I’m willing to bet that beans and kale aren’t the first ingredients that spring to mind when you just read the title of this post. But why not? This version uses beluga lentils (B-L) and sun-dried tomatoes, all on top of baby kale and piled high with portobello bacon. To tempt you even more, this recipe uses my super-secret salad dressing base that has no oil and can be adapted gazillion ways. For example, for a Mexican version, add lime juice and a chipotle in adobo to the cashew, garlic, and broth base. Do the same with Harissa paste for zippy version. The list is endless. Besides using it as a salad dressing, you can also use it as a sauce. Let’s start with that dressing, because even if you never make the salad, it’s worthwhile to have to have this recipe in your toolbox. Boiling the cashews softens them, making it easier to blend them, but eliminating a long soaking period.

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BLT Salad [Vegan]

Serves

4

Ingredients

Super-Secret Salad Dressing (Chive Version)
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • about 1 cup water
  • 1 clove garlic (or more)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
BLT Salad
  • 1 cup black beluga lentils
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 3 tablespoons minced sun-dried tomatoes
  • Pinch dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • Fine sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 cups shredded baby kale
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/4 jicama, peeled, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 recipe portobello bacon (see below)
  • 1 recipe Super-Secret Salad Dressing
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Preparation

Super-Secret Salad Dressing (Chive Version) Yield: 1/2 cup dressing
  1. Bring the cashews, garlic, and water to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes then drain. Put the cashews in a small blender (I use the bullet style) and add the remaining ingredients. Process until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings by adding salt, pepper, or more vinegar for acidity.
Tips: Think of this as a blueprint. This recipe is ripe for adapting. For example, proceed as above but omit the chives, shallot, and celery salt. Use onion and herbs of choice instead. Try using red wine vinegar (or other) instead of the apple cider vinegar. Add sriracha, ginger, and a touch of peanut butter. And so on! BLT Salad
  1. To make the portobello bacon, follow the directions for shiitake bacon here but use 7 ounces (2 large portobello caps), stems and gills removed, cut into 1/8 inch thick slices. The rest of the recipe remains the same.
  2. Put the lentils, onion, sun-dried tomatoes, thyme and broth in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer. Simmer 25 to 30 minutes, or until tender. Drain off any remaining liquid. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Toss together the kale, bell pepper, celery, and jicama in a large bowl. Put 1/4 of the salad mixture on a plate with the cherry tomatoes on the side. Put 1/4 of the bean mixture along the side also. Top the salad with 1/4 of the portobello bacon. Drizzle with dressing as desired. Serve with toasted French bread, if desired.

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