How to Turn Bean Boiling Water into a Sparkling Vegan Caesar Salad | Food

A A good Caesar salad is an important part of any chef’s repertoire, but such an iconic dish needs a twist to make it your own. Today I’m sharing a plant-based version from my cookbook, Eating for Pleasure, People & Planet, made with a variety of nutritious bitter leaves in place of the more boring traditional iceberg lettuce, some seaweed, and salty capers to give it a touch of the sea as an alternative to anchovies and grated walnuts to replace the parmesan in the original. The real hero ingredient, however, is the by-product aquafaba, or bean cooking liquor, which makes great mayonnaise and even better Caesar dressing.

Plant-based Caesar salad

This is one of the most popular recipes in Eating for Pleasure, People & Planet. The aquafaba Caesar dressing gives it a really silky, rich and smooth texture that really hits the spot. Leafy greens (white, red, pink, and purple) see us through the coldest months of the year with nutritious, colorful, and tasty ingredients that stand up to seriously cold temperatures, making them a good source of nutrition, including vitamins A and C and minerals in form of iron, potassium and calcium. Nurseries and specialist farmers are now growing more varieties, from old heritage varieties to new colorful hybrids, including variegated purple and green kale, magenta fingers of Tardivo and radicchio la rosa del Veneto, a ruffled, pastel pink chicory. Experiment with different seasonal vegetables to personalize your salads.

And what better way to put stale bread to good use than baking croutons? Save energy by frying them over medium-low heat instead of blasting them in the oven.

serves 2

For the salad
2 gem
100 g wild sea kale
50 g dandelion leaves
5 grams of seaweed
Soaked in cold water for 10 minutes, then drained
4-6 walnuts
1 pinch
kala namak (black salt)or sea salt, at the end

For the croutons
1 clove of garlicpeeled and ground into a paste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 slices of stale whole wheat sourdough
(or other bread), cut into long sticks

For the dressing
4 tbsp aquafaba (i.e. canned chickpeas)
1 small clove of garlicpeeled and ground into a paste
2 tbsp capersdrained
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (Optional)
Extra virgin olive oil
– You need between 100 ml and 200 ml
The juice and zest of half an unwaxed lemon
1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce

First prepare the dressing. Place the aquafaba, garlic, capers and nutritional yeast, if using, in a food processor and puree until smooth. With the engine running, pour in extra virgin olive oil in a very slow, steady stream, just as you would when making mayonnaise, until the mixture emulsifies and takes on the consistency of double cream. Mix in the lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce, then set aside.

For the croutons, mix the garlic and extra virgin olive oil in a bowl. Add the breadsticks, toss in the garlic oil until well coated, then season generously with salt. Place a skillet over medium-high heat and cook, turning occasionally, until the bread is golden brown all over, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

To make the salad, mix the leaves, seaweed, croutons and capers in a bowl, drizzle with the dressing and turn only once or twice to allow the bright colors of the leaves to show through. Serve immediately, sprinkled with generously grated walnuts and a little kala namak or sea salt.

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