I watch this hilarious show on CBC (Canada’s public broadcaster) called The Baroness von Sketch Show. It takes a comedic look at narcissistic contemporary culture and offers a witty take on everyday concerns- everything from ordering a coffee to the politics of the day are critiqued through the lens of comedy by four hilarious Canadian female comedians. One sketch from last week’s episode that I’m still chuckling about featured three women meeting up for book club. The host has prepared a BLACK BEAN BROWNIE and is beyond excited to share her creation with her guests. She opens up the container to reveal a dry, crumbly square, just as a late arrival shows up bearing her own brownie. Only this brownie came from a mix, looks and tastes delicious, and totally steals the show. I can relate to the host on so many levels- there are some healthy/vegan creations that you just don’t make for guests, and certain classics that you simply cannot mess around with. I will eat my black beans for dinner and my brownies for dessert, thank you very much.
Now if there is one recipe that both vegan and non-vegan crowds will go positively wild for, it is my kale Caesar salad. And not just any ho-hum kale Caesar salad. My salad features not one, not two, but THREE cruciferous vegetables- kale, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts, all of which have potent cancer-fighting properties- and is coated in the dreamiest, creamiest cashew-caper-lemon dressing. But I didn’t stop there! I added sun-dried tomatoes for a salty punch, along with tempeh bacon and hemp Parmesan! The tempeh bacon is great not only with this dish, but on everything from sandwiches and wraps to pastas, so I recommend making a double batch.
This salad is so nutritionally balanced, it qualifies as a complete meal. In fact, I ate it for lunch for four days straight along with some crackers and hummus. I know that I will be making it over and over again to please a crowd over the holiday season and beyond!
I’ll be back in a few days with a seasonal pesto recipe. Until then, enjoy this salad!
Detox Kale Caesar Salad
Servings: 4, with extra dressing
Time: 45 minutes active time plus 1 hour marinating time
Cuisine: Vegan, American, Mediterranean
Cashew Caesar Dressing
- 3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked in cold water for at least 4 hours or boiling water for at least 45 minutes)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
- 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp capers
- 2 medium cloves garlic
- 1 tsp pure maple syrup
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt, or to taste
- 1/2 cup filtered water, plus more as needed
- 1 8-oz package tempeh
- 2 tbsp low-sodium tamari
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- Black pepper, to taste
- Knob of ghee or refined coconut oil for cooking
- 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced Brussels sprouts
- 4 cups finely chopped kale
- 2 cups finely shredded red cabbage
- 1/3 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced, plus more for topping
- Sunflower Parmesan, made with hemp hearts instead of sunflower seeds
- Make the dressing: Drain the cashews and place in a high-speed blender. Add all remaining dressing ingredients and blend until very smooth and creamy. Taste and add additional sea salt if needed. If your dressing is too thick, add water, 1 tbsp at a time, until you have achieved a pourable consistency.
- Make the tempeh bacon: Place the whole block of tempeh into a steamer basket or a large pot of boiling water. Steam or boil for 3 minutes. This step is entirely optional, but it opens up the ‘pores’ of the tempeh, allowing the marinade to penetrate it more easily.
- Thinly slice the tempeh into 1/2 cm strips and place in a 9×13-inch dish.
- Add tamari, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, smoked paprika, and pepper into a jar. Shake vigorously to combine and pour evenly over the tempeh strips. Cover and marinate for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours (the longer it marinates, the more flavourful it will be).
- Prepare the salad: Combine the Brussels sprouts, kale, and cabbage in a large bowl. Pour 1 cup of the dressing on top and massage it into the vegetables with your hands. You want every last piece of kale to be coated with dressing. Add more dressing as needed- you want there to be enough dressing, but you don’t want it to be sopping with it, either. Use your judgment here! (Leftover dressing is great on sandwiches as a vegan aioli-type spread, or as a dip for roasted sweet potato fries.)
- Cook the tempeh bacon: Heat the ghee or coconut oil in a large cast iron or other heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the tempeh bacon strips in an even layer. Cook for 3 minutes, or until lightly browned and crispy, flip, and cook for three minutes more on the other side. Remove from pan and place on a cooling rack until ready to serve. Repeat with any remaining bacon.
- To serve, divide salad among four plates. Top with extra sun-dried tomatoes and hemp Parmesan. Serve tempeh bacon on the side.