Is it weird to tell you I had low expectations for this vegan caesar salad? I just wasn’t sure if it would all come together. I didn’t know if the dressing would taste smokey enough but still recognizably like caesar dressing, while also being vegan. I also wasn’t sure if the grilled cauliflower steaks would work on a salad. But at the same time I couldn’t get the idea for this recipe out of my head. So, I gave it a go.
This post is sponsored by Earthbound Farm.
Good news! It worked! And now I’m totally obsessed with this dressing. It’s by far my favorite vegan caesar dressing to date. It’s the perfect mix of chipotle + caesar flavors. And the creaminess comes from tofu instead of cashews in this version.
I love how cauliflower is one of those vegetables that’s in season in the summer and winter. It’s one of our favorite veggies around here, especially when we need a break from broccoli. There are so many uses for cauliflower these days, too. From pizza crust, to cauliflower-rice, to sauces, buffalo cauliflower bites, and probably things I don’t even know about. My love for this crunchy white vegetable is endless.
Over the years, we’ve tried to add more + more organic foods to our shopping cart. I won’t deny the difference in price, but buying organic leaves me with peace of mind about what I’m putting into my body on a daily basis. When we started shifting our diet (many years ago) and stopped buying as many packaged + processed foods but upped our organic produce intake, our grocery bill didn’t really change. It’s amazing how those convenience items added up! I rely heavily on fruits + vegetables in my diet, and I like to know they’re as healthy + safe as possible for my body and the environment. This is exactly I've come to love Earthbound Farm and their commitment to being 100% certified organic.
These days, to keep costs down I look for recipes that I know use less expensive produce and other grocery items. I also save the fancy produce for special meals, watch sales at a few different stores, use coupons, and also look for ingredients that are in season for the best deals.
Fun health fact! Did you know cauliflower rich in vitamin C? We usually think of citrus as being loaded with vitamin C, but in just 1 cup of cauliflower you’ll get 77% of your daily value.
Now go make this salad + eat it outside!
Chipotle Vegan Caesar Salad with Grilled Cauliflower Steaks
yields: 3-4 large salads // gluten-free, vegan
for the cauliflower:
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil (or other high-heat cooking oil)
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 2-3 tablespoons chipotle adobo sauce
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 large head cauliflower
- salt + pepper
- 1 1/2 cups chickpeas, rinsed + drained (plus oil, s+p for grilling)
for the dressing + salad:
- 1 cup “soft” silken tofu
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 medium clove garlic, peeled
- 1 1/2 - 3 teaspoons chipotle adobo sauce
- 2 teaspoons Braggs liquid aminos (or gluten-free tamari)
- 2 teaspoons drained capers
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- salt, to taste
- 1, 5oz package Earthbound Farm Kale Italia (baby kale, chopped lacinato kale, etc.)
- 1 medium head romaine lettuce, washed, chopped + dried
- lemon wedges
Drain tofu in a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl or the sink. Or, spread on a doubled over kitchen towel and let drain for about 10-15 minutes. (Don’t press on the tofu, just let it drain.)
Whisk together cauliflower marinade ingredients: oil, lime juice, adobo sauce, and garlic powder. Set aside. Place washed cauliflower head on a cutting board stem end down. Starting in the center and chopping straight down, cut about 3/4-inch thick steaks. Usually I get about 3 that hold fully together. Keep as many of the steaks in tact as possible. Cut away some of the stem + leaves, while still keeping the steaks in tact. Smaller steaks are also fine (see photo below). Avoid chopping into florets.
Preheat your grill to 400° F and place cauliflower on a large-rimmed baking sheet. Pour on the marinade. Gently rub on all sides. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.
While the grill preheats, place tofu, oil, vinegar, lemon, garlic, 2 teaspoons adobo sauce, braggs, capers, dijon, and pepper into your blender. Blend until smooth. Taste. Add more salt (not more braggs), pepper, and/or adobo sauce if desired. The dressing should have a noticeable chipotle flavor but still taste very much like a caesar dressing. Place dressing in a sealed jar in the fridge.
Place steaks on your grill for about 10-15 minutes, until starting to lightly char and become tender. Toss chickpeas with oil and a sprinkle of salt + pepper. Place on a grill pan and grill until golden brown, stirring a few times, 15-20min. Remove once done. Flip cauliflower and grill another 10-12 minutes. Test with a fork for doneness.
While steaks grill, prepare your greens. Mix romaine and Kale Italia at a 1:1 ratio (in a large bowl or individual servings). Once cauliflower is done, place on each salad while warm and to with chickpeas. Shake dressing, then pour on and serve with a lemon wedge.
Other serving methods: 1. Mix greens with the dressing and serve with cauliflower, chickpeas, remaining dressing, and lemon on the side. 2. Chop cauliflower and toss with the salad, chickpeas, and dressing. Serve with lemon.
To roast cauliflower and chickpeas in the oven: Place both on a separate baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Roast cauliflower for about 10-15 minutes per side, until tender and golden brown on both sides. Roast chickpeas for about 25-30 minutes, until golden brown, turning a few times.
Today’s post is sponsored by Earthbound Farm. Product opinions are always my own. If I didn’t love it, you wouldn’t hear about it.Thank you for supporting the occasional sponsored post that helps fund all the deliciousness + behind the scenes action you see here.