Food La La: Eager for a vegan Caesar

Apr. 27, 2015 | 0 Comments

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Caesar

BY LINDSEY MURAOKA / Special to the Star-Advertiser

I’ve been cooking more at home since becoming a vegan. Even though it is pretty easy to dine out — there are many places that can alter their dishes to be vegan-friendly — it’s nice to make your own meals and to know exactly what went in them. Plus, you can customize your meal exactly the way you want!

I was never a big fan of salads. I thought they were boring and just there to accompany my main dish. As I began making them myself, however, I realized I do enjoy them if they’re topped with tons of stuff and include a delicious, creamy dressing.

I made this salad to be a colorful and heartier version of a Caesar salad. I used romaine lettuce with kale, since kale has more fiber and calcium. I thought it would be nice to have contrasting textures and flavors, so I topped it with roasted Okinawan sweet potato and carrots. Instead of croutons, I used roasted chickpeas as a healthier alternative and for added protein.

Caesar salad dressings are usually made with mayonnaise, eggs and anchovies. But you can also use almonds to get the creamy texture and tangy flavor Caesar dressings are known for. I have a lot of cashews, so I used those instead. I also topped the salad with vegan Parmesan I also made using cashews.

Add in some tofu or avocado with quinoa and this salad is a great meal just by itself!

CREAMY VEGAN CAESAR SALAD

Serves 4

Ingredients for Salad:

» 1 bunch romaine lettuce, washed and chopped into 1-inch strips
» 1 bunch dino kale, de-stemmed and chopped into 1-inch strips
» 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
» 1 Okinawan sweet potato, peeled, sliced and cut into 1-inch cubes
» 4 carrots, peeled, sliced and chopped 1/2-inch thick

Ingredients for Dressing:

» 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
» 1/2 cup cashews (or any type of nut) soaked in water 10 minutes then drained
» 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
» 1 cup water
» 2 tbsp. lemon juice
» 1 tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
» 1 tbsp. olive oil
» Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for Vegan Parmesan:

» 1 cup raw cashews
» 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
» 1 tsp. salt and pepper
» Garlic powder and cayenne pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Use a baking sheet with a clean dishtowel and spread drained chickpeas evenly on top. Pat dry with another towel.

2. Toss sweet potato and carrots with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Add preferred seasonings. Spread on a baking sheet. Roast until golden brown and tender, about 40 minutes.

3. While vegetables are roasting, mix chickpeas with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, pepper and seasonings. Spread on baking sheet. Place in oven 10 minutes after vegetables. Roast until crisp, about 30 minutes.

4. Blend together vegan parmesan ingredients with food processor or blender. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge.

5. Blend together dressing ingredients with food processor or blender.

6. Toss lettuce and kale with finished roasted vegetables in bowl with dressing to taste. Be sure to toss until all leaves and vegetables are coated.

7. Top with roasted chickpeas, vegan Parmesan and ground pepper.
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Lindsey Muraoka blogs about all things vegetarian for the Pulse. Follow her on Twitter or email her at foodlalablog@gmail.com.

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