Growing up, caesar salad was one of my favorite side salad options at restaurants… until I realized that traditional caesar dressing was made with raw eggs and anchovies. That realization quickly changed my mind about this beloved salad, until a few years ago when I saw a vegan caesar dressing online. I was instantly intrigued, and after many recipes and attempts, I’ve finally found my perfect vegan caesar!
The base of this salad is anything but traditional, substituting shredded brussels sprouts for the traditional romaine. The brussels sprouts still lend the crunchy bite similar to romaine, but they are hearty enough not to be overwhelmed by the strong, cashew based dressing. White miso, lemon juice, tamari and nutritional yeast all combine to mimic the earthy taste of that traditional caesar, without any of the raw eggs and fish!
This salad is versatile, and holds up well in the refrigerator too. It makes a lovely main dish for two, a smaller side salad for 4, and could easily be doubled for a potluck or pool party. Here we served the salad with salmon and tempeh, respectively, and baked home fries! I have also added some cooked quinoa to the salad before to up the nutritional profile.
Vegan Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad
Serves 2 as a meal-sized salad, up to 4 as a side
dressing adapted from The Full Helping
1 lb brussels sprouts, shredded – I like to do this in my food processor, but you can also buy them pre-shredded to save time
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp white miso paste
1/2 tsp tamari (or soy sauce)
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 – 1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup water
Drain & rinse the cashews, then combine all of the dressing ingredients except the water in a food processor or high speed blender, and pulse until the cashews are broken up and a loose paste forms. Slowly drizzle water while food processor is running until the dressing is creamy and pourable, but still a little thick like a traditional caesar dressing. Check for taste and consistency, adding more water or lemon juice if the dressing still seems too thick, and adjust for seasoning.
Toss the shaved brussels sprouts and red onion with most of the dressing, reserving a little dressing to top the finished salads. Serve with your choice of protein.
This salad will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days, but if you anticipate not eating all of it in that time I would suggest storing the shaved brussels and dressing separately.