When I graduated from eating chicken tenders every single day of the week, I moved on to chicken caesar salads. I couldn't get enough of them; crispy fresh lettuce, creamy dressing, crunchy croutons. It was always satisfying and I thought probably the most healthy meal on a menu at any restaurant; I mean how could you mess this up, just lettuce, a creamy dressing, and some bread? However, I quickly learned about my dairy allergy (dressing was out!) and I made the mistake once at a restaurant and forgot to tell them to hold the anchovies. I couldn't get the anchovy taste out of my mouth for what seemed days and I completely lost my appetite and appeal for these salads.
It wasn't until I discovered just how amazing tahini was and these chickpea kale caesar salads from my favorite juice/food place here in Boston, Cocobeet, that I ordered almost every other day. I knew I had to make my own because my wallet was hurting since I craved them so much! Plus, they are so simple to make, the tahini caesar dressing takes just about 5 minutes to mix together and the savory dressing is not only dairy free but pairs so perfectly with veggies, chicken, or salmon!
All you need is romain lettuce, chopped up kale for the base, a few ingredients for the dressing, and some homemade croutons that take just about 5 minutes! I personally think that my favorite part about the caesar salad when I would order it was the croutons. The more the better and it probably defeated the purpose of ordering a salad, but now you can have a healthier homemade option!
From start to finish it will take you about 20 minutes and you will have left overs for the week. It is perfect to take for lunch or a quick dinner. You can add grilled chicken or toss some chickpeas in olive oil/your favorite spices; roast them in the oven until crispy and top the salad with them!
Yields 3 or so servings
Total time: 20 minutes
1 large bundle of kale (5 cups)
1 large stem of romain lettuce (2-3 cups, chopped)
optional add ins:
Caesar Salad Tahini dressing:
1/2 cup tahini
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
juice of 1 lemon
1-2 tbsp. mustard
dash of garlic
sea salt AND pepper to taste
Water to thin to desired consistency
*Makes about 1 1/2 cup depending on the thickness
(Using your favorite bread, I used sprouted bread for easier digestion)
2 slices of bread, cut into cubes.
Sea salt, pepper, paprika
Wash, dry and cut/break the kale and the romain lettuce into pieces and add them to a large mixing bowl.
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Cut the bread into cubes.
3. Lightly toss the cubes with 1 tbsp. of olive oil or melted coconut oil in a bowl.
4. Add your favorite spices. I used sea salt, pepper, paprika
5. Bake until crispy; about 5 or so minutes.
Caesar Salad Tahini Dressing:
1. Add all of the ingredients in a bowl, except the water.
2. Mix until well incorporated & taste test. [add more pepper, garlic, etc to your liking]
*At this point the dressing will be thick, start by adding a small amount of water to thin the dressing to desired consistency. If you add too much water, add more tahini to thicken the dressing.
*Makes about 1 1/2 cup and will last in the fridge for a week.
In the large mixing bowl, add the dressing and the croutons. Toss the salad and serve.
The croutons will become soft, if there are left overs re-heat the croutons in the oven either on broiler for a few minutes or at 425 degrees for 5 or so minutes.
Add grilled chicken, hemp seeds or toasted chickpeas for protein or keep it plain.
The dressing will last in the fridge for about 1 week. It goes great with veggies, on top of fish or chicken.