Hello friends! This week I have a vegan caesar for you that frankly, puts the eggy, mayonnaise-slicked original to shame.
Dangerous statement, but speaking as a (closeted) mayonnaise fan and friend of all-things-creamy, here me out…
AVOCADO CAESAR DRESSING
A snappy, 30 seconds-flat kinda number, this enlightened dressing comes together by whipping the avocado into oblivion- almost like a thicker, greener mayonnaise. Any old food processor or blender will do the trick.
The umami punch of dijon mustard (a salad dressing hero), and nutritional yeast (the virtuous parmesan cheese) takes it to hellllooooooo level in no time.
A sprinkle of roughly chopped garlic, drizzle of olive oil and juicy squeeze lemon round out the dressing with the mouth-puckering, zing! that you are bound to crave with a caesar.
SHIITAKE BACON NATION
If you’ve been skirting around makin’ bacon out of mushrooms due to:
A) Disbelief that they are legit or
-follow my lead and sling these bad boys together – caesar salad or not.
Smoky, with the perfect balance of chew and crunch- their robust flavour makes them a wonderful ‘meaty’ topper for soups and salads galore. The best part? Throw them in a bowl with tamari, garlic, salt and pepper and your work is almost done.
THIS AVOCADO CAESAR IS: Salty, creamy, smoky, zing- all of these flavours come to the party, making it really easy to forget you’re consuming vegetables. With a virtuous drizzle of avocado and other healthy things on top.
I added the croutons because I was lucky to have a focaccia bun on hand, but any ol’ crunchy topping will do (hint… roasted chickpeas). Or nadda…let the shittake speak for itself.
Hope you love this caesar salad! If you try it, please tag me on insta @earthandoven and give me a shout 😉
- 113 g/ 3 oz Shiitake mushrooms
- 2 tsp coconut oil, melted
- 1 tsp gluten free tamari
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- pinch of finely ground sea salt
- 3 cracks of black pepper
- 1 large avocado
- Juice from 1/2 a large lemon
- 2 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 3 tbsp Nutritional Yeast Flakes
- 1/3 tsp pink himalayan salt
- 4-5 cracks black pepper
- 3-4 tbsp water, to thin
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (more water will work here too)
- 1 small focaccia bun, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (optional, any small bun or aging bread will do)
- 1 head of romaine, roughly chopped
- 2 heaping cups (3.5 oz) curly kale, finely chopped into ribbons
- Juice from 1/4 of the lemon
- Extra nutritional yeast, to top
- Preheat the oven to 400 F.
- Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, add the mushrooms, tamari, coconut oil, salt and pepper. Toss with your hands to get the mushrooms fully dressed. Spread out on the baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 min, checking periodically, until dark brown and mostly crisp.*
- Meanwhile, add all of the caesar salad ingredients into a food processor or blender. Blend for 40-50 seconds, scraping down as needed, until creamy. You may need to add more or less water depending on the size of your avocado. Taste and add more lemon or salt as necessary.
- While the mushrooms are still baking, on a separate parchment lined tray, add the cut up foccacia. Drizzle with 1 tsp of olive oil and use your hands to get them all coated in the stuff. Move the tray into the oven and bake for 5-8 minutes, until lightly golden and crisp.
- When you're ready to serve, in a large bowl, add the kale. Squeeze juice from 1/4 of the lemon and 1 tsp of olive oil. Use your hands to massage the kale, until the leaves are dark and tender, about 20 seconds.** Add the romaine lettuce, and the caesar dressing. Toss well to coat the nooks and crannies.
- Serve the salad with the shiitake bacon and the croutons overtop. Sprinkle liberally with nutritional yeast, and lemon juice, as you like.
*Depending on the size of your mushrooms, the timing here will vary. The first time my mushrooms were small and they got really black and crispy (tasted very bacon-like) The second time my mushrooms were larger and needed more time to get to that crisp state. You can't really lose here. ** Massaging the kale is an extra (optional) step that I take to get the leaves really soft and ready for salad dressing. I have tried without massaging and the salad still tastes amazing.