Eccentric Caesar Salad and Quick Garlic Croutons

Sara Remington
When I created this Caesar salad, I did a silly dance around the kitchen. Seriously -- it is that good. And the name is perfect for it. I'm betting that this Caesar salad dressing is like nothing you've ever tasted. It is extremely eccentric and undeniably delicious. Who would have thought that curry powder would be the perfect addition to a Caesar dressing? Not me before I took the risk of adding it -- but now I am a total convert. And the nutritional yeast gives this dressing a cheese-like flavor that could please even the most omnivorous Caesar salad connoisseur. This recipe makes extra dressing that you can store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Topped with our Quick Garlic Croutons, capers, avocado, and hemp seeds, this dynamic salad will delight your adventurous taste buds.

-Marea

Caesar Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup/70 g raw cashews
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast (see Note)
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Salad:
  • 2 large heads romaine lettuce, chopped or torn into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cups/120 g Quick Garlic Croutons (recipe follows)
  • 1 ripe avocado, medium dice
  • 1/2 cup/65 g hemp seeds
  • 1/3 cup/55 g capers
To make the dressing: Combine the cashews, oil, lemon juice, yeast, mustard, garlic, salt, curry powder, and pepper in a food processor and add 1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp/75 ml warm water. Process until the mixture is very smooth, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice.

To make the salad: Toss the romaine with 1/2 cup/120 ml of the dressing. Add more to taste if desired. Divide the lettuce among six plates, and top each with some of the croutons, avocado, hemp seeds, and capers. Serve immediately.

Note: Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast has a delicious, savory, cheesy flavor that's especially welcome in many dairy-free recipes. It's also extremely nutrient dense, packed with amino acids, B-vitamins, folic acid, selenium, zinc, and many more important minerals. It gives our Caesar salad dressing a yummy, cheesy flavor, and we also love it sprinkled on popcorn, soups, beans, and pasta. Many people add it to vegetable juice to enhance the nutrition. It comes in both flake and powder form (we prefer the flakes for our recipes) and is available in natural food stores, both in bulk and in cans.

Note that nutritional yeast is different from baker's yeast, and it's also not the same as brewer's yeast (which is a by-product from the beer industry). Nutritional yeast is made from a single-celled organism called Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is typically grown on molasses and then harvested, washed, and dried with heat to deactivate it. It should be stored in a cool and dry place in an airtight bag or container.

1 Serving (using 1/2 cup of dressing): Calories: 390 | Fat : 26g | Carbs: 30g | Protein: 13g | Sodium: 830mg | Dietary Fiber: 32% | Vitamin A: 80% | Vitamin C: 40% | Thiamin: 15% | Riboflavin: 10% | Folate: 35%

Quick Garlic Croutons

Makes about 2 1/2 cups/150 g 


These croutons are very quick to make and are a great crunchy complement to both soups and salads. The bread can either be fresh or a few days old. Warning: They are so yummy they'll make it hard for you to go back to store-bought croutons! I've started doubling the recipe because my husband, Drew, can happily nosh on a whole batch.

  • Nine 1/2-in/12-mm slices of a large baguette or 12 slices of a thin baguette
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/4 tsp crushed garlic
  • Pinch of salt
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat it to 350°F/180°C/gas 4.

Toast the baguette slices very lightly in a traditional toaster or toaster oven. Allow to cool. Mix the oil, garlic, and salt together in a small bowl. With a pastry brush, brush both sides of the toast with this mixture, and then cut the slices into 1/2-in/12-mm cubes. Transfer the cubes to a rimmed baking sheet and bake until they are golden brown and crispy, 10 to 15 minutes, turning once. Allow to cool completely before using. Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. 

1/4 cup/15 g: Calories: 70 | Fat : 3.5g | Carbs: 8g | Protein: 2g | Sodium: 90mg

By Myra Goodman, Marea Goodman, Photography by Sara Remington, Straight from the Earth, Chronicle Books (2014).

Yield: 
Serves 6

Top Recipes

'The garbage can doesn't lie': The U.S. throws away 30% of its food

In the U.S. $162 billion worth of food isn't eaten annually. "An American family of four wastes 1,160 pounds of food a year," says Elizabeth Royte, who wrote "The High Cost of Food Waste" for National Geographic.