean
1 cup sunflower seeds, or raw nuts like almonds
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
salt to taste
1 teaspoon onion powder

The nutritional yeast is what gives it a cheese like taste. Don't make the mistake of getting another kind of yeast.

DSC_4829.jpg

Adding tempeh or tofu to the salad makes the salad a complete meal and you won't need to eat for a while.

DSC_4820.jpg

If you have stopped eating animal products and you miss Caesar salads, you can be sure that a plant based version will do the job just as well.

DSC_4833.jpg

Have a great week!

39 Comments