Chipotle Vegan Caesar Salad with Grilled Cauliflower Steaks

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.

Grilled Cauliflower Caesar Salad | Edible Perspective

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.

Chipotle Vegan Caesar Salad with Grilled Cauliflower Steaks | Edible Perspective

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.

Chipotle Vegan Caesar Salad | Edible Perspective

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.

Cool stuff.

Now go make this salad + eat it outside!

Chipotle Vegan Caesar Salad | Edible Perspective

Print Recipe!

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.

Chipotle Vegan Caesar Salad | Edible Perspective

Happy Friday!


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.

Spring Vegetable Quesadillas with Quick Smoky Salsa

It all started with these pretty spring onions.

Spring Vegetable Quesadillas with Quick Smoky Salsa |
Spring Vegetable Quesadillas with Quick Smoky Salsa |

And then it was the vibrant green asparagus standing tall in a shallow pool of water.

The cauliflower got me next. 

I wasn’t sure all of these ingredients really belonged together, and I had no recipe in the works when I bought them.  I did, however, have quesadillas on the brain.

But…asparagus and cauliflower in a quesadilla?  Why not?

Spring Vegetable Quesadillas with Quick Smoky Salsa |
Spring Vegetable Quesadillas with Quick Smoky Salsa |

I truly had no idea what to expect, but I just went with it.  The veggies were only lightly seasoned to let their natural flavors come through, but I knew they’d need a topping with a bit of a kick.

So while they roasted away I made salsa in 5 minutes.

Smoky salsa to be exact.  And holy moly is it delicious.  And, FIVE minutes.

Spring Vegetable Quesadillas with Quick Smoky Salsa |
Spring Vegetable Quesadillas with Quick Smoky Salsa |

After tossing the veggies for the second time I couldn’t help but think they needed a bit more substance.  I contemplated beans.  Black beans?  Garbanzo?  Leave as is?

I decided on garbanzo beans and gave them a light mash so they would better hold in the quesadilla but was still on the fence if this recipe was actually going to come together.

Spring Vegetable Quesadillas with Quick Smoky Salsa |
Spring Vegetable Quesadillas with Quick Smoky Salsa |

I knew it couldn’t be that bad with all of the fresh veggie goodness but would it be something you’d want to eat again + again?  Upon taking that first bite would you think, “YESSS!!!!” ? 

Spring Vegetable Quesadillas with Quick Smoky Salsa |
Spring Vegetable Quesadillas with Quick Smoky Salsa |

You probably know where this is going since you’re seeing the recipe but oh my worddid these exceed my expectations!

Spring Vegetable Quesadillas with Quick Smoky Salsa |
Spring Vegetable Quesadillas with Quick Smoky Salsa |

The perfect chewy, cheesy, veggie combination all highlighted by the smoky salsa. 

This is my new go-to meal for spring.

Spring Vegetable Quesadillas with Quick Smoky Salsa |
Spring Vegetable Quesadillas with Quick Smoky Salsa |

Print this!

Spring Vegetable Quesadillas with Quick Smoky Salsa

gluten-free // yields 4, 10-inch quesadillas

for the filling:

  • 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 bunch asparagus, about 20 stalks – medium thickness
  • 1 3/4 cup garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 spring onions thinly sliced, white/purple bulb portion only – ends trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon mild chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt + black pepper
  • 8, 10-inch tortillas
  • finely grated sharp cheddar cheese, 8-10 ounces

for the salsa: medium-hot spice

  • 2 spring onions roughly chopped, about 1/4 cup - white/purple bulb portion only – ends trimmed
  • 1 1/2 medium cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 1, 15oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, liquid drained
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, deseeded
  • 1 roasted red pepper, deseeded
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon pure cane sugar

Preheat your oven to 425* F. 

Thinly slice the cauliflower florets about 1/8-inch thick.  Snap ends off the asparagus then slice the stalks in half lengthwise.  Place the cauliflower, asparagus, onion, oil, and spices on a large baking sheet and toss to coat.  Spread in an even layer and roast for 15 minutes.  Toss again then roast for 12-15 minutes.  Lightly mash the chickpeas with a fork then toss them into the veggie mixture and roast another 4-7 minutes.  Remove pan from the oven when veggies are golden brown.

While the veggies roast place the onions and garlic in a large food processor.  Turn on until minced.  Scrape the bowl and add the tomatoes, chipotle peppers, red pepper, lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon sugar.  Pulse until ingredients are combined and peppers are evenly distributed throughout.  Taste, and if desired pulse in 1/2 teaspoon more salt and sugar and/or another squeeze of lime.  Store in a sealed jar in the fridge until ready to use.

Place a 12-inch pan or skillet over medium heat and lightly grease.  Place a tortilla in the pan and sprinkle with an even coating of cheese [all the way to the edges].  Place a single [but dense] layer of the veggie mixture over top and another even layer of cheese.  Place the tortilla on top and let cook until golden brown, 5-7 minutes.  Place the palm of your hand on the top tortilla and a large metal spatula under the bottom tortilla.  Flip and place in the pan, cooking until golden brown.

Place cooked quesadilla on a cooling rack for 2-3 minutes [to firm] then chop into slices on a cutting board.  Top with salsa, avocado, sour cream, peppers, etc.


notes: If you can’t find spring onions I would recommend using regular green onions/shallots instead.  Use only the white part and you’ll need about 5-6 for the filling and 3-4 for the salsa.  If you can’t find fire roasted tomatoes regular diced is fine but you’ll lose a bit of flavor.  If your asparagus is very thick you’ll want to slice it lengthwise into quarters.  I used these gluten-free tortillas.

Spring Vegetable Quesadillas with Quick Smoky Salsa |
Spring Vegetable Quesadillas with Quick Smoky Salsa |

So now you know the story of how the spring vegetable quesadillas came to be.  So crazy, I know.

Happy new week!