Total time: 15 minutes
I rarely put the word “vegan” into a recipe because that would get tedious. But the reason I’m using it now is that I want to stress that this is a classic vegan Caesar. Not a classic Caesar, but a salad that vegans have been making for as far back as, I don’t know, the 1980s? The legend goes that some vegan awoke from a long VCR’ed Dynasty marathon, with a yearning for garlic and nutritional yeast… and the vegan Caesar was born.
When translating a Caesar salad, you want to capture the tanginess, the creaminess, the umami and the garlickyness. Vegan versions are all over the map, I’ve even published several kinds of Caesar, but this one is three things that cooks love to hear: quick, easy and simple!
The tahini is the creamy base, lending also an irresistible nuttiness. Nutritional yeast and dijon mustard provide the umami tang, and if your mustard is whole grain you get some texture, too. And then there’s garlic! This dressing is kept easy so that there’s no need to break out the blender, just a coffee mug and a fork will do. Use my tip below for a very lazy method of garlic prepping.
As for accoutrement, well, avocado and chickpeas are certainly my go to. But you can do it up in a gazillion different ways. Here are some of my favorite additions: toasted pine nuts, capers, olives, a handful of cooked quinoa, sliced baked tofu (from a package is fine), sliced warm Chickpea Cutlets (or any chicken-y thing), garlicky sourdough croutons, vegan bacon, (deep breath…ok, proceed), tempeh (Chimichurri or Garlicky Thyme), grilled seitan, grilled asparagus, grilled portobello, roasted squash. See? It’s really fun and versatile. And it will get you totally excited about salad! So crimp your hair, protest Reagan and get ready for some classic vegan deliciousness.