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Plant-Based

The Ultimate Plant-Based Caesar Salad

When in Rome, do as the vegetarians do!

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Caesar salads used to be known as that side dish you order with dinner: Just meh, but good enough to get some veggies in. Adding chicken on top of your salad bulks it up a bit, but if you’re looking to reduce your meat intake, what do you do then? Enter the ultimate plant-based Caesar salad.

You’ve heard of a Capstone project—it’s the culmination of Herculean effort and time—well, this is that in salad form. You’ve already put in the work to master reducetarian cooking or vegetarian and vegan dishes via other recipes like plant-based “chicken” and portobello burgers. Now, it’s time to build a revolutionary Caesar. This recipe transforms the side dish into a main course with mindful, tasty ingredients.

How does this recipe achieve those delicious and well-known flavors of a Caesar salad with plant-based ingredients alone? With smart swaps, like subbing kelp into the dressing instead of anchovies and cashews to provide richness instead of eggs, you won’t miss anything you love about the original. Best of all, this Caesar salad is also dairy-free and nutrient-dense, which means it’s as good for you as it tastes. And it’s going to become a staple salad for sure.

The Ultimate Plant-Based Caesar Salad

Servings
4
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
15 min
Duration
40 min

Ingredients

Cashew-kelp caesar dressing

  • ¼ cup raw cashews
  • 1 2-inch piece of dried kelp
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast
  • ¼ tsp salt

Croutons

  • 1 ½ cups multigrain bread, cubed into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp salt and pepper, each

Seared mushrooms

  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 oz oyster or maitake mushrooms
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Salad

  • 1 large head romaine, chopped
  • cashew dressing
  • ½ recipe eggplant bacon, chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • croutons
  • seared mushrooms
  • ½ recipe plant-based chicken, shredded
  • vegan Parmesan, optional
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for garnish

Preparation

  1. Place cashews and kelp in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to sit for 15 minutes; drain. Add cashews, kelp, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon, nutritional yeast, salt and ¼ cup water into a high- speed blender. Blend until completely smooth, about 30 seconds. 
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Toss cubed bread, olive oil, salt and pepper together in a medium bowl. Spread bread onto a baking sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring halfway, until golden brown. 
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Arrange mushrooms in a single layer and cook until the bottom side is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, flip the mushrooms, and continue to cook, until golden brown, about 3 minutes more. 
  4. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the romaine and cashew dressing, add in the eggplant bacon, croutons and mushrooms. Top with plant-based chicken and vegan Parmesan, if using. Garnish with lemon wedges. 

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size ¼ of recipe
  • Calories 483
  • Carbohydrate Content 35 g
  • Fat Content 32 g
  • Fiber Content 9 g
  • Protein Content 18 g
  • Saturated Fat Content 5 g
  • Sodium Content 1,008 mg
  • Sugar Content 9 g