Get your garlic on ☺. Like most foodies I can’t get enough of garlic — especially the pungent/robust varieties like Red Russian garlic. Whether it’s raw or roasted, flaked or minced into a paste, garlic is undoubtedly a culinary gem. The other night I was craving a garlic rich dish and Caesar salad immediately came to mind. According to a quick google search Caesar salad is “a salad of romaine lettuce and croutons dressed with parmesan cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, egg, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and black pepper”. I would certainly shift garlic to its rightful position as first on the list so with that in mind I set out to create a show-stopping Caesar salad with garlic swagger (but not too much swagger of course). Today I’m thrilled to share my recipe for Vegan Caesar Salad with Homestyle Croutons and Coconut Bacon.
When it comes to Caesar salad it’s all about the croutons and dressing. Without question, the croutons needed to be home made. All you need is fresh baguette (or any bread really), olive oil, garlic powder and salt and you’re set. In just 30 minutes or less you can whip up golden, crispy croutons with that just-right amount of garlic. For the dressing I experimented with a few different ingredient combinations, including white wine vinegar and Dijon mustard, but found the winning formula using hummus and white miso. For those not familiar miso it’s a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji (rice, barley, millet or hemp seed among others). White miso is achieved by using mostly rice koji (about 60% organic white rice) and soybeans. Shiro miso is white or light gold in colour and is the lightest and sweetest variety. Hummus is a natural fit for Caesar salad. The creamy blend of tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic makes it an ideal base ingredient for this dressing….unparalleled to other alternatives I tried. Enter lots of smashed garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and Himalayan pink salt into the mix and you’ve got a Caesar salad dressing with serious garlic swagger that’s sure to WOW your dinner guests.
After a few rounds of testing I found the best way to incorporate savoury parmesan cheese was to let it shine as a salad topper (vs blended into the dressing). The finale to this recipe is the coconut bacon topping (vegan of course!). I’ve been looking for the perfect occasion to use my YamChops® Own Coconut Bacon we bought at a health food expo and this was it! Crunchy coconut flakes packed with smoky and salty flavour (and a delicate maple flavour to boot) this addition of bacony goodness elevated the salad from great to WOW. If you don’t have store bought vegan coconut “bacon” here’s a great recipe I thought I’d share. Move over bacon bits, there’s a new player in town 😏.Once you’ve thoroughly combined the dressing and romaine add a few generous pinches of parmesan cheese, top with coconut bacon flakes and reserved lemon zest. Garlic lovers rejoice – you definitely want to try this showstopper salad. Paired with a side of our Cream of Celery Soup you can’t go wrong with this classic soup and salad combo.
Vegan Caesar Salad with Homestyle Croutons and Coconut Bacon
- 1/Prepare one batch of Savoury Parmesan Cheese
- 2/Prepare one batch of Homestyle Croutons (recipe below)
- Small baguette (200-300g)
- Olive oil
- Garlic powder
- Himalayan pink salt
- Lemon peel (30g)
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled (5g)
- 1 tsp mustard seeds (5g)
- 1 Tbsp fresh oregano (<5)
- 2 tsp lemon juice (10g)
- 1 packed tsp Shiro miso (white) (10g)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil (20g)
- 1/3 cup hummus (85g)
- 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (5g)
- 1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt
- 2 Tbsp warm water (30g)
- 1 head romaine lettuce (keep washed romaine leaves chilled until you begin assembly)
- Savoury parmesan cheese (Qty to your liking)
- Coconut bacon (or similar) (Coconut flakes, tamari sauce, maple syrup, hickory smoke, sea salt & pepper)
- 1/Tear baguette into crouton-size pieces. Lay on a parchment paper-lined baking tray.
- 2/Drizzle olive oil over the torn baguette. Sprinkle a generous amount of garlic powder and salt.
- 3/Bake at 410F for 30 minutes (turning every 10 minutes) or until golden and crispy.
- 1/Add lemon peel to your Thermomix mixing bowl. Chop 5 sec/Speed 7. Transfer the lemon zest to a small prep bowl; set aside.
- 2/Add garlic cloves, mustard seeds and fresh oregano to the TM bowl. Chop 5 sec/Speed 7. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl to collect he minced garlic at the base of the bowl. Important: Insert the butterfly whisk attachment to the Thermomix mixing blade before starting Step 3
- 3/Add lemon juice, miso, olive oil, hummus and Worcestershire sauce to the TM bowl. Whisk 25 sec/Speed 4.
- 4/Add half of the reserved lemon zest, salt and warm water to the TM bowl. Whisk 25 sec/Speed 4. Your dressing is now ready! Important: Remove the butterfly whisk attachment from the Thermomix mixing blade before starting Step 5.
- 5/Transfer prepared salad dressing to a medium size mixing bowl. Add torn romaine leaves to bowl and combine well to ensure dressing is incorporated well. Garnish with parmesan cheese, coconut bacon and croutons. Garnish with remaining lemon zest (optional). Serve immediately~
- Amano Foods® Shiro Miso (white)
- YamChopsTM Own Coconut Bacon
Note: This recipe was made using a Thermomix appliance; however, it can easily be adapted using similar food prep tools (e.g. multi-function processor, immersion blender etc).