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Lodge Vegan Caesar Salad

Time 15 minutes
Yields Serves 8
Lodge Vegan Caesar Salad
(Mariah Tauger/Los Angeles Times)
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This totally plant-based version of Caesar blends nutritional yeast with miso and tahini to make it as delicious as the original and combines lemon juice and cider vinegar to balance the richness. And as with the standard, raw garlic brightens the mix with its sharpness.

Vegan Caesar Salad

1

Combine the garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, vinegar, miso, olive oil, salt, pepper and 1/4 cup ice-cold water in a blender. Puree on medium-high speed until smooth, scraping the bowl as needed. With the machine running on medium speed, add the tahini in a steady stream. Blend until emulsified. Taste and add more salt if you’d like.

2

Drizzle the dressing over the romaine in a large bowl. Toss with your hands until evenly coated. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast and cracked black pepper, then top with croutons and herbs if using. Serve immediately.

Homemade Sourdough Croutons

1

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2

Cut the bread with its crust into cubes slightly larger than the crouton size you like. I prefer 1 1/2-inch cubes because they’ll shrink to an inch after baking. Spread the cubes in a single layer, leaving some space between them, on a half-sheet pan or other rimmed baking sheet. Bake until dry, firm and golden, 10 to 20 minutes. The timing depends on how dry your bread is to begin with.

3

Put the pan on a rack and push all the bread cubes together so they’re touching. Drizzle evenly with olive oil so all the cubes are lightly coated but not drenched. Toss the cubes to even out the oil coating and spread out again. Return to the oven and bake until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Let them go to dark golden brown if you prefer extra-crunchy croutons with a dark-toast taste. Just don’t let them burn.

4

Immediately sprinkle the croutons with salt and pepper and toss to even out the seasonings. Cool on the pan on a wire rack.

The proportions below make one cup of dressing. You can use it all at once with the amounts of lettuce and croutons below for eight generous salad servings or divvy it up as you want. Although the dressing comes together in minutes, it gets even better after a day or two in the fridge. A quarter cup will coat the chopped leaves of one romaine heart nicely.
Make Ahead:
The dressing can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week. The croutons will keep in an airtight container for up to one week.