Recipe Difficulty: Easy, just read the post well for all my tips for success.
I get a strong craving for this recipe every so often and it doesn't go away until I make it! It is definitely one of the more indulgent salads in my repertoire and not something I'd recommend eating everyday. I like lots of dressing, lots of coconut bacon, and a good amount of vegan cheese.
The Caesar dressing could also be called a "bright garlicky caper dressing", because it does taste different than the non vegan Caesar dressings I have made in the past, but I really do love it. It is made by blending together vegan mayo (I use vegan Hellman's mayo or I make my own), capers, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, nutritional yeast, garlic, salt & pepper. So simple. It's super garlicky but that is what I like. It is also bright and punchy from the capers and red wine vinegar which for me is perfect. It will be very thick, but just toss your salad well to distribute evenly. This dressing will keep in a container in the fridge for a long time. I often double the recipe so I have it when the craving strikes.
The coconut bacon is sweet, smoky, salty and so addictive. I don't hold back while adding it to my salad. I like lots, the salad NEEDS lots. To make the coconut bacon, you just toss the ingredients together, spread on a baking sheet and bake in the oven. When it cools the bacon will crisp up. I really can't stress enough, the salad dressing needs this ingredient to balance the bright tartness happening. Add some coconut bacon, and when you think it's enough, I'd probably add some more. This salad is indulgent, so make it without holding back and enjoy it.
You can see below the coconut bacon before and after being baked in the oven. Notice how I keep it into an even shape, no straggly bits of coconut hanging out on their own along the edges. When I toss it a few times while it's cooking, I form it back into this shape. This prevents the pieces from burning along the edges, although the edges will darken first.
I just use whatever bread I have kicking around, but sourdough would be lovely. Rip it into bite size chunks roughly the same size. Toss with vegetable or a good quality olive oil , salt & pepper and bake in the oven at 350°F. Stirring occasionally until golden brown and crispy. If they taste more like toast than a crouton, you probably didn't add enough oil. (It happened to me once, I just drizzled a bit more oil on my toast-like croutons when they were out of the oven and they seemed to just absorb the oil and tasted great in the end. Not really a tried and true method but I would do it again.) You can always buy croutons at the store, I have yet to find vegan ones at the shop near me, but the one below doesn't have dairy ingredients listed. I like Ace products so I'd love to try them.
I use vegan shredded mozza in this recipe, certain brands work well and honestly remind me more of parmesan, vs other brands are softer and meltier and not what I would choose here. A few brands that work are Emborg, Vio Life & Presidents Choice. Parmela Creamy has a shredded mozzarella that for example doesn't work in this recipe, because it's convincingly mozza like. I love it for pizza and other applications.
You can use straight up chopped romaine for classic Caesar salad vibes, but I personally really do like to add in some shredded kale to my chopped romaine. I like shredding it because kale is quite fibrous. If you chop it too big it is harder to chew. I know straight up kale Caesar salad is a thing, but I definitely like using a combination because of the fresh crunch romaine lettuce gives. I often use romaine hearts, and used somewhere between 2 - 3 for the amount of dressing.
**The coconut bacon recipe is adapted from Avant Garde Vegan.
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Hey! I'm Trisha