Earth Day the Vegan Way
It’s easy to see why Chronicle invited me to be their guest blogger on Earth Day. I’m into the earth in a big way – both in terms of enjoying its harvest, and also wanting to help protect it for future generations. My newest cookbook, written in collaboration with my daughter Marea, is called Straight from the Earth, and the company I founded with my husband Drew thirty years ago is named Earthbound Farm.
Although it’s obvious when we think about it, in our busy lives it’s too easy to forget that we are all 100% dependent on this beautiful planet for our sustenance. Eating lower on the food chain and choosing more organic foods is one of the most impactful and easy ways to protect the earth’s resources and avoid polluting our air, soil and water.
When you eat fewer animal products and more organic food, you’re making every day Earth Day in the most delicious way. Marea and I hope our new vegan cookbook makes eating more plant-based meals too tempting to resist. Here’s Marea’s yummy and original Eccentric Caesar Salad that has become a favorite of our friends and family. Enjoy!
Eccentric Caesar Salad
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
½ 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
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp curry powder
Freshly ground black pepper
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
½ cup/65 g hemp seeds
⅓ 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 ¼ 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 ½ 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 ½ cup of dressing): Calories: 390 | Fat : 26g | Carbs: 30g | Protein: 13g |
Sodium: 830mg | Dietary Fiber: 32% | Vitamin A: 80% | Vita min C: 40% | Thiamin: 15% |
Riboflavin: 10% | Folate: 35%
Author of Straight from the Earth
Photographs by Sara Remington
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