Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Vegan Kale Caesar Salad

April is one of my favorite months- when the earth begins to peak through and show signs of life, the sun comes out of hiding and buds magically appear on trees. However, it can be a bit of a tease as well. With all of these hints of summer, all I want is fresh-from-the-field vegetables, and yet we are still a  month or so away. This salad is my compromise. Using the baby kale that is coming out of the early season greenhouses as well as stored cabbage and radishes from last fall- it hints at summer without the full commitment.

This dressing is one of my favorites. Every time I throw this myriad of slightly-obscure ingredients into the blender and come out with a disarmingly accurate vegan rendition of caesar dressing, I surprise myself all over again. I made this with the 5th and 6th graders at Moretown Elementary last year and was shocked out how well it was received, despite watching their twisting faces as we filled the blender. A great example of a product that is a million times better than the sum of it's parts. The original recipe pairs it with the traditional romaine-crouton-parmesan trio, so feel free to go in that direction if you prefer.

Vegan Kale Caesar Salad
Serves 6


2 Tbs. tofu
1 large clove garlic, peeled
1/2 sheet nori, toasted and crumbled
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 Tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 ½ tsp. miso
1 ½ tsp mustard
1 ½ tsp capers
1/2 tsp tamari
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

1 cup brazil nuts
1 garlic clove, minced
pinch of salt

1 head of kale, or about 6 cups baby kale
2 cups shredded cabbage, red or green
1/2 cup red or daikon radish, in slivered half moons
1/2 cup currants, or other dried fruit of preference
1/2 small red onion, minced


Combine all dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.

To make the Parmesan, combine Brazil nuts, garlic and salt in a food processor. Pulse for one minute. This part is optional- don't let it stop you if you don't have the brazil nuts on hand. A great substitute is raw almonds, if you prefer. 

To serve, toss kale through red onions in a large bowl with dressing, using just enough to coat. Top with Brazil Nut Parmesan, if using. Due to the hearty greens in this salad, it actually stores well and can be made in advance if necessary. 

Relax. Eat Well.