Saturday, July 4, 2009

Vegan Caesar Salad

Normally when I make a vegan recipe I don't actually call it "Vegan So-and-so," as the term "vegan" is apt to turn some people off. But in the case of caesar salad, I think it is relevant. So many people happily eat caesar salads their whole lives without thinking about what is actually in that mysterious, tangy dressing. Well some of us are perfectly happy to eat it, even knowing what's in it. I, for one, am not afraid of anchovies. Where I draw the line, however, is the raw egg.

I know, I know. I'm sure it's perfectly safe. And it's never stopped me from tasting cookie batter. But the idea of eating salad with raw egg dressing...well, it just doesn't appeal to me. And my husband is vehemently anti-anchovy. Hence, the vegan caesar salad to keep everyone happy.

I was really happy with how this recipe came out - creamy, tangy dressing with none of the guilt or fear of salmonella. The flavors are fabulous, and with the quality romaine and asparagus that I used from my CSA bag this week, the salad just had that extra special something.

We had this for our 4th of July dinner, and there's an ice cream sundae with my name on it as soon as I finish this blog entry...if there are typos, you'll know why.

Vegan Caesar Salad
adapted from Veganomicon
serves 3-4 (you'll have leftover dressing)


1/3 cup slivered or sliced blanched almonds
2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
3/4 pound silken tofu
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon capers
4 teaspoons caper brine
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 slices whole wheat bread

cooking spray
1 bunch thin asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
freshly ground black pepper


1. Make the dressing: pulse sliced almonds in a food processor until crumbly and set aside. Blend garlic, tofu, and oil in the processor until creamy and smooth. Add lemon juice, capers, brine, sugar, and mustard powder, and pulse until blended. Pour into the container with ground almonds and whisk to combine. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.

2. Make the croutons: Preheat toaster oven (or oven) to 400. Whisk together the olive oil, minced garlic, and lemon juice until well combined. Cut the bread into cubes and toss the cubes in the oil mixture until fairly well coated. Place bread cubes on foil-lined baking sheet and bake until crispy and brown, about 12 to 14 minutes, tossing a couple of times during the baking process. Set aside to cool.

3. Heat a small skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Saute the asparagus pieces until just cooked, about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.

4. Assemble the salad by putting lettuce and asparagus in a large bowl. Pour on about 1/3 cup of dressing (or however much you like) and toss well. Add croutons and toss again. Serve.

Yes there are a lot of ingredients and a few complicated steps, but it's actually really easy, and will please even the anchovy and raw-egg haters in your family. Enjoy!


  1. A "cool" 4th July lunch!

  2. This is interesting. I make a great caeser salad dressing with both egg (i coddle it so it is not totally raw) and anchovies. I may have to try this one to see how it compares.

    And you are so right, so many people eat this their whole lives and love it without knowing what is really in it, but they swear up and down that they hate anchovies!