Happy New Year! I hope your new year (and decade) is off to a relaxed start. Do you set New Year resolutions? I have never been one to start the new year with a punishing dietary regimen or workout protocol, but I do like to reset with nourishing food, a new planner and some gentle intentions for the coming year. It’s not about regret or punishment or deprivation. It’s about being kind to myself, and renewing a commitment to nourish my body and mind. We are still in the depths of winter, so along with all the warming comfort foods, my body is craving greens and color. This vegan Caesar salad with hemp seeds, sourdough croutons and watermelon radish will brighten up even the dreariest of winter days with its vibrant colors and punchy flavor.
There are many who are perhaps trying to eat more plant-based foods in the coming year, whether for environmental or health reasons. This salad exemplifies plant-based eating at its finest: all of the flavor and none of the sacrifice. This recipe is really all about the dressing. Hemp seeds provide the creaminess essential to a good Caesar salad, and miso and nutritional yeast add the umami funk often missing in vegan versions. No Caesar salad is complete, in my opinion without a crunch factor, and the sourdough croutons more than deliver here. Shaved watermelon radish adds a welcome pop of color and a peppery bite to round out the flavors. To make this salad into a meal, serve alongside salmon or roast chicken, or (to keep it vegan!) toss crispy roasted chickpeas into the salad.
Tell me, how are you nourishing yourself in 2020? I’d love to hear any intentions you have for the year ahead! xo Maggie
p.s. Looking for more salad recipes? Check out this winter favorite: sweet potato + avocado salad with miso-tahini dressing. Yum!
- 2–3 thick slices whole wheat sourdough bread, roughly torn into 1 inch chunks (approx. 3 cups)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large head of romaine lettuce, washed, dried and roughly chopped
- 1 medium watermelon radish, very thinly sliced
- To serve: minced chives and hemp seeds
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (from approx. 2 lemons)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp hulled hemp seeds
- 2 tsp white miso paste
- 1.5 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- A pinch of freshly ground pepper
- 2–4 tbsp water
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place torn bread onto a large baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat. Bake for 10-12 minutes, tossing halfway through cooking, until golden brown and crunchy. Remove from oven and set aside.
- Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. Place all dressing ingredients except water in a blender. Blend on high until smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender once or twice. The dressing will be quite thick. Add water 1 tbsp at a time until you reach a slightly runny consistency. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if necessary.
- Assemble salad. Place the lettuce, croutons and sliced radish in a large bowl. Drizzle with half of the dressing and toss, adding more dressing as you toss until the greens are lightly coated but not drenched. Top with minced chives, a sprinkle of hemp seeds and freshly ground pepper. Enjoy!
- Hemp seeds can be a bit pricey, but are more affordable when bought from the bulk section of the grocery store. These powerful little seeds are high in protein, fiber, healthful fatty acids and vitamin E, making them a nutrient dense addition to your pantry. Add them to smoothies, sprinkle on oatmeal or top your salads.
- To make this salad into a meal, serve alongside salmon or roast chicken, or (to keep it vegan!) toss crispy roasted chickpeas into the salad.