Thursday 16 January 2014

NCR Vegan caesar salad

I am so over this heatwave.  Hopefully tomorrow will be the last of the run the 40 Celsius days.  Meanwhile it is well and truly salad weather.  I tried a Caesar Salad tonight.  It is not something I have ever eaten.  Experimenting was fun.  And yummy.

I will have to let the picture of the tempeh bacon speak for itself.  I am currently one of the recipe testers for Ricki Heller's new cookbook that is due out late 2014.   It is exciting to be helping Ricki and making some of her amazing recipes but I will have to wait til the cookbook is out to share more details.

However having some tempeh bacon was the inspiration to finally make a Caesar Salad.  It has been on my to do list far too long.

I think a Caesar Salad interests me but has never been top of the list of foods I must eat.  Too many egg, bacon and anchovies.  And not that many vegetables except lettuce.  Which is not my favourite vegetable.  But I had an iceberg lettuce in the fridge.  It would do.  And I had found a tofu omelet I loved last year.  I modified it to use up some silken tofu.  (See mixture above)

It wasn't the quickest of meals (though perhaps quicker than breakfast this morning when I had to bring in last night's washing before it got really hot, dealt with Sylvia's grumpiness and helped the new next door neighbour who locked himself out of his home!).

I did love all the exciting components in it.  Even the croutons were exciting because I used some of my own sourdough bread and some garlic infused olive oil I recently bought.

Once everything else was ready I finally made the dressing, using two recipes and some intuition.  It was surprisingly good.  Quite sharp with mellow undertones.

What I have isn't a recipe but a list of components.  We have leftover lettuce, dressing and omelet.  Now I just need the heat to abate so I can bake a nice loaf of bread and make snadwiches.

I am sending this salad to Lisa for No Croutons Required, a vegetarian soup and salad blog event co-hosted with Jacqueline.  After seven years of giving us themes, our hosts have opened the event to any vegetarian soup or salad. 

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago:
Leon Superfood Salad
Two years ago: What vegetarian is that?
Three years ago: CC Nigella's Sugar Roasted Peaches
Four years ago: Cheese and Almond Loaf
Five years ago: Curry traditions – of sausages and potatoes
Six years ago: Scrumptious Sugarfree Slice

Caesar salad

Vegie bacon bits (such as tofu bacon or tempeh bacon)
Croutons (see below or for a gf salad make polenta croutons like lisa's)
Chopped tofu besan omelet (see below)
Caesar dressing (see below)

Arrange lettuce, vegie bacon, croutons, omelet in a large salad bowl or in individual bowls.  Drizzle over the dressing and serve.

3 small slices of bread (preferably stale)
2-3 tbsp garlic infused olive oil

Chop bread into dice sized chunks.  Heat oil in a frypan over medium heat.  Toss bread through oil and cook for 5 to 10 minutes until starting to brown in a few spots and crisp up.  Reduce heat to low and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes to crisp through.

Caesar dressing:
Adapted from My New Roots and Where's the Beef

2 tbsp cashew butter
1 clove garlic, choped
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 tbsp tamari
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp capers
1/2 tsp dulse flakes (optional)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup water

Blend all ingredients except the water.  Gradually add water until you have a pouring consistency.  (I think mine could have been slightly thicker as it lost some of the creaminess but was still good with 1/4 cup of water.)

Tofu besan omelet
adapted from here

300g silken tofu, drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon mirin
6 tbsp besan (chickpea flour),
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion granules
1/2 tsp sea salt
pinch black salt
1-2 tsp canola oil, for frying

Blend tofu, olive oil and mirin in blender.  Transfer to bowl and mix in remaining ingredients.

Heat heavy bottomed non-stick frypan over low heat and swirl around 1 to 2 tsp of oil to cover the pan.  Pour in the thick batter and use the back of a spoon to swirl it around the pan (I think my omelet was about 22 or 23cm in diameter).  Cook for 10 minutes on low heat and then cover with a large saucepan lid and cook another 10 minutes on low heat.

Use an eggflip or spatula to loosen so it slides around the pan.  Carefully flip (or slide) onto a dinner plate and cool in the fridge until required.  Leftovers can be used in sandwiches.

On the Stereo:
The Folk Songs of Britain: Vol 5, Child Ballads II


  1. This is great Johanna! So creative to use the tofu omelet and tempeh bacon. I never tried Caesar salad pre-vegan so don't really know how it's supposed to taste but your version definitely appeals.

    1. Thanks Emma - I don't know how caesar salad is meant to taste either - but I am pretty sure I would prefer this one to a traditional one

  2. And people ask where vegans get their protein from????? ;-)

    1. Thanks Sandy - I did feel like this was packed with protein but not many vegies (had to remind myself they were vegie based proteins)

  3. I've never made any type of caesar salad at home so I am really impressed you did this version and vegan at that! I never really had it growing up so it's not something I miss but I definitely like the sound of your vegan omelette as a more appealing alternative than egg equivalents.

    One day left of your heat wave, I think?! Fingers crossed that is IT for you now.

    1. Thanks Kari - the vegan omelette is delicious - had the remains in a wrap with lettuce and the dressing with tomato and grated beetroot. Am very pleased the heat wave is over - that is quite enough for this summer indeed!

  4. That sounds and look seriously good Johanna. I will have to try this. I have a classic Caesar that I have perfected and make often, but it's always fun to try variations.

    Thank you for sharing with NCR. Your support over the years is highly appreciated.

    1. Thanks Lisa - I love the look of your caesar salad with polenta croutons - that would be an easy way to make this gluten free. (will link to it in the post to remind myself). Glad NCR is still going strong!

  5. You guys have had such hot weather! We see it on the news all the time. I tried tempeh for the firs time ever the other day. It wasn't bad! Hubby loathes the stuff, I'm not sure why. I think he was forced to eat it growing up.

    1. Thanks Lorraine - the weather last week as crazy - though I shouldn't complain too much as we have had lots of nice mild weather - I find tempeh hit and miss but if cooked the right way it is delicious. I highly recommend my tempeh corn soup as one of my fave tempeh recipes

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  7. I hope it gets cooler for you soon.
    BTW love the typo "snadwiches" - or is this a new word?

    1. Thanks Pene - would love to claim I was inventing cool new words but maybe I can just blame the heat for my typo :-)

  8. Nice dressing, I must try that. Oh my mouth is watering!

    1. Thanks Jac - the dressing is delicious - we had the cool change on Friday night and ate vegies drizzled in dressing outside - heavenly!

  9. Can we trade?! Here is 3 Celsius, but sunny and foggy. Mmmm, vegan caesar salad - that prob looks and sounds yummier than the one at Veggie Grill. Congrats being one of the recipe testers for Ricki Heller’s new cookbook, I can’t wait to see more of her test recipes! The croutons look lovely esp the creamy caesar dressing - total miam!


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