Kale Caesar Salad with Herb Croutons
One of my favorite silver linings of this Coronavirus pandemic is all the home cooking going on. This time at home has allowed us to enjoy the creative and nourishing pleasures of home cooking...and I am so impressed that so many I know (including my lovely daughter) are making bread! #itsnotthateasy When I was recently gifted two beautiful loaves of sourdough, I decided to pass on my umpteenth slice of avocado toast and go back to baking croutons. (hey, I can't say I'm a bread maker but at least I can make a crouton;). Croutons or not, this is hands down the most delicious Caesar Salad ever..and 100% pantry-friendly. We've been eating this on repeat during quarantine. It's another trifecta of comforting, delicious and nutritious.
In the days when I struggled with gut issues, I used to think that a healthy meal could be a traditional Caesar Salad (Romaine lettuce + Parmesan + Bread Croutons). Lots of water, some soluble fiber, dairy and gluten, most of which are hard on the gut and difficult to digest, and frankly not very nutritious. Then came the upgrade...
This version is not only a nutritional upgrade but also a flavorful one as well. When Gwyneth Paltrow made kale chips on Ellen around 10(?) years ago, she made one of the healthiest foods trendy. Romaine lettuce is good (don't get me wrong) but kale is a powerhouse. Loaded with vitamin K & C (just one cup has well over the daily recommendation of both!), kale also contains iron, folate, healthy omega-3, magnesium, calcium, and fiber. If you prefer a gluten-free version (or haven't been blessed with homemade sourdough), swap the sourdough croutons for crispy chickpea croutons (also delish!).
The vegan dressing & parmesan here are only slightly adapted from one of my favorite healthy food bloggers, choosingchia.com, and they ditch inflammatory, difficult to digest dairy, and boast a ton of nutritional benefits. Loaded with healthy fats, protein, and micronutrients including much-needed B-vitamins, it comes together quickly and can be made 100% from pantry ingredients. I hope you'll give this a try and let me know if you missed anything...I dare you.
Kale Caesar Salad with Herb Croutons (v)
1/3 day-old loaf sourdough, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 Tb avocado oil
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp salt
1 TB chopped fresh parsley (can sub with dried)
1 TB chopped fresh chive (can sub with dried)
1) Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2) In a large bowl, toss bread cubes with oil until evenly coated.
3) Combine spices and herbs in a small bowl and sprinkle over bread cubes. Toss well to coat.
4) Spread evenly onto baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until bread is well toasted but still tender in the middle. Cook longer for crispier texture.
Vegan Caesar Dressing
2 TB olive oil
4 TB lemon juice (can be previously squeezed and frozen), can sub apple cider vinegar
2 TB tahini
1 TB Dijon mustard
1 large garlic clove, minced (or sub ½ tsp garlic powder)
2 tsp nutritional yeast
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
Directions: Mix all ingredients well in a high-speed blender.
3 TB hemp seeds
2 TB nutritional yeast
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp kelp granules, optional
For the Salad:
- I head green curly kale, tough ribs removed, washed and torn
(or sub with classically used Romaine lettuce, washed and torn)
- Watermelon radishes, sliced, optional
- Avocado, diced, optional
Directions: Add salad ingredients to a bowl and toss with dressing until well coated. Sprinkle with vegan parmesan and toss again. Top with croutons and serve.
(v) = vegan
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