Grilled Vegan Caesar Salad
You don’t need anchovies or Worchestershire sauce to make a Caesar worth its weight in gold. This vegan Caesar dressing works like a charm every time—and paired with grilled romaine and homemade garlic croutons, it makes for a special weeknight or weekend affair.
Grilled Vegan Caesar Salad
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 romaine lettuce hearts, cut in half lengthwise
- sea salt
- 1 cup Homemade Garlic Croutons (recipe follows) or store-bought croutons
- 0.25 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 cup Vegan Caesar Dressing (recipe follows)
- Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat.
- Drizzle the oil over the surface of the lettuce, sprinkle it with salt, and place cut side up on the grill or grill pan for 30 seconds, just until grill marks form. Flip and grill the lettuce cut side down for 1 minute, until it is heated but not cooked and good grill marks have formed. Remove the lettuce to serving plates and top each with a portion of croutons, some parsley, and a drizzle of the dressing.
Homemade Garlic Croutons
- 1 garlic head
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- sea salt
- 2 cup day-old bread (preferably whole wheat), torn or cut into bite-size cubes
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Use a sharp knife to cut off the top quarter of the garlic bulb. Place it in the middle of a square of aluminum foil large enough to wrap around the garlic. Drizzle the garlic with 2 tablespoons of the oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Gather the foil into a packet, leaving a small chimney vent at the top. Roast the garlic for 30 minutes, then check to see if all the cloves are tender. Use a fork to remove each clove or cool the bulb slightly and squeeze from the bottom to remove all the cloves at once. Leave the oven on.
- In a large bowl, mash half of the roasted garlic with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and a pinch of sea salt. (You can use the remaining roasted garlic in the Vegan Caesar Dressing--2 roasted cloves for every 1 clove--or use it to flavor toast, purees, soup, and so on.)
- Toss the bread in the oil and garlic mixture to coat all sides. Spread the bread in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, tossing periodically, until all sides are golden brown. Set the tray aside to cool the croutons.
Vegan Caesar Dressing
- 1 Tbsp caper brine
- 1 Tbsp powdered mustard
- A dash of vegan Worcestershire sauce (optional)
- 0.33 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 0.33 cup slivered almonds
- 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast (see Notes)
- 0.5 Tbsp fresh-cracked black pepper
- 0.5 tsp black pepper
- 0.5 tsp sugar (optional)
- 2 Tbsp capers plus
- 0.25 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
- 4 medium garlic cloves, peeled
- 0.75 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Combine the garlic, lemon juice, capers, mustard, Worcestershire sauce (if using), sunflower seeds, almonds, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and sugar (if using) in a blender or food processor and blend on high until well combined. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the oil and blend until cream: the nuts and seeds will remain slightly grainy to give the dressing texture. Refrigerate the dressing, covered, for 40 minutes. Blend again, and if needed, mix in 1/4 to 1/3 cup water, to reach the desired consistency.
Nutritional yeast is a supplement often used by vegans and vegetarians as a valuable source of B complex vitamins, including B12, and protein. (Brewer's yeast is very similar to nutritional yeast in B complex content except that it does not contain B12.) Because of the lack of meat and animal products in a strictly vegan diet, the addition of these vital nutrients through supplements is crucial to cell health and energy production. Even if you aren't vegan, nutritional yeast is an excellent way to supplement your diet. I sprinkle it on popcorn and use it in this dressing to achieve a delightful nutty, cheesy flavor and rich, creamy consistency.
Recipe Credit: from the book Relish by Daphne Oz
Photo Credit: Ellen Silverman