Vegan Crispy Chick’n Caesar Salad


Hello, hello! As I promised earlier in the month, today I’m sharing my second recipe in collaboration with Braun! Braun is returning to North America with its New Kitchen Collection, which I have had the pleasure of testing out over the last few weeks.

Today’s recipe is a veganized revamp of one of my absolute favourite childhood recipes: Crispy chicken Caesar salad. When we went out to eat, if Caesar salad was on the menu, I was ordering it. Anytime, any restaurant, chicken Caesar salad was my go-to. But when I went vegetarian in 2002 (has it been that long already?), chicken suddenly left my diet and Caesar salads seemed to go along with it.

Now years and years later, I’m finally getting around to making a proper vegan “chick’n” Caesar salad, no dairy, no eggs, just Caesar goodness. So here we have it: crisp romaine lettuce coated in a garlick-y dressing that’s as zesty as it is creamy, bright with lemon acidity, and speckled with plenty of fresh cracked black pepper, topped with fresh croutons and crispy, fried tofu chick’n.

There are 4 main components that you can make for this salad. The Caesar dressing (a cashew-based blender concoction), the croutons (I highly recommend making them fresh), the crispy breaded tofu (which you could sub for your favourite store-bought crispy vegan chick’n), and lastly the vegan parmesan (easy peasy, if you’re vegan you might already have some on hand, if not, you will soon and your next bowl of pasta will thank you!)

Let’s get going! Braun’s PureMix Blender makes quick work of this creamy, cashew-based Caesar dressing. It’ll blitz up the soaked cashews, whole garlic cloves, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, capers, parsley, black pepper, and salt into a spot-on authentic creamy Caesar dressing.

Next up, the vegan parm. We’re going to go back to the Multiquick Hand Blender + food processor attachment (featured in our Vegan Mushroom & Black Bean Burger recipe from earlier this month) to quickly whip together some easy vegan Parmesan: raw cashews, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt and plenty of nutritional yeast. Boom, done in 5 minutes or less.

Now for the crispy breaded tofu “chick’n”. This is one of the times when it’s absolutely necessary to press your tofu. Thankfully you can do this super quickly by slicing the tofu first, and then just quickly pressing it with a couple of sheets of paper towel or a clean tea towel until the tofu is no longer wet. Once the tofu is dry, quickly dip the sliced tofu into a touch of soy sauce to give it a little flavour. Go easy, you just want to give the mild tofu a little depth and saltiness. The soy sauce should soak in quite readily and you can wipe off any excess before dredging in flour, dipping in a seasoned cornstarch/water bath and finally, coating with bread crumbs and frying! I love this breading technique because the breading actually adheres to the tofu, the crumbs won’t fall off when you slice up the tofu or toss the salad.

Lastly the garlicky, crispy crunchy homemade stove top croutons. I used a mix of fresh baked french bread and pumpernickel for some colour/textural/flavor variety. I’d recommend using french bread if you prefer a nice and light (crisp but not too crunchy) crouton.

PS: Not a salad fan? This recipe also makes some delightful crispy tofu chick’n Caesar wraps too. Yum!

This post is sponsored by . Visit the Braun website (CA/USA) to learn about their New Kitchen Collection or to check out the PureMix Blender or Multiquick 7 Hand Blender used in today’s post. Thank you for supporting the brands that support I Love Vegan.

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Ingredients :

  • 2 heads of romaine, trimmed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 recipe Vegan Caesar Dressing
  • 3–4 tbsp Cashew Parmesan
  • 1 recipe Crisp Tofu Chick’n
  • 1 recipe Stove Top Croutons
  • freshly cracked black peppercorns, to taste
  • sea salt, to taste
  • lemon wedges
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp capers + 1 tsp caper brine
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
  • freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • sprig parsley, for colour
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cups stale bread cubes
  • 3 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 350g block extra-firm tofu
  • 1–2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp + 1/2 tbsp soy sauce, divided
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2/3 cup bread crumbs
  • vegetable oil, for pan frying

Instructions :

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides as needed. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.
  2. Chill in refrigerator.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles dried Parmesan cheese. Do not over process. Store in an air tight container.
  4. In a medium-large skillet, melt vegan butter over medium heat and add garlic and onion powder.
  5. Stir in the bread cubes, coating evenly. Continue cooking (stirring often) until bread is crisp and toasty.
  6. Slice 1/2 of a block of tofu into 4 thin, square slices. Use paper towel or a clean tea towel to press out any excess moisture. The tofu should be nearly dry to the touch.
  7. In a shallow bowl or plate, cover the tofu with 1 tbsp of soy sauce (coating evenly), and wait a minute or two. Most of the soy sauce should be absorbed, wipe off any excess with paper towel.
  8. Breading: You’ll need 3 shallow bowls or plates in a line. (1) with 1-2 tbsp all-purpose flour, (2) with 1 tbsp corn starch, 1/2 tbsp soy sauce, and 2 tbsp water, mixed well, and (3) 2/3 cup of bread crumbs. Using 1 hand, lightly coat the tofu in flour, dip it quickly in the wet soy sauce/cornstarch mixture, and then dip/coat with bread crumbs (press them firmly onto the tofu.)
  9. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Fry tofu until golden brown and crispy on both sides. Drain on paper towel.
  10. Toss chopped romaine lettuce with Caesar dressing + 1 tbsp cashew parm. Top with extra vegan parm, croutons, sliced tofu chick’n, and a sprinkle of sea salt and freshly cracked black peppercorns. Enjoy immediately.
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