Growing up, I used to loooove Caesar Salad. Crunchy croutons, salty parmesan and creamy and oh-so-dreamy dressing. What not to love? After switching to a plant-based, gluten-free diet, I absolutely had to come up with a healthier alternative for my beloved salad. So this is how the recipe for my Vegan Caesar Salad was born.
Traditionally, caesar salad is made with lettuce, croutons, parmesan cheese and a creamy caesar salad dressing. I’m going to show you how you can easily make a healthier version for each of these ingredients at home. Well except for the lettuce. Lettuce is pretty awesome as is. ?
If I’m feeling lazy (which happens waaaay too often), I just make the dressing and mix it with whatever greens I have at home. Don’t be afraid to switch it up once in a while. Kale, spinach, arugula, mixed greens. They all worked great in this recipe.
For the dressing, I use my Homemade Vegan Mayo, but feel free to use a store-bought kind to cut down the preparation time.
These gluten-free croutons are da bomb dot com. According to my baby sister, they taste like pizza which is pretty much the biggest compliment you can get from her. ?? I think they make a lovely, crunchy addition to salads and soups. If you don’t want to make the croutons in the oven, simply toast your gluten-free bread and cut it into cubes.
I know, I know. This Vegan Parmesan is not exactly “cheese”. But hey it’s salty and it’s cheesy and it adds an awesome texture to salads. I’m personally a big fan. Like I mentioned in the video, pine nuts are not really a budget-friendly ingredient. So feel free to omit the nuts and just use nutritional yeast instead.
Oh, I almost forgot about bacon. A lot of people like adding bacon bits to their caesar salad. And yes, it’s true. You can actually make vegan bacon using coconut flakes. Just google “vegan coconut bacon” and you’ll find tons of recipes. I personally never have been that fond of bacon. What a weirdo, right? ? So I decided not to include it in this recipe. Also, putting liquid smoke in my food scares me. Have you used it before? To me, it just seems like something that doesn’t belong on my plate.
- 2 heads of Romaine lettuce
- 2 cups gluten-free bread, cubed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp oregano
- ½ tsp basil
- 1 cup pine nuts
- 1½ tbsp nutritional yeast
- ¼-1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup vegan mayo
- 1½ tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tbsp water
- 1½ tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- salt and pepper for seasoning.
- Preheat oven to 325F/160C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the bread into cubes. In a medium bowl, combine bread, olive oil, oregano, basil and salt. Mix well making sure that all bread cubes are evenly covered with oil.
- Spread the bread cubes on the baking sheet in one layer and bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, toss the cubes and return to oven for another 5 minutes.
- To prepare Vegan Parmesan, combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times. Make sure to not over-process the mixture.
- For the dressing, place all ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth.
- When you're ready to assemble the salad, cut the lettuce and place in a large bowl. Add croutons, parmesan and the dressing and mix well.
- Serve immediately. If you plan on eating the salad later, store the dressing separately from the rest of the salad.