My stepfather is known for making amazing from-scratch caesar salad dressing, and despite his omnivorous diet, he’s very open to trying vegan recipes and vegan alternatives to his own recipes. He and I brainstormed a veganized caesar dressing a while back that used vegan mayo. I’ve been adjusting it since then to get it down to more whole-food ingredients. This dressing has a pinky-eggplant colour due to the kalamatas.
When I have it on hand, I like to add some vegan parmesan to this dressing. Galaxy brand makes a soy-based parmesan that smells and tastes amazingly like the real thing and is a nice addition to the dressing, or you can sprinkle it over the plated salad. However! This dressing is fantastic and complete without the parmesan, so don’t worry if you don’t have any around.
Yields 6-8 servings (or 2-4 if you LOVE caesar salad!)
- 1 large head romaine lettuce, washed and torn into large pieces
- 1 large ciabatta roll (or focaccia, ficelle, part of a baguette, etc)
- 1 teaspoon rosemary
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper
- Caesar Dressing:
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 4-5 cloves garlic (more if they’re small)
- 1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard
- Juice of one lemon
- 8-10 kalamata olives, pitted
- Optional – 1-2 teaspoons of vegan parmesan
Preheat oven to 300. Cut ciabatta into large cubes (about 1.5 inch). Place in large mixing bowl and sprinkle with rosemary, salt, and pepper, then drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Spread onto a cookie sheet and bake at about 300 for about 5 minutes until toasted – keep an eye on them.
Blend all dressing ingredients together (I prefer using an immersion blender and blender cup but a food processor works too). Taste and adjust to your liking: add lemon to make it brighter and more zesty, olives or dijon to add richness, or olive oil to tone the whole thing down a bit.
Place the lettuce in a large bowl, pour dressing over, and toss well to coat. Add croutons and give it a couple more tosses to combine. Serve immediately.
Note: If you’re not sure you’ll eat the whole salad right away, I suggest only combining a portion of the ingredients. That way, you can keep the prepped lettuce, croutons, and dressing separate in the fridge and have a fresh perfect caesar again the next day!