Friday, May 25, 2012

Veg-ed-Out Holiday Weekend Salads

Last night I whipped up the most incredible vegetarian Caesar dressing.  Seriously.  I licked the whisk.  I was feeling inspired partly by the incredible salad from Blossom Cafe.  (New Yorkers, get on that.)  I was also prepping for my weekend potluck.  The plan is a trifecta of vegan salads.  First off, Caesar with crispy strips of chick'un and home-made croutons.  Second to the table, my grandma's potato salad.  Vegan-i-fied.  Duh.  And thirdly an Ambrosia salad.  Yeah, I know you're laughing at that one.  So retro, right?  Well, it's a "Cheeky Tiki Luau" BBQ that we're attending and I figured an assemblage of pineapple, mandarin oranges, flaked coconut and boatload of veg marshmallows was barking up the right tree.  In case you too are in need of a Memorial Day weekend side salad, I'm going to share my recipes!  Numero uno:

Leave the Animals Alone, Caesar!  Salad.

romaine (chard or dino kale if you wanna health-en it up)
vegan chicken (seitan or soy protein)
capers (lots and lots of them)
day old bread, cut in 1/2" cubes
minced garlic and olive oil for frying
Non-dairy Parm Cheese
1/2 cup blanched almonds
3-4 teaspoons nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup soy based sour cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
3-4 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced capers
2-3 teaspoons caper juice
1 teaspoon agave surup (or other sweetener)
a pinch of salt and dash of black pepper

- Prepare the dressing first, even a day or more in advance is okay.  You want the dressing to have some time to sit, let the flavors mix together and get all delicious.  The dressing is pretty simple.  Stick the ingredients in a small bowl, whisk.  Donez-o.
- Wash your leafy greens, dry, chop.
- Cook up your faux meat according to the manufacturer's instructions.  Allow to cool and slice in to bite size strips (if necessary).
- Crouton time!  Throw garlic and oil in a pan, let 'em heat up.  Toss in the bread cubes, let them get all oily.  Toast each side, turning carefully, not stirring!  Remove from the pan, let cool.
- Moving to caper frying!  Pat capers dry and add them to a pan of hot oil.  Fry until the capers open up  "like flowers" and look all crispy-yum-o.  Let them drain and cool on a paper towel.
- In a large bowl, combine romaine, chick'un and dressing.  Stir it up good.  Top with parm and capers, add the croutons just before serving (so they stay crisp).  Ta-da!!!  Eat it up!

Photo by Meg at Wellsphere

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