I am going to give you the recipe to this yummy, scrummy, Smoky, Garlicky Vegan Caesar salad with crunchy delicious chickpea croutons ..but first I have to tell you little story. (What . You can't wait? Well...the button there's a button right over there that will take you to the recipe)
Anyhooo... Vanessa & I were having a debate about which order to post a series of scrummy new recipes we've created. You see every couple of weeks we get together in The Vegan Larder test kitchen (aka my scruffy little cottage kitchen) and cook, laugh, debate, taste and photograph a whole lot of dishes that we're experimenting with.
We use our in house tester (aka The Gardener) as a taste guinea pig, and he gives us valuable feedback to our dishes. We also sometimes take our creations out into the world and force feed our colleagues, our neighbors and our friends and beg for critiques. We then approve & any that have passed the muster then get photographed and we write up the recipe and accompanying notes, the ones that fail get sent back to the kitchen for re-think.
This means we have a selection of recipes pretty much nearly ready to go at any one time, however it also means that sometimes we can't decide which one to go up first. Usually this is decided by the weather, season or by what we have just posted or needs to be posted soon (we like to mix up what we give to you)
However, this time we had two equally delicious recipes, and both had a valid argument to be posted first, and so- I took the debate to Instagram stories and created a (not terribly scientific) poll between this recipe, and a delicious Chocolate & PistachioTart.
Guys- we REALLY thought the tart would win.
We were wrong. So very wrong.
75% of you wanted this Smoky, Garlicky Vegan Caesar salad recipe! - I mean. WOW.
75% of YOU, our readers want SALAD? Not chocolate?
I can't blame you really. I mean this salad is full of the good stuff. Smoked tofu that's been grilled, crunchy chickpea croutons, all backed up with the soft bite that comes with a good cos lettuce. Yum.
And that dressing. MMMMMM... Guys, seriously. It. Is. The. Bomb.
Creamy from tahini, loads and loads of garlic. The tang of capers.. a hit of lemon..Whew. It's quite probably one of my fave dressings. Ever.
This recipe makes more dressing than you will probably need. But that's a very very good thing. Keep it in a jar in the fridge and use it to jazz up any other salad you can think of. Or dip leftover lettuce leaves in it while standing at the fridge door and scoff. (I did. I have no shame)
Smoky, Garlicky, Caesar Salad with Chickpea Croutons
For the Dressing
- 3 Tbs tahini
- 2-3 tsp capers finely minced/smashed
- 1 Tbs Caper brine the liquid that the capers comes in!
- 2-3 Tbsp lemon juice, (or to taste) around ⅓ lemon
- ½ tsp maple syrup (or coconut nectar)
- 3 Tbsp fresh minced garlic 4-5 cloves
- warm water to thin as needed
For the Croutons
- 1 tin chickpeas drained
- 1 Tbs smoked paprika
- 1 Tbs garlic powder
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- pinch salt
For the Salad
- 1 head Cos Lettuce Washed, dried & torn to bite size pieces
- 1 pack (200g) smoked tofu sliced into 1cm slices
- 3-4 Tbs chives and parsley- chopped optional, but pretty and tasty
For the Chickpea Croutons
- Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas mark 4
- Drain the chickpeas and tip onto a baking tray
- Drizzle over the oil, paprika and garlic powder. Add a little salt. Mix them all around well so all the chickpeas are covered in the oil & seasoning.
- Bake for 20 mins, then stir and put back in the oven. Bake for a further 15 mins or until crispy. Depending on the day & your oven you might need to bake longer. Keep stirring until the chickpeas are crispy but avoid burning them.
For the Salad Dressing
- In a jar with a lid, mix together all the ingredients and shake well.
- Add a little water and mix- add more if needed so the dressing is creamy, yet pourable.
- Taste the dressing. Add more salt, lemon juice or maple syrup to balance the flavours as needed
For the Salad
- Brush a griddle or fry pan with a tiny bit of oil. Griddle or fry the tofu on each side
- Tear the lettuce. Then on a nice plate arrange the lettuce & tofu. Sprinkle with herbs. Drizzle over the dressing and toss some chickpea 'croutons' over.
- Serve with extra dressing on the side.