I'm not a huge salad person. I never have been. Of course there are parts of salads that I have always loved - the creamy dressing and the crunchy croutons. I kind of thought my days of croutons on my salad were over. I mean, aren't that usually the oiliest thing on your salad (even if you add oil?!)
And then I made them without oil. And holy crap. They're even better than I remember. And this salad? Well this is now a salad that will be served at my house several times a week. That's coming from someone that says she doesn't like salad.
You may remember that traditional caesar salad dressing is made with raw eggs, anchovies and cheese. How the heck did I get around that? Magic. Oh no, wait.. after going through maybe 25 different recipes for vegetarian caesar dressing I threw the concept together and made my adjustments. And here it is. A salad dressing that tastes awesome, creamy, salty, and cheesy - without the bad stuff.
With no oil! So now you can eat some of this lovely salad for dinner and finish it off with some doughnuts for dessert (Maple, Pumpkin Spice, or Peanut Butter?!!) In my mind if you eat a salad - any salad - you can have more dessert. So maybe I will convert and become more of a salad person. Because doughnuts.
If you want it to be even heartier you can add in a can of drained chickpeas for some extra heft! Yum. Or roasted potatoes would be amazing in this. I'm doing that now. As soon as I'm done posting this.
Check out those cute little feet up there.. she's just waiting for some more salad. My kid LOVES those croutons. (ME TOO.. I'm making more today!) She even loves romaine hearts and this dressing. She was eating the dressing with a spoon! (Also she was snitching capers by the spoonful as well. She love food like her mama!)
Vegan Caesar Salad Dressing
- 1/4 cup roasted almonds or hazelnuts
- 1 Tablespoon capers
- 3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 - 2 Tablespoons dijon mustard (use more if you like it spicier)
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 Tablespoons vegan mayo, or more water (the mayo makes it creamier but you can use water. I used my favorite plant strong mayo from this recipe.)
- black pepper and salt to taste
Blend up the roasted almonds or hazelnuts until it is a mostly uniform and fine flour like meal (but not blended until it turns into nut butter!) You can do this in a food processor or high speed blender. Add in the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Add black pepper and salt to taste.
- 4 cups cubed bread, crusts removed (French or Italian bread works great here.)
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix the garlic powder, salt and Italian seasoning together. Toss with the bread cubes.
Place the bread cubes on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until they start to brown slightly (and are dry throughout. You can test that by indulging yourself and eating one!)
Let cool completely before bagging up. They should keep for several days.
To make that salad: chop up about 2 romain lettuce hearts (or one large head of romaine lettuce) and toss with the salad dressing. Start with less at first but don't feel bad if you like to drench your salad in dressing (I accidentally wrote "your self" at first.. you can do that too.. whatever floats your salad!) Add some croutons, some fresh cracked black pepper to taste and eat up!