Caesar salad traditionally contains many ingredients that are not health-promoting, mainly eggs, cheese, oil, salt, anchovies, and oil-soaked croutons. This recipe shows that you can still enjoy all the great flavors of this beloved salad in good health.
In addition to leaving out oil, cheese, eggs and fish, I also left out Worcestershire (a sauce that contains anchovies fermented in brine) and sugar (often molasses, high fructose corn syrup, and/or brown sugar) since concentrated and refined salts and sugars are ingredients I strive to avoid in my cooking.
- For the salad:
- 1 large head romaine lettuce (about ¾ pound), coarsely chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped (about 1½ cups)
- 1 medium, ripe avocado, chopped (optional)
- 1 ounce raw, unsalted cashews or walnuts (about ¼ cup; for optional garnish)
- Ground black pepper
- For the dressing:
- ½ cup water
- 2 ounces raw, unsalted cashews (about ½ cup)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons mustard (I like Dijon or stone ground)
- 1 tablespoon raisins
- 1 medium clove garlic, sliced
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning
- Place all of the dressing ingredients (water, cashews, lemon juice, mustard, raisins, garlic, and herbs) into a blender, and set aside for 15 minutes (so the cashews can soften).
- Place the lettuce, bell pepper, and avocado (if using) into a large salad bowl.
- Blend the dressing ingredients until smooth. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well. Season with pepper to taste, and garnish with ground cashews or walnuts, if desired (see Notes).
To achieve the look of finely grated parmesan cheese, use a rotary cheese grater to add a dusting of walnuts or cashews to the top of each salad plate.
When tomatoes are in season, I use 2 cups chopped instead of the bell pepper.
Above: With thinly peeled raw jicama to resemble Parmesan cheese shavings.
Caesar salad is said to have been invented by restaurateur Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant to the US who first made the dish in 1924. When he ran out of his usual salad ingredients, he had to make do and came up with Caesar salad. However, he used whole lettuce leaves instead of chopped and did not use anchovies.
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