THE VEGAN CAESAR

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I think I speak for most when I say the Caesar salad is a fan-favourite. Though, ever since I began my journey through holistic nutrition and vegetarianism, I’ve shied away from it. Going back to basics, I wanted to re-create classic; one that is just as easy to make, higher in nutritional value, and free from animal products.

You might be wondering what on earth the vegan “Parmesan” crisps taste like, because they sure don’t look anything like real cheese. Let me tell you, they’re pretty cheesy! Made from sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, nutritional yeast, and lemon, these crunchy cracker-like additions are high fibre {both soluble and insoluble}, packed-full of vitamins B & E, and a source of omega-3, iron, zinc and antioxidants.

Perfect served on it’s own or as a side dish, this Caesar will definitely be my go-to summer BBQ salad.

The Ingredients {Yield: 5 side servings Total Time: 1 hour}

Salad

  • 2-3 heads romaine lettuce, washed and hand torn into pieces
  • 1/2 loaf bread of your choice, cut into small squares {I used: rye sprout bread}
  • splash olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried herbs
  • fresh lemon slices, for garnish

Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons vegenaise
  • 1 heaping tablespoon dijon mustard
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, cut in half
  • fresh cracked s&p

Vegan “Parmesan” Crisps

  • ¼ cup raw sunflower seeds, finely ground
  • ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds, finely ground
  • ¼ cup flax seeds, finely ground
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

The Directions

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F and take out two large baking sheets. Set aside

2. Combine all vegan “Parmesan” ingredients in a bowl and stir until fully mixed {the dough will be very thick, like cookie batter}

3. Grab a large piece of parchment paper about 20 inches wide and shape dough into a ball and place in middle of parchment. Fold over parchment, like a book, then roll dough between the two pieces of parchment until it’s as thin as you can get it

4. Fold away top half of parchment and cut or rip it away. Keeping cheese on bottom sheet of parchment, place on a baking sheet

5. Bake for 1 hour, take out of oven and remove parchment paper. Break up cheese into chunks and place directly on baking sheet. Return to oven to cook for another 20 minutes, or until crisp

6. While the cheese bakes, place bread squares into a separate bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Mix to coat the bread and season with s&p. Spread squares on baking sheet and cook for 15-17 minutes, until desired crispiness. Remove from oven and finish with a sprinkling of herbs. Allow croutons to cool

7. During the time the cheese and croutons bake, make the dressing by putting vegenaise, dijon, lemon juice, and garlic into blender and mix until all ingredients are combined

8. With the blender still running, slowly pour in olive oil. When done blending, pour dressing into a bowl and season with s&p. Dressing keeps for a few days in the refrigerator

9. In your serving bowl, add in half the romaine lettuce and spoon in two tablespoons dressing, gently toss. Add the other half of romaine and repeat. Adding more dressing as desired

10. Lastly, remove cheese from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet for 15 minutes. Finish salad by placing both crisps and croutons on top. Garnish with fresh lemon slices and cracked pepper

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