| Vegan + Nut Free + Gluten Free + Paleo + Organic |
Crispy tofu croutons are now a thing and this vegan kale caesar recipe is a match made in heaven.
I’ve been working a lot with creating recipes that are nut free because as much as I love nuts I feel like sometimes I over-do it with the nuts. My milks are made out of nuts, I use nut butter daily, and almost every flour I use for baking and cooking is made from nuts. So I’ve been prioritizing where nuts are necessary and where they can be replaced, and in recipes like this, they can easily be replaced!
This vegan kale caesar dressing is made with sunflower seeds because they’re super easy to find, they’re healthy, and they’re less expensive than nuts. It’s important to buy organic sunflower seeds because sunflower products can be high in omega-6’s which are inflammatory to the body, so you want to make sure you’re balancing them out with omega 3’s and also being mindful about your intake. With that being said, buying organic, unsalted sunflower seeds can be a great source of fiber, protein, healthy fat, and vitamins and minerals like vitamin E and magnesium. There are a multitude of health benefits associated with sunflower seeds and they are a great addition to a healthy diet.
What I love most about this recipe is that the dressing has the flavor and consistency of real caesar dressing without any fishy taste (from anchovy paste), and it can easily be used as a dip as well! I used to love caesar dressing as a kid and I would dip fries in it, veggies, and even chips and pizza.
Caesar salads get a bad rap sometimes because out of all the salads on a menu, caesar salads are usually the “least nutritious”. Although this is true for most caesar salads, especially in chain restaurants or fast food places, caesar salads can be made healthy very easily. The reason why caesar salads are seen as the least nutritious is because caesar dressing is creamy and thick, which traditionally means high in fat, calories, and loaded with added sugars and thickeners that leave most of us feeling sick and uncomfortable. Also, caesar salads are topped with usually way more than one portion of cheese and highly processed croutons. So yes, it’s probably best not to order a caesar salad on a traditional restaurants menu if you’re trying to eat healthy. Now, can we please talk about these crispy tofu croutons?!
These crispy tofu croutons are revolutionary and such a game changer as a salad topper. Honestly, I’ve always been a crouton lover. I love a good crunch and there’s something just so yummy about a crispy crouton in a good salad. Croutons are usually fried in refined oils and are made from refined carbs, so I’m just used to staying away from them for the most part. I usually stay away from any thing that is labeled “crispy” because those are usually the foods that upset my stomach and make me feel not well. When I came up with this idea to make TOFU croutons, I was pretty, pretty impressed with myself. Like whaaaat, this is pure genius! They’re baked, crispy, flavorful, and are a protein packed alternative to croutons!
So now that you know caesar salads do not need to be banned from your diet because alternatives like this recipe make it that much more enjoyable to eat, do yourself a favor and enjoy the heck out of this meal. I have a feeling this will become a staple in your house because of how easy and simple it is, and delicious too!
PS – I like to use dinosaur kale for this recipe because it’s the easiest to prepare and has no stems. See recipe instructions for more details. If you’re using curly kale, make sure to de-stem it before so you have just the leafy pieces in the salad.
Organic Extra Firm Tofu
Organic Sunflower Seeds (no shell)