A good Caesar salad is comprised of a few key elements: crunchy Romaine lettuce, pungent garlic, acidic lemon, salt- usually provided by anchovies and Parmesan cheese- and richness, courtesy of fresh egg yolks and olive oil.
Since raw eggs yolks are generally considered a no-no when you’re expecting, I decided to attempt a recipe that omitted them. That was easy enough, but once I got started, I thought- if I can easily skip the yolks, how much trickier would it be to make this vegetarian? Or even… vegan.
Anchovies, Parmesan and egg yolks needed to be culled from the classic Caesar recipe. The egg yolks weren’t missed nearly as much as I expected, since the dressing is emulsified with olive oil anyway. Anchovies and Parmesan are both quite salty, so I would need something to fill in there.
Anchovies are also umami-powerhouses, so that had to be considered as well. My first tests of a totally vegan Caesar dressing included a small spoonful of kelp powder, which worked a treat, but as the recipe continued to evolve (and take a turn for the Southwest), I didn’t find it as necessary (especially considering how few people have kelp powder lying around the house- first and foremost, I like my recipes to be accessible).
Smoky, spicy chipotle, sweet roasted corn, crispy-on-the-outside soft-on-the-inside cornbread croutons, avocado for richness and texture. It’s still the creamy, garlicy, salty, crunchy Caesar you love… just different.
Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free, since the cornbread recipe included below is also gluten-free (what can I say, I was on a roll. Once I had tackled vegetarian and vegan, it only felt right to keep going.) I am none of those three things, yet this recipe is one I will continue to fall back on again and again.
Despite including a chipotle, this dressing isn’t terrible spicy. Flavourful? Yes. Spicy? Ehhhh… it has a little kick, but not a big one. If you like a bigger kick, use two peppers instead of one.
Vegan & Gluten-Free Cornbread Recipe via Minimalist Baker
Classic Cornbread Recipe via Port and Fin
|Chipotle Caesar Salad with Cornbread Croutons|| |
- Chipotle Caesar Dressing:
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo
- 1 head roasted garlic
- 2 small cloves fresh garlic, crushed
- 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp capers
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 lemon, juiced
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ¾ cup olive oil
- 1 loaf cornbread*
- 1 head romaine lettuce, rinsed and torn
- 1 avocado, sliced
- ¼ cup corn niblets, roasted**
- Blend all dressing ingredients except olive oil together using a blender or immersion blender. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil to emulsify the dressing and bring everything together.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice cornbread into 1 inch cubes. Lay in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 5-8 minutes (watch this closely), until lightly browned and crispy.
- In a large bowl, toss romaine with dressing. Sprinkle liberally with roasted corn and avocado.
Vegan + GF: http://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-cornbread-for-two/
** Great use for leftover corn on the cob, simply cut the corn niblets off the cob. If using frozen niblets, toss with 1 tsp melted butter and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.