As a little girl, I would often steal my mother’s croutons since I considered them to be the best part of her caesar salad. After being diagnosed with celiac disease and transitioning to a plant-based diet, I no longer reached for the croutons and wondered whether I could remake a caesar salad that I could eat. Lottie Bildirici, my friend, ROO interviewee #115, chef, and health coach recently published a plant-based caesar salad dressing. Lottie’s dressing inspired me to recreate the other essentials of a caesar salad, including the cheese and croutons. For additional substance, I have added roasted sweet potato and granny apple slices to my caesar salad celebration!
Yields 5-6 small bowls (ROO tip: prepare and store salad fixings separately so that you can eat throughout the week)
- 1 bunch lacinato kale, destemmed and chopped
- 1 head read leaf lettuce, chopped
- See Lottie’s Caesar Salad Recipe on her website (vegan and gluten-free)
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1 tablespoon raw sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons hemp hearts
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic flakes
- Fine grain sea salt, to taste
Roasted Chickpea Croutons:
- 1 (15-oz) can chickpeas
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- Garlic flakes, to taste
- Cayenne pepper, to taste
- Roasted sweet potato bites
- Granny smith apple slices
1. Prepare the roasted chickpea croutons:
- Preheat oven to 400F. Drain and rinse chickpeas. Place chickpeas in a small towel and dry off. Place onto large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle on coconut oil and mix to coat. Sprinkle on the garlic flakes, cayenne pepper, and salt and mix to coat. Roast for 20 minutes at 400F, then roll the chickpeas around in the baking sheet, and roast for another 15 minutes, until lightly golden. Expect them to firm up as they cool.
2. Prepare the lettuce:
- De-stem the kale and then finely chop the leaves. Wash and dry in a salad spinner. Place into extra large bowl. Finely chop the read leaf lettuce. Rinse and then spin dry. Place into bowl along with kale and set aside.
3. Prepare the dressing:
- According to Lottie’s directions, prepare the dressing and set aside.
4. Prepare the cashew cheese:
- Add cashews into a food processor and process until finely chopped. Mix in the rest of the ingredients and process until the mixture is combined.
- Add dressing onto lettuce and mix until fully coated. Now sprinkle on the roasted chickpea croutons and the cashew cheese. Add additional add-ons, such as sweet potato and granny apple slices. Celebrate this delicious, gluten-friendly, plant-based caesar salad!
* Cashew cheese and chickpea croutons adapted from Oh She Glows’ Crowd-Pleasing Vegan Caesar Salad