Who doesn’t love a good Caesar salad? Unfortunately, most Caesar salads contain anchovies and eggs. The good news is it’s incredibly easy to veganize Caesar salad.
I refer to this as Caesar-ish because I don’t want to be bound to the strict Caesar salad rules. In my unprofessional opinion, you can still have a Caesar salad without slimy fish and dairy products.
What Makes a Salad a Caesar Salad?
I was under the impression that Caesar salad was inspired by Roman cuisine. I was completely wrong! I felt like an idiot when I found out it originated in Tijuana. Caesar Cardini is credited with the creation of the Caesar salad. He operated restaurants in Mexico and the United States. According to legend, Cardini created the salad during a 4th of July rush at his restaurant, Caesar’s. The traditional Caesar salad included: whole romaine leaves, Italian olive oil, parmesan croutons, crushed garlic, salt, Dijon mustard, black pepper, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, anchovies, and coddled eggs.
Julia Child claimed to have eaten Cardini’s Caesar salad during an outing with her parents. According to Child, Cardini himself made the salad table-side. You can read more about the origin story here! Many varieties of Caesar salad exclude eggs and anchovies, so I feel a little better calling my salad a Caesar salad. Some restaurants swear by capers while others never stray from Cardini’s first recipe.
- Romaine hearts.
- Extra virgin olive oil, preferably a higher quality olive oil.
- A lemon, you only need half!
- Tempeh (optional).
- Crusty bread for croutons (optional).
- Vegan mayonaise.
- Nutritional yeast.
- Dijon mustard.
- Kosher salt.
- Vegan-friendly steak sauce or Worcestershire sauce.
- Black pepper.
- Garlic cloves or minced garlic.
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You Know the Drill…
Okay, so here’s the recipe rundown. You guys know how to put together a salad, but I’ll tell you anyway. I sauté and season tempeh. If I want croutons, then I tear up crusty bread and toast the bread pieces in a pan with some olive oil and rosemary. I wash the romaine and give it a rough chop. I prepare the dressing by blending the ingredients in a food processor. You can use a blender or a whisk. At this point, I’m ready to plate the salad. I place the tempeh and croutons on a helping of romaine and drizzle the dressing along with some capers. This recipe serves 2 and you can prep the components in advanced. This can be a main dish or a side item. That’s all there is to it!
Vegan Caesar-ish Salad
For the Dressing
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp vegan mayo.
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.
- 1 tbsp steak sauce or vegan Worcestershire sauce.
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast.
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt.
- Black pepper to taste.
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard.
- Juice from half a lemon.
- 1/2 tbsp minced garlic.
- 2 hearts of romaine chopped.
- 1 tbsp capers.
- 4-8 oz prepared tempeh.
- 1 cup of dairy-free croutons optional.
- If you are wanting croutons and/or tempeh, prepare these items first. Season the tempeh however you like and cook it over medium heat until crispy. It’s a similar process for croutons. Cut or tear bread and roast or pan fry until golden brown.
- Wash and dry romaine hearts. Roughly chop the lettuce and set aside.
- In a food processor, combine all of the dressing ingredients. Blend until smooth and add crushed black pepper.
- Place the lettuce in a bowl or bowls and mix in the capers. Add the dressing, tempeh, and croutons and give the salad a toss.
- Eat, eat, eat!