Vegan Caesar Salad with Chickpea Croutons

Salads are famous for their health benefits – filled with raw nutrients and fresh produce, they can be light and crisp, and at times hearty and satiating. They work double duty as they flatter figures and prevent diseases. The Caesar salad however, has become the rebel of the salad group, often laden with not-so-healthy ingredients such as bacon bits, fried croutons and thick calorie-filled dressings. Until now! Here’s our version of the classic Caesar salad, complete with a creamy vegan dressing that is bursting with nutrients and crunchy, gluten-free “croutons” made from baked, seasoned chickpeas. Packed with minerals and fibre, this Caesar salad is both figure-flattering and health promoting!

Vegan Caesar Salad with Chickpea croutons

Makes 2 large dinner salads (or 4 small side salads)

Dressing
  • 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews, soaked for 1 hour in plain water
  • The juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • 3-4 drops tabasco sauce
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup water (depending on desired consistency)

Drain the cashews. Place all of the ingredients except for the water in a blender (or food processor). Slowly stream in half of the water, little by little, and blend until smooth. Continue to add the remaining water to thin out the dressing. Stop adding the water when  your desired consistency is reached.

Any leftover dressing can be stored in an airtight glass jar and refrigerated for 3-4 days.

Chickpea croutons
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon plain or smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Toss all of the ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Place the seasoned chickpeas on a parchment-lined baking tray and bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool to room temperature.

Optional roasted garlic

Slice 1/2 cm off the top of a head of garlic. Wrap the cut head in aluminum foil and place in the oven while baking the chickpea croutons. Remove the garlic when chickpeas are done (35-40 minutes). Let it cool down to room temperature and squeeze the garlic cloves out.

Assembling the Caesar Salad

In a large salad bowl, toss 1 medium-sized head of romaine lettuce, washed and chopped, with 3/4 of the dressing (more dressing can be added for an extra-creamy salad). Place the dressed salad in individual bowls. Top with the chickpea croutons and optional roasted garlic (a few cloves per serving) and enjoy!

 

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