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Vegan Caesar Salad

Have you heard about Veganuary? It’s a movement which aims to encourage people to try out being vegan for the month of January. I think it’s a great initiative, though a month is a little much in my opinion, as going vegan can be quite the shift/learning curve. How about trying it for a week?!

In case you’ve jumped on the band wagon or are simply looking to try something new, this vegan Caesar salad recipe is on-point. It's crisp and creamy, it tastes just like the real thing! The recipe comes from the Oh She Glows cookbook, which honestly isn't a favourite of mine as I find most of the recipes to be a little too involved. This recipe for example asks you to soak the almonds for 12 hours in advance and wants you to turn on the oven and roast a small bulb of garlic for nearly an hour. What I'm saying is that this recipe takes some time and some forethought, but assuming you have both, like my neighbour and favourite vegetarian, Lisa who made this salad for me, you'll be rewarded with a truly satisfying salad.

Vegan Caesar Salad

For the dressing

½ cup whole raw almonds

1 whole head garlic, for roasting, plus ½ clove garlic, minced (optional)

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

¼ to ½ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt, to taste

¼ teaspoon dry mustard

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the salad

2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped

Make the Dressing: Place the almonds in a bowl and add enough water to cover. Soak the almonds for at least 12 hours, or overnight. Drain and rinse the almonds. Pop off the skins by pressing the base of each almond between your thumb and forefinger. (Removing the skins yields a smoother dressing, but it’s not absolutely essential.)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

Cut off the top of the garlic head so all of the raw cloves are exposed. Remove any loose skin. Wrap the head in foil and place it on a baking sheet. Roast the garlic for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cloves are soft and golden. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes, until cool enough to handle. Remove the foil and squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins and into a food processor.

Add the soaked almonds, oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, dry mustard, pepper, and ¼ cup water to the food processor and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed. Add the minced raw garlic if you’d like the dressing to have a more intense garlic flavor – otherwise, leave it out.

Place the lettuce in a large salad bowl and pour your desired amount of dressing on top. Toss until fully coated.

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