Vegan Avocado Caesar Salad

Vegan Caesar- YUM!Holy SPRING! Last weekend was probably the nicest we’ve had in the Northwest since …last October? Seriously. We’ve had 5 + months of wind, rain, dampness, drizzle, frigid conditions and grey clouds. Then out of nowhere we had an ENTIRE weekend of sunshine, blue skies and rumors of a record 70 degree temp. This was definitely not normal and neither was I. In a good way. Let’s just say I haven’t been that fun to be around since maybe last (well, October)? Call it a slight case of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) but whatever it was I’m glad it seems to have dissipated with the clouds.

I spent the better part of Saturday out on Camano Island with some girlfriends. We lazed about in the sunshine, taking in the amazing view while we talked, drank and barbequed (the ultimate warm weather indulgence).

To me, nothing complements grilled entrees quite like a simple, fresh and seasonal salad.  I thought my avocado Caesar salad (vegan + gf, obvi) would pair well with this night’s meal in particular, and I was completely right (not surprising 🙂 ). The girls all raved about the salad and insisted I post about it in my next blog so they could copy the recipe. So, here we are.

The most important component to any Caesar salad is the dressing. Typically loaded with eggs, oil, anchovies and Parmesan cheese this dressing is one of the worst choices you could possibly make when it comes to topping your greens (hello high cholesterol and fat content)! My vegan version still tastes creamy and tangy but gets it’s flavor from miso paste (an unpasteurized soybean), fresh lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and capers. I omit the croutons and cheese and instead toss together romaine lettuce (full of fiber), avocados (packed with vitamin’s and omega 3) and my Brazilian Nut “Parmesan” (oh hey antioxidants!) which packs a powerful, delicious and nutritious punch!

Vegan Avocado Caesar Salad adapted from Native Foods

Serves up to 6

Dressing:

1 cup olive oil

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup miso

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbsp capers

3/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

salad:

2 heads romaine lettuce, washed & chopped

2 avocados, chopped

1/4- 1/2 cup Brazilian Nut Parmesan

1. Blend all dressing ingredients together in a blender until smooth.

2. Toss dressing with chopped romaine and avocado.

3. Top with freshly ground pepper and Brazilian Nut Parmesan.

4. Serve on a sunny day with anything you can throw on the grill and a gluten-free beer (Omission makes the BEST).

Both my MLG’s (meat-lovin’ girlfriends) and MLB (meat-lovin’ boyfriend) absolutely love this salad and have confessed to it tasting better than the original itself. Sorry Caesar, you’ve been replaced. Again.

DISCLAIMER- Yes, that is salmon you see on my plate. I do occasionally eat a small amount of seafood and goat cheese, and to me that is totally acceptable. I don’t think you should focus on labels and strict rules, but rather focus on eating a nutrient-dense, plant-based diet with a heavy emphasis on fresh, natural produce. If you need some meat or cheese in order to achieve this, by all means go for it! It’s not an all or nothing thing-  it’s your life and it’s what works best for you.

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