Vegan Caesar Lettuce Wraps // with quinoa, kale, + tofu

This recipe has been a long time coming.  It’s a recreation of a meal I’ve had half-a-dozen times at a local restaurant, Tasty Harmony.  Tied for my second favorite restaurant in town.  The entire menu is vegetarian friendly, mostly vegan, and also features numerous gluten-free options.  All of the food is extremely fresh, organic, local when possible, etc.  If you’re ever in the area it’s worth checking out.  Order the nachos.  Trust me.

Vegan Caesar Lettuce Wraps // edible perspective

So anyway.  They have a killer vegan caesar dressing that I have yet to fully perfect but eat every single time I’m there.  It’s quite lemony and holds a nice salty-sea type flavor, obviously without the use of anchovies.  I’m thinking they use tofu as the base but for some reason I haven’t asked.  I think I’m too busy inhaling this wrap and then completely forget by the time I polish off my plate. 

I should seriously have a photo of the monstrosity that is this meal.  You’d think I would…

Basically, it’s HUGE.  All of their meals are plentiful.

Vegan Caesar Lettuce Wraps // edible perspective

A brand new discovery: Cast iron skillets are fantastic for crisping tofu!  It took all of 7 minutes to brown the tofu on all sides.  WHY have I not tried this before?  WHYYYY?  And if you keep a well-seasoned pan you barely have to add any oil.  If you have yet to purchase a cast iron skillet I highly recommend it. They cost about $16 [for a 10-inch] and you can use it for nearly everything!  One of my favorite uses is for making cornbread.  

Vegan Caesar Lettuce Wraps // edible perspective

Tasty Harmony serves this wrap on a whole wheat tortilla.  However, they’ll always switch that up and pack it into 2 collard leaves for me, which I absolutely love.  Collard greens make a great, sturdy wrap and the flavor is surprisingly mild.

Today I decided to use butter lettuce for an even milder flavor and for easy packing + wrapping.  Really, you don’t have to wrap it at all.  Just pile it in, loosely fold the sides, then chow down like you’re eating a taco.

Vegan Caesar Lettuce Wraps // edible perspective

This recipe is a bit on the messy side but so worth it.  A definite dinner contender and perfect for lunches throughout the week.  The quinoa, kale, and tofu mixture holds up really well with the dressing.  Just pack a tortilla, whole green leaves, or chopped greens [to eat as salad] for work and you’ll be good to go.

Or, you can definitely eat this mixture all on its own!

Vegan Caesar Lettuce Wraps // edible perspective

You’ll really want to load up on the dressing here, as the quinoa soaks it in.  You could also spread extra on your wrap or greens before adding the mixture. 

Delicious hot or cold, whichever you prefer.

Vegan Caesar Lettuce Wraps // edible perspective

Print this!

Vegan Caesar Lettuce Wraps gluten-free, vegan // serves 3-4 hearty portions

  • 1 batch vegan caesar dressing
  • 1, 14oz package non-GMO extra firm tofu
  • 1 head lacinato/dinosaur kale
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa, lightly packed
  • 2-3 teaspoons safflower/sunflower oil
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • sun-dried tomatoes
  • salt + pepper
  1. Slice tofu in 1/2-inch thick slabs and spread in a single layer in between two, doubled-over kitchen towels.  Place a large cutting board overtop and stack a few books on top to press out the liquid for 20-30 minutes. *Tofu pressing details.
  2. De-stem the kale, stack the leaves and chop into thin ribbons.  Measure 3-4 cups and place in a mixing bowl with the cooked and chilled quinoa.
  3. After pressing the tofu, preheat a 10-inch cast iron skillet over med-high heat with about 2 teaspoons of oil.
  4. Cube the tofu into 1/2-inch pieces and place in the skillet once hot.  Season lightly with salt + pepper.
  5. Let brown for about 2-3 minutes and then toss a few times until browned on all sides.  About 7-10 minutes total or longer if desired.
  6. Once the tofu is done, let fully cool then place in the bowl of quinoa and kale. 
  7. Add desired amount of dressing and toss together until well-coated.  Add salt + pepper as desired and chill in the fridge until ready to serve.  Add the avocado and sun-dried tomatoes and toss with more dressing as it will have absorbed some in the fridge. 
  8. Place in a lettuce or tortilla and serve with extra dressing on the side.

notes/substitutions:  If wanting to serve this warm/hot, add the quinoa and kale mixture to the skillet over med-low heat after browning the tofu.  Toss with the caesar dressing, avocado, and sun-dried tomatoes until hot.  Add more dressing as needed.  I used about 3/4 of the dressing recipe when making this.  Feel free to sub chickpeas or cubed tempeh instead of tofu if desired.  Fresh tomatoes are also a great addition in the wrap.  Romaine lettuce can be subbed the kale if desired.

Vegan Caesar Dressing gluten-free, vegan // yields ~1 1/4 cup

adapted slightly from: vegan asparagus caesar salad

*I lightened this recipe from my original by using chickpeas and cashews, instead of only cashews.  Feel free to use 1/2 cup cashews instead of the combination, but don’t use all chickpeas as it will be more like hummus than dressing.

  • 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked
  • 5-6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3-2/3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2-3 teaspoons gluten-free tamari/soy sauce
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon agave/honey/sugar
  • 3/4-1 teaspoon stone ground mustard
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 of an 8x8 sheet of sushi nori
  1. Rinse + drain your chickpeas and soaked cashews and place in a high-speed blender with 5 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/3 cup water, tahini, 2 teaspoons tamari, garlic, agave or honey, 3/4 teaspoon mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
  2. Blend until fully smooth, scraping the sides as needed.  Add more water as needed to thin to desired consistency.
  3. Crumble 3/4 of an 8x8 sheet of sushi nori and blend into the dressing.
  4. Taste and adjust flavors as necessary adding more lemon, tamari, pepper, and/or the last 1/4 sheet of nori if desired. 
  5. Refrigerate for about 5 days.  Dressing thickens as it sits.  Thin out with water/lemon juice/olive oil as needed. 

notes/substitutions:  Nori is crucial for the sea-like flavor.  You may be able to use those little seaweed snack packs as a substitute here, but watch as they typically contain a lot of sodium.  This is a taste as you go dressing, so add more of each ingredient slowly. 

Vegan Caesar Lettuce Wraps // edible perspective

And if tofu isn’t your thing, chickpeas or tempeh are an excellent substitute.  You can cook either in the skillet the same way as the tofu until browned on all sides.

Meal replication complete!! 

Ashley

Just wanted to share this zoomed out view while I was photographing the wraps.  Majorly overcast/snowy day!

Vegan Caesar Lettuce Wraps // edible perspective