Apparently today is National Eat Your Vegetables Day, which should really be everyday! Veggies are without a doubt great for our health, our longevity, and our planet. So, in honor of veggies we are celebrating with a big a$# salad. I recently came across this recipe for Quinoa Caesar Salad, by Isa Chandra Moscowitz (the mastermind behind Post Punk Kitchen – a goldmine of vegan/plant-based recipes), and it looked out of this world good, so I had to try it for myself. I was blown away! This gal sure knows how to make a stellar Ceasar salad using only plant ingredients. She also has great suggestions for variations (i.e. chickpeas or tempeh instead of tofu). And, although the recommended greens in this salad are romaine lettuce and arugula the sky is the limit.
Watch her in action here.
QUINOA CAESAR SALAD
Yields 8 servings
For the Breaded Tofu:
- 3/4 cup fine store-bought breadcrumbs (I use whole wheat. Gluten free options are also available)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed between your fingers
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed between your fingers
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 14 oz extra firm tofu, sliced into 8 slabs widthwise
- 3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
For The Briny Caesar Dressing:
- 1/2 cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours and drained
- 1 head roasted garlic (about 10 cloves, see tip)
- 2 cloves fresh garlic
- 1/4 cup capers, with some brine
- 3/4 cup water
- Several dashes fresh black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
For the rest:
- 6 cups cooked and cooled quinoa (make a day ahead to reduce cooktime)
- 8 oz chopped romaine
- 4 oz baby arugula (or chopped arugula)
- 1 avocado, cut diced into 1/2 inch pieces
Make the Breaded Tofu:
- Preheat a large non-stick pan, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat. On a dinner plate, use your fingertips to mix together the breadcrumbs, dried herbs and garlic. On a separate plate, pour the soy sauce.
- Place a tofu slab in the soy sauce, and toss to coat. Then dredge them in the breadcrumbs, tossing to coat. (Use your dry hand to handle the tofu in the breadcrumbs, otherwise you’ll get a crumb mitten on your hand.) Put coated tofus off to the side of the plate and continue until all tofu is coated. Put a thin layer of olive oil in the pan, and then transfer tofu cubes to the pan. Let cook for a few minutes then flip, using a thin metal spatula so that you don’t scrape off the breading. Cook for about 7 minutes total, adding a little extra to the pan as needed, and flipping occasionally until browned on most sides.
- Once browned, remove from pan and slice on a bias into 1/4 thick pieces.
Make the dressing:
- Simply add all of the ingredients to a small blender or food processor, and puree until smooth. Scrape down the sides every now and again to make sure you get everything. Thin with a little water, if necessary. Keep tightly sealed and refrigerated until ready to use. Keeps for up to 5 days.
Assemble the salad:
- Assemble the salad in a very large mixing bowl. Toss the greens with the quinoa, and then add the dressing.
- Serve topped with tofu and avocado!
~ I highly recommend making the quinoa a day in advance so that it’s easy to pull together on a weeknight. Soak the cashews all day so that you can just come home and whip up the dressing.
~ For the roasted garlic, you can either roast a head of it a day in advance or buy some. Often big fancy places like Whole Foods will have roasted garlic cloves for sale (there are about 15 in a head) or you can even nab some from the salad bar. But honestly, although it adds another dimension of garlicky sweet deliciousness, you can forego it if need be.
- I am not a caper fan, so I used pepperoncinis (seeds and stem removed) and the dressing turned out great.
- Instead of arugula I used purple kale. But, any greens will do!
- In addition to avocado, I topped my salad with tomatoes for a little color. Yum!
- I spiced up the breading (for the tofu) with cayenne pepper.
Cheers to your health.
Have a splendid Wednesday!
Gumsaba Outdoor Fitness Class schedule Thursday 6/18/15
5:30AM Sunrise Danville Womens only class – Coach Briana – Circuit Mash Up
5:30AM Sunrise Danville Mens only class – Coach Joel – TRX TABATA
6AM Sunup Lafayette Co-Ed class – Coach Jentry – Circuit Mash Up
7:10 AM Summer Walnut Creek class – Coach Briana – Obstacle Course Chipper
8:15AM Outdoor Yoga at the Moraga Commons – Coach Jentry
9AM Sunshine Walnut Creek Womens class – Coach Briana – Circuit Mash Up
11:00AM Cytosport HIIT Training – Coach Briana (private class)
12:00PM Cytosport Power Yoga – Coach Jentry (private class)