Caesar salad is something that non-vegans will swear we can’t re-create. But the truth is, a vegan Caesar salad is SO much healthier for you, you’ll only want to eat this version from now on. It will leave you feeling light, clean, and energized. Feel free to use romaine lettuce instead of kale for an even more traditional salad. We just like to switch it up and get our dark leafy greens in wherever we can. Tempeh bacon makes this more of an entree salad, but you can use coconut bacon for an appetizer version (as seen in right photo). You can also use the coconut bacon in the entree salad for added flavour and texture.

vegan-kale-caesar-salad-7

I like the taste of roasted garlic in a Caesar dressing because it makes it sweeter and less overpowering. In case you don’t know how to roast garlic, just peel the outer layers off the garlic bulb, leaving a thin layer still in tact and cut the top of the bulb off (approx. 1/4 inch from the top) so the cloves are visible. Coat in 1 Tbsp of olive oil (per bulb) and a pinch of sea salt and then bake at 400°F for 35 minutes or until the cloves are browned and soft to the touch.

vegan-kale-caesar-salad-3

Caesar Dressing

Ingredients (makes 2 cups):
3/4 cup raw cashews (soaked for a minimum of 3 hours)
3/4 cup water
1 bulb of roasted garlic (approximately 7-9 cloves. Feel free to do more/less depending on your taste.)
1 pitted medjool date
1 lemon, juice & zest
3 1/2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp  sea salt
1 tsp ground pepper

Directions:
1. Drain the soaked cashews and rinse with more water until it runs clear.
2. Place all the ingredients in a vita-mix or high powered blender and mix on high until smooth. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving on your salad.

Garlic Croutons

Ingredients:
3 cups cubed bread (your choice)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 Tbsp go veggie! vegan Parmesan

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a mixing bowl whisk together olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt, and pepper. Toss the cubed bread in the mixture until well coated. If you’re adding the vegan Parmesan, then toss them in that next.
2. Lay out the bread onto a baking sheet and bake for approximately 10-15 minutes, turning over once in the middle of baking, until golden brown. Depending on the bread you use the time will vary so just keep an eye on them. Gluten-free bread takes longer, approximately 20 minutes. and gluten free bread is always a bit gummy so don’t expect them to be crispy crunchy croutons like when they’re made with regular bread. Italian baguette is our favourite for this recipe.

vegan-kale-caesar-salad-8

Tempeh Bacon

Ingredients:
1 package of tempeh (approximately 250 grams)
1/2 cup tamari (can sub soy sauce or Bragg’s aminos)
1/2 Tablespoon water
1/3 cup liquid smoke
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1-2 Tbsp coconut oil (for frying)
Extra water for de-glazing the pan

Directions:
1. Thinly slice the tempeh.
2. Whisk together all the liquid ingredients and smoked paprika in a shallow dish that you can use to marinate the tempeh in.
3. Lay the slices of tempeh in the dish and pour in half the sauce. Marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
4. To cook, heat a non-stick pan to medium and add 1 Tbsp of coconut oil. When it’s heated, add the slices of tempeh.
5. Once the first side starts to brown you’ll want to start de-glazing the pan with left over marinade and a bit of water every so often to prevent them from sticking and to get them really caramelized and browned. Flip the slices and do the same thing on the other side.
6. You might want to use another Tbsp of coconut oil on the other side to get them frying up nice. You’ll start to notice the liquid becoming absorbed and the tempeh getting crispier and stickier. Cook time is approximately 15-20 minutes. Remember, you’re trying to caramelize the tempeh, times may vary.
7. Remove from the heat to cool while you assemble the Caesar salad.
8. All there is left to do is wash and chop your romaine lettuce or kale.

Garnish your Caesar salad with more black pepper, lemon wedges, and additional go veggie! vegan Parmesan if you like! And…I think we might just convert you to being a vegan Caesar salad lover.

Kale tip: If you’re using kale, finely chop it and massage it with your hands in some lemon juice for 3-5 mins. Massaging the kale is actually beneficial. It makes the tough, bitter green sweeter, softer and easier to digest. I like using lemon juice for this salad, but massaging kale with olive oil, lime juice or a pinch of sea salt will wilt it and break it down just the same.

vegan-kale-caesar-salad-6

See more from hot for food on their YouTube channel.