Recipe by Chef Cindy
Caesar Salad lovers or not ... this salad is for you!
Whether you are a traditional Caesar Salad lover or not, I'm sure you will agree that this Vegan Caesar Salad with Roasted Chickpea Croutons is "out of this world" delicious! It is packed with nutrition from the greens and tons of flavor from the nuts, seeds, and chickpeas. But, one of the key ingredients for flavor in this recipe comes from a vegan and vegetarian favorite - Nutritional Yeast.
What is Nutritional Yeast?
Nutritional yeast is a dehydrated yeast product. The yeast comes from the strain Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the same type of yeast used to brew beer and bake bread. The yeast is harvested, washed, and then heated to dry, which then makes it inactive. It is then crumbled into powder and then packaged for use.
What does Nutritional Yeast taste like and is it healthy for you?
Nutritional yeast has a rich, nutty flavor that mimics many taste aspects of cheese. Nutritional yeast is super nutritious. It is also one of the few plant sources of B12, making it a must-have ingredient for vegans and vegetarians. Just one tablespoon delivers slightly more than the daily recommended amount for adults.
Note: Vitamin B12 is known to help with our nervous system, blood-cell formation, digestion, brain function and much more. It is also a water-soluble vitamin, which means we need to replenish it every single day, since it doesn’t get stored in our bodies like fat-soluble vitamins.
Where can you buy Nutritional Yeast?
There are many brands of Nutritional Yeast (Bob's Red Mill, Bragg"s Premium, Simply Organic, Whole Foods), and they are readily available at most markets or to purchase on line.
How do you prepare Vegan Caesar Salad?
There are 4 components to making Vegan Caesar Salad with Roasted Croutons:
- Fresh Greens - Romaine Lettuce (or a mix with Lacinato Kale)
- Roasted Chickpea Croutons
- Caesar Dressing
- Nutty Parmesan Cheese
- Roasted Chickpea Croutons - season & roast in the oven for up to 30 minutes.
- Caesar Salad Dressing - soak cashews overnight and blend all ingredients.
Cashew cream is the base for Caesar Salad Dressing and many other vegan recipes. I recommend making a large amount of All-purpose Cashew Cream so you can portion it out for this recipe and others throughout your week.
Not sure you're ready to give up animal-based products?
Making the jump to eating predominantly plant-based can seem daunting to most people, especially if you've grown up eating animal products your whole life or live with people who say they could never give up meat. Luckily there's many tips and tricks out there to make the change easier; a great place to start is to check out our post Gradual tips for moving towards a plant-based diet!
To see the original post for this recipe click on the link below:
Vegan Caesar Salad with Roasted Chickpea Croutons
- 1 large head of romaine lettuce or 1 small head of romaine and 1 bunch of Lactino kale
Roasted Chickpea Croutons:
- 1 container 13.4 ounce or can of chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- ¾ cup raw cashews covered & soaked in water overnight
- ½ cup water
- ½ lemon juiced approximately 1 ½ tablespoons
- ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons capers
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon sea salt & pepper or to taste
Nutty Parmesan Cheese:
- ⅓ cup raw cashews
- 2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tablespoon garlic powder
- sea salt to taste
- Place cashews (for dressing) in a bowl or measuring cup and soak in water overnight. Drain & rinse.
- Lettuce: Break each leaf apart by hand (or cut) into bite size pieces, setting a few whole leaves aside for plating purposes. Clean in a salad spinner or bowl of water. Dry thoroughly.
- Croutons: Preheat oven to 400°. Drain & rinse chickpeas. Place in a clean towel to dry. Remove the chickpeas from the towel and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Pour olive oil over the chickpeas and move them around gently so they are coated evenly. Sprinkle the seasonings over the chickpeas and shift around again (I find it easiest to just rotate them around with my hands). Roast for approximately 30 minutes, until crispy golden brown, rotating after 15 minutes with a spoon or spatula.
- Dressing: Drain & rinse the cashews. Place all of the ingredients in a high speed blender and process until smooth & creamy. Add more water if necessary. You can also add nutritional yeast if you desire.
- Nutty Cheese: Place cashews & garlic in a food processor and blend until fully chopped. Add the remaining ingredients (except oil) and pulse until blended well. Add the oil and pulse a few more times.
- Plate greens (or in a large bowl). Top with chickpea croutons, nutty parmesan cheese and a drizzle of the vegan caesar dressing.