Thursday, June 30, 2011

Super Healthy Caesar Salad

Seems strange to use the words "healthy" and "Caesar salad" in the same sentence, but it's true.  Before I switched to a plant-based diet this was one salad that I avoided because of the high saturated fat content.  Working at the restaurant we would make five gallon containers of Caesar Dressing from scratch and I knew all too well how bad it was for you.  And that's what I enjoy so much about being vegan...taking a dish that is really bad for you and making it healthy again! 

Caesar Dressing:

6 oz organic silken tofu, drained and patted dry
1 large garlic clove, chopped
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp tahini paste
1 tbsp capers, drained
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp ground nori powder (ground in a spice grinder)
1-2 tsp agave syrup
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup filtered water (more or less for consistency)
1-2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

  • Add all ingredients, except for olive oil and water to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  • With motor running drizzle in olive oil until creamy, adding water to get to the right pouring consistency.
  • Check for seasoning and add additional salt if necessary.
  • Chill until ready to use.
Herb & Garlic Whole Grain Croutons:

3 cups diced stale bread, crust removed and cut into 1" pieces
1 1/2 tsp finely minced fresh thyme leaves
1 1/2 tsp finely mined rosemary leaves
1 large garlic clove, finely minced
Extra virgin olive oil

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Toss bread cubes, thyme, rosemary and garlic with olive oil, salt and black pepper and place on a sheet tray.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown, tossing half way through.
  • Remove from oven and let cool.
Salad Ingredients:

1 head romaine lettuce, washed, dried and chopped into bite size pieces
1 bunch kale, stems removed, washed, and torn into bite size pieces
1 crown of broccoli, washed and broken into florets
1/4 cup capers, drained
1 package Gardein Chick'n Filets, sauteed, and diced (optional)
Whole grain croutons
Salt and black pepper to taste
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Note:  Instead of using Gardein, you could substitute tempeh, baked tofu or garbanzo beans if you wanted additional protein.

  • Fill a sauce pan with water and bring to a boil.  Working in several batches, blanch kale for 1-2 seconds and immerse in an ice bath.  Place kale in a salad spinner to remove excess moisture.  Set aside.
  • Do the same for the broccoli, drain and set aside.
  • If using the Gardein Chick'n Filets, heat a saute pan to medium-high.  Brush filets lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper and saute for about 2 minutes on each side until golden brown.  Remove from heat and dice into large chunks.
  • Add all ingredients to a large bowl and toss lightly with dressing.  Check for seasonings and finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

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