Before becoming plant-based, my favorite salad of all time was a Caesar salad. In fact, 90% of the time, I ordered Caesar salad at my favorite restaurant. Once, while on vacation, I ordered my first grilled Caesar salad. Since becoming vegan, I learned to make a Skinny Vegan Caesar Salad, which I love, as well as my Vegan Kale Pasta Caesar Salad, but I had forgotten about grilled caesar salad, and since I had already mastered the Caesar dressing, I figured a grilled caesar salad recipe was in order.
Typically, Caesar salad is made with Romaine lettuce, and croutons dressed in a dressing made of lemon juice, olive oil, egg, Worcestershire sauce, anchovies, garlic, Dijon mustard, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper. In its original form, this salad was prepared and served tableside.
Obviously, typical is not what we vegans are all about, so let’s make a grilled vegan caesar salad!
Because a grilled salad adds an element of elegance as well as a smoky grill flavor, this very quick and easy Caesar salad is a great way to add a little “fancy” to your dinner.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE GRILLED CAESAR SALAD DRESSING
Since I was craving grilled caesar salad, I chose to make my Skinny Vegan Caesar salad dressing, which is made with raw cashews. So, if you are avoiding nuts or you have an allergy, I do strongly suggest Maple Grove Farms Fat-Free Caesar Dressing. If you desire a raw dressing, and you eat nuts, you will LOVE this dressing:
VEGAN CAESAR DRESSING (MAKES 3/4-1 CUP)
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight, drained
- 1/4 cup water + 2 Tablespoons
- 3 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 small garlic clove (you can add another if you like it super potent)
- 1/2 Tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce (I used Amy’s)
- 2 teaspoons capers
- 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt and pepper, or to taste
WHAT KIND OF LETTUCE SHOULD I USE FOR MY GRILLED CAESAR SALAD RECIPE?
Even though there are a variety of types of Romaine lettuce, you are looking for small, tightly packed Romaine lettuce. Unlike other salads, you are not going to wash and tear the lettuce away from its core. Instead, you simply wash the lettuce, attached to the core, and shake it to remove any excess water.
Once washed, the lettuce is cut down the center lengthwise, leaving the core in place. Then, drizzle with fresh lemon juice and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
HOW TO GRILL ROMAINE LETTUCE
You need Romaine Lettuce to grill, but DO NOT separate the leaves. I bought organic lettuce. Wash without removing the leaves.
- Cut the entire head the long way in half.
- Turn the grill on medium heat.
- This process is quick; 2 minutes on the cut side only, and you need to watch it.
- Most recipes call for brushing it in oil, but you don’t need oil at all.
- Washing the lettuce gives it what it needs to be grilled without the oil.
- You are going to place it directly on the grill rack, or you can use a grill mat.
- Serve with tomatoes and croutons or any of your other favorite toppings. This is one of my favorites!
HOW TO MAKE HOME-MADE CRISPY OIL-FREE GARLIC CROUTONS
- 4 slices Oil-free Multi-grain bread (or any bread of choice) FROZEN; gluten-free bread also works
- 1/4 cup aquafaba (chickpea fluid) or almond milk will work as well
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 3 teaspoons garlic salt
- 2 cloves minced, fresh garlic
- Freeze four pieces of bread
- Place aquafaba in a small shallow bowl and use a basting brush to brush both sides of each piece of frozen bread
- Cut each piece of bread (while frozen) into strips and then equal sized 1/2 inch cubes, or smaller, depending on what size you prefer
- Place damp, frozen bread cubes a large ziplock bag or bowl
- Combine seasonings, and add slowly to bag bread and shaking gently
- In a Non-Stick Pan for Oil-Free Cooking, add fresh minced garlic and cook for 1 minute
- Add all bread cubes, and cook on low
- Allow the croutons to cool for several minutes before flipping with a spatula.
- Continue to cook until crispy and crunchy.
- Remove from heat.
- Allow cooling
- Move to a bowl for serving; leave uncovered until serving.
*Do not cover; the croutons will get moist in a covered container, and get mushy. If you have leftovers (which never happens at my house), you can cover them later, and the croutons have been left out for an hour or so.
OTHER POSSIBLE VEGAN GRILLED CAESAR SALAD INGREDIENTS
Of course, there are always other ingredients you can add to your grilled caesar salad to make it even tastier:
My husband, Paul, said, “I could eat this every day,” so it is husband approved!
LOVE SALAD AND WANT TO ADD MORE GREENS INTO YOUR PLAN? CHECK IT OUT!
- Lentil Salad
- Tabouli Salad
- Vegan Taco Salad
- Italian Chopped Salad
- Vegan Quinoa Salad
- Roasted Cauliflower Salad
- Fattoush Salad
- Harvest Salad