I have been plant-based for nearly 11 years. If I had to choose one dish that I missed the most from my pre-vegan life I would have to say it was a Caesar salad. The crisp crunch of romaine, with the creamy dressing and generous shreds of parmesan, made my mouth water.
I was always miffed at the lack of Caesar salad options at vegan/vegetarian restaurants. On the rare occasion that I did find it on the menu, the outcome left much to be desired. They were usually too acidic and lacked flavor. I missed the rich creaminess and satisfying saltiness. Instead, I just tasted a whole lot of lemon juice.
It has been more than a decade and finally, I came across a recipe that is pretty darn close to tasting like the original Caesar dressing. And because I am such a “ferment junky” I made my own tweaks to make it even healthier and as gut microbiome-friendly as possible.
Adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and fresh miso paste did the trick! I also bumped up the fiber and added more chlorophyll by switching the lettuce from romaine hearts to full, green leafy romaine. Both fiber and chlorophyll are crucial for our health.
This salad has now become my go-to for anyone who comes over! It is a perfect starter for a dinner party, but I also make it for my family as the main course. Yes, a large well-thought-through salad can make a great entre!
The recipe calls for sourdough croutons, but if you want to step up another healthy notch, skip the bread and instead lightly roast a cup of chickpeas. Chickpeas contain 12.5g of soluble fiber and 14.5g of plant-based protein. Just another great way to power-up with plants!
If you try out this recipe, let’s connect and tell me what you think!
- ½ cup walnuts
- ½ cup of water
- 2 tbs olive oil
- ½ lime or lemon
- ½ tbs ACV (great source of NATURAL probiotics)
- 1 tbs white miso paste (great source of NATURAL probiotics)
- 1 tsp GF tamari (fermented)
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove (you can use garlic powder but the idea behind this blog is to use the freshest food possible, however, if you will go with powder, you will need to use 1tsp)
- ¼ tsp salt (I highly recommend going with sea salt or Himalayan pink salt, both rich in minerals)
Food not supplements.
Aneta Fun Fact: Need some electrolytes? Make yourself electrolyte water by adding a pinch of sea salt, Celtic salt or pink salt to it. Squeeze some lemon and add a tiny bit of raw honey (or agave for vegans).
Eat food, not supplements.
- 2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped (I like larger chunks, they will make you chew your food better)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes (optional)
- 2 tbs nutritional yeast (this will serve as parmesan cheese substitute)
- To make the dressing: Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until almost smooth. I like texture so I leave it bit chunkier (more like a classic Caesar), but you can blend it until smooth, which would take you not more than 1 minute in a high-speed blender. If you don’t have a high-speed blender you might need an extra minute of blending.
- To make the salad: Chop the lettuce in chunks. Move it to a large bowl and toss the lettuce with half of the dressing (Remember, you can always add more but you can’t take it away). Top it with a handful of halved cherry tomatoes, roasted chickpeas or croutons. Drizzle with a bit of leftover dressing and sprinkle some nutritional yeast on top. Voila! A satisfying, satiating, Caesar!
- If you are in a transitioning process to become more plant-based you can add some of the vegan “chicken”. However, these meat substitutes are not always beneficial to the health of your microbiome and should be used sparingly. Use them if you’re still craving the taste or texture of meat, but actively work to wean yourself off of them. Trust me, with the time you won’t miss them.
- Need something more filling or want to take your salad on the go? Make a chickpea Caesar wrap. Skip the nutritionally-void white flour tortilla and scout out a healthier option. My personal favorites are grain-free tortillas from Siete. They are a bit pricier than generic brands, but they are made with clean ingredients and you know you’re eating real food.