It's been a difficult couple of weeks over here, I've had big news to do with my mental health. Something I'm not going to go into here and now, but I am wondering if you would like more writing from me to do with my mental health? I currently have a blog post sitting in my drafts that is solely focused on mental health, no food at all, and I'm scared to push the publish button. So if you do want to read that piece please let me know because it would do my confidence a world of good. Answers on the back of a post card, or just ya know, email, fb or instagram me. I've also been working hard on this project with Divya, which I will finally be able to talk about it the next couple of weeks. Anyway this blog post has taken me bit longer than I would have liked but here it is. Ready and raring to go, and it's a really really good one. I'm actually so chuffed with it. I've been well smug.
Cesar salad is a classic, the perfect answer to warmer days, it is a Summer dish through and through. This vegan version is going to be being munched all Summer long, I'm actually sorta obsessed at the moment, I can't get enough of it. The addition of apple is genius, it adds a fruity freshness that just lifts the whole dish.
Traditionally cesar salad is often made with chicken, I used chickpeas, the darling of vegan cooking. Chickpeas are just so super useful, I always try to have tins in my pantry so that if all else fails I can probably russle up some veg and chickpeas. I love their texture and flavour (they take on spice really well to so you can really up their vibrancy), and how nutritionally dense they are. Chickpeas are low in calories, but powerhouses of protein, fibre, folate and iron. I cooked my chickpeas in paprika, garlic and onion granules.
Cesar salad lives and dies by it's dressing. The traditional dressing contains anchovies, so to veganise it I used capers. Jamie doesn't like capers but he ate this salad faster than I could let him know they were in there! The capers are really used to flavour the dressing and don't overwhelm the taste.
I'm super excited for the coming bank holiday weekend, I've heard rumours on the grape vine that Saturday will reach 29'c here in London. I'm going to be at a bbq, where this Cesar salad will definitely be making an appearance. I love opportunities to cook for lots of friends, I love sharing my food and the satisfaction when people marvel at just how good vegan food can be is the best. I hope I am slowly but surely opening people up to the possibility of eating a more meat free diet. I personally believe in spreading the vegan message with love and great food. I was vegetarian for a long time before I went vegan, the person that really swayed me to go vegan was Sophie Gordon. Sophie is a blogger from South East London and her food is just divine, I swear that girl has food magic in her fingertips. Once I saw how inspiring and tasty vegan food could be I was hooked. (If you wana show soph some love find her Instagram here). I hope you are spending your bank holiday in the sunshine, and if you are maybe think about making some of your non vegan friends a vegan treat. You never know you might be the spark behind a new vegan journey. And if you fancy using this recipe to do that, all the better!
For the chickpeas
1 can of chickpeas
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic granules
1/2 teaspoon onion granules
For the dressing
1 cup cashews
1 cup water
5 tablespoons nutritional yeast
3 tablespoons of capers
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon tamiri
1 teaspoon black pepper
The juice of 1/2 a lemon
For the Salad
1 green Bramley apple
1 heart of romaine lettuce
1) Place the cashews in a bowl along with the water and allow to soak for at least a couple of hours until the cashews are soft. I would suggest doing this the night before making to save time.
2) Drain the chickpeas on a tray and coat with the spices. Place into the oven for 15 mins until brown and crispy.
3) Place the soaked cashews and the water they were soaking into a blender. Add the other dressing ingredients and blend until smooth.
4) Chop the romaine and apple into small pieces. Place in a large salad bowl along with the chickpeas and pour the dressing over. Toss and Serve.