Gluten Free, Salad, Side, Winter

VEGAN CAESAR WITH SMOKY NUT CRUMBLE

So this started as a ripped page from Food&Wine. The piece was called All Well & Good, covering Sakara, the fancy plant-based meal delivery service popular in the Los Angeles area. The ladies who own it contributed a few recipes and their Kale-and-Brussels Sprout Caesar Salad intrigued me, so I kept the page in the side pocket of my car (where all keepsakes and important paperwork are best stored). Caesar is the historical origin of my love of salads. As a teenager, my Dad and I used to go on dates to the Chart House solely for a visit to their salad bar with freshly tossed Caesar and a slice of Key Lime Pie. So I got to it the other day. The only way to purge torn out recipes is to try them and eliminate I suppose. I started tinkering as soon as I made their crumble (the gluten free / dairy free sub for croutons in the classic). They called for sweet paprika, I stock smoked. The crumble seemed a little dry, so I added a drizzle of oil to help it clump a bit. The dressing called for half an avocado which I also didn't have so I subbed in cashew butter and water and then ended up merging with the Oh She Glows Caesar recipe which I love as well and here we are. I understand this is more a recipe for a dressing than a stand alone salad but I think it can take additions well. And I forget that sometimes salads don't need to have a bunch of stuff in them to still be good. If you have the ingredients, your food processor is already out for the dressing so you might as well make the crumble for intrigue. It takes minutes. I added some leftover grilled salmon to my bowl, or Hugh has been using the dressing as a sandwich spread. This makes way more crumble than you will need for the salad and I've been sprinkling it on top of roasted vegetables for an interesting finish. It has a cheesy flavor from the nutritional yeast and a bacon-y tone from the smoked paprika...I mean that in a good way. I'm going to make the salad for friends later this week and plan to add some crispy garbanzo beans on top like Angela does with the crumble for more crunch. Anyway, below is where I landed, and hopefully it can be a staple for you too. 

VEGAN CAESAR WITH SMOKY NUT CRUMBLE // Serves 4-6
Recipe adapted from Food and Wine and Oh She Glows

I keep my nutritional yeast in the fridge. It lasts longer this way. You can buy it online or at any health food store. If that sounds fussy to you and you don't care about the vegan element here, you can use finely grated parmesan in it's place for both the crumble and dressing. 
I use a food processor but a high-powered blender such as a Vitamix works great too. The dressing will keep a week covered in the fridge. 

crumble
3/4 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup hulled hemp seeds
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 tsp. smoked paprika (or sweet is fine if you don't want the smokiness)
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. sea salt, to taste
 

dressing
1/2 cup cashew butter
1/3 cup water
1-2 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. capers
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. vegan worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. nutritional yeast
4 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (I may have used a little more but I like it lemony)
pinch of fresh parsley leaves
1/4 tsp. sea salt and pepper to taste

1 head of romaine, chopped
1 large head of tuscan kale, stemmed and chopped

Make the crumble. In a food processor, pulse all the ingredients until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. It should start to stick together a little bit. Transfer the crumble to a bowl and wipe out the processor.
For the dressing, into the processor, puree the ingredients until smooth. Taste for salt and pepper. Add a splash of lemon juice or water if it looks too thick. 
Place the chopped greens in a large bowl and drizzle desired amount of dressing. Toss to coat. Serve with a sprinkle of the crumble on top. 



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