This grilled caesar salad is charred to perfection, drizzled with a creamy and tangy dressing, and topped with vegan bacon bits, seasoned croutons, and thinly sliced red onion. It's sure to be a hit at any dinner party.
Grilled Caesar Salad [Vegan, Gluten-Free]
For the Dressing:
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in boiling water
- 1/4-1/2 cup reserved soaking water
- 2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 heaping tablespoon vegan parmesan
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 nori seaweed sheet, very finely ground (optional)
- 2 teaspoons capers, rinsed
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Kosher salt to taste
For the Bacon Bits:
- 1 cup boiling water
- 3/4 cup textured vegetable protein (TVP)
- 1 vegetable bouillon cube
- 1 1/2 tablespoons liquid smoke
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (tamari if gluten-free)
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 5-8 tablespoons canola oil
For the Salad:
- 3 heads of romaine lettuce, cut in half lengthwise
- Vegan croutons
- Red onion, thinly sliced
- TVP Bacon
To Make The Dressing:
- Soak the cashews for 4-6 hours or overnight.
- In a high-speed blender, place all the ingredients, except for water, and pulse them until they're very smooth with no remnants of cashews. If the dressing is too thick, add 1/4 of reserved soaking water and blend it again.
- Add the water until dressing is to the consistency of your liking.
- Add salt and pepper to taste before setting it aside.
To Make the Bacon Bits:
- In a mixing bowl, add the dry TVP.
- In a small saucepan, heat the water and bouillon cube until it comes to a boil.
- Add boiling seasoned water to the TVP and let it rehydrate for 10-15 minutes.
- Once it's rehydrated, add liquid smoke, soy sauce, and salt and mix it thoroughly.
- In a pan on medium heat, add TVP mixture and simmer it until the remaining liquid has cooked out.
- Slowly add 1 tablespoon of oil at a time while you continue to mix TVP mixture.
- If mixture becomes dry, add another tablespoon of oil.
- Continue to mix this until the TVP bits become dark brown and crispy – about 20 minutes.
- Transfer this to a paper towel-lined plate and set it aside.
To Make the Salad:
- Grill romaine lettuce on each side until it's charred, but still cool on the inside, about 2-3 minutes per side.
- Transfer the grilled lettuce back into the refrigerator to cool for 10-15 minutes before you assemble your salad.