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Hearty Vegan Caesar Salad

Caesar salads have gotten a bad rap for being high in calories & fat in the past, but for me they hold a healthy amount of nostalgia.

When I was in middle school I used to go to The Upper Crust in Marbledale, CT every Friday night with my mom. I would order a Caesar Salad and Tirimusu, and it was my favorite night of the week! This tradition was probably a big reason why my mom and I are so close, and it certainly helped me understand how locally sourced ingredients can make all the difference in even the simplest meal!

In high school, I stopped going there every Friday night with my mom because I actually started working at that restaurant on weekends and in the summers. I loved every second of working at The Upper Crust. I could sell almost everything, I loved know every ingredient they used in each meal and the take-home cash wasn't bad either! To this day, I believe every human should spend time in the service industry. Even if it is brief, my restaurant career built a tremendous amount of character, it taught me how to hustle and to appreciate good food truly made with love. Who knew so much would have started with a Caesar Salad almost two decades ago? Here's my take on my own Hearty Vegan Caesar Salad, made of course with only the freshest ingredients.

Total time: 30 minutes, 10 minutes if quinoa is already cooked

Servings: 5-7, cut in half for smaller servings. Keep size for leftovers.

What you'll need for the salad:

  • 3 large handfuls of baby kale (if you prefer buying kale bunches, make sure you wash as soon as you bring it home, so it has ample time to dry. It’s really important this salad can properly absorb the flavorful and creamy dressing.

  • 1-2 cups of cooked quinoa (slightly el dente to help the texture taste like shaved shredded parmesan. Let cool for 15 minutes)

  • 30-40 shaved brussel sprouts. (Process in food processor for best results)

Mix kale, brussels sprouts and quinoa in large bowl.

What you'll need for the dressing:

  • 3 cloves of garlic

  • 1 tablespoon of salt

  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, I buy

  • 2-3 small handfuls of organic raw walnuts. This is what makes it creamy. (You can always roast first for an extra flavor pop)

  • 1 cup water

  • 2 tablespoons organic olive oil

  • 1/2 cup of Dijon mustard

  • 1 tablespoon of fresh pepper

Blend together or process all ingredints together until you have a relatively smooth mixture. This recipes should make the consistancy of your dressing of medium thickness. If you like it thinner, use less walnuts. You can always add more lemon juice or water too! Mix salad & dressing with hands. Separate half salad mixture & dressing if you are saving leftovers.

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