Friday, July 31, 2009

Grilled Vegan Caesar Salad

What??? Yes, you read it right! This vegan Caesar salad contains grilled Romaine lettuce. I learned this from a Create PBS TV show featuring Steven Raichlen, Primal Grill with Steven Raichlen. So, why would a person who doesn't eat meat watch a bbq show? Beats me! I just like to watch cooking show, I guess. I thought that it is summer bbqueing time again so why not? Our weather is perfect for grilling right now. I was rewarded by watching him making grilled Caesar salad. I thought what an odd dish! My first response was I GOT TO TRY IT! before I judge it no good.

So I did and I was surprised that I LIKE IT! I like it that I made it twice. Something about the smokey grilled romaine lettuce and baguette added savory flavor to the salad. I also veganized the recipe. I followed his method of grilling the Romaine lettuce and oiled baguette. Then, I used vegan Caesar salad dressing(which has no anchovies in it) and soy Parmesan. It is very simple if you buy your favorite vegan salad dressing and vegan soy Parmesan. You can also make your own vegan Caesar salad dressing and vegan soy Parmesan. I also added vegan soy chicken strips. You can buy your favorite soy chicken and mine is Morningstar Chik'n Strips, however, it is optional.

Grilled Vegan Caesar Salad
Serves 6

3-4 heads of Romaine lettuce, slice in halves from the roots (see picture above)
1/2 of a long French baguette, cut diagonally, 1/2-inch thick
1 or 2 fresh garlic cloves, halves
2-3 tablespoon olive oil or garlic infused olive oil.
1 pkg. vegan soy strips, optional
store bought vegan Caesar salad dressing, I like Follow Your Heart
vegan soy Parmesan, homemade or store bought
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt to taste

Optional: 2 cups wood chips soaked in water for 1 hour

Grill with hot coals

  1. Clean lettuce by soaking them in water to remove the sands and grimes. Drain and let them dry.
  2. Prepare hot coals ( I use real wood briquettes charcoal). Add wet wood chips on the hot coal. It will start to smoke. It is optional to use the smoking wood chips.
  3. Grill romaine lettuce on hot coal. Close the lid to smoke them.

  4. Meanwhile, brush each side of the sliced baguette with raw garlic to add flavor.

  5. Then, brush each side of the sliced bread with olive oil. Or you can buy garlic infused olive oil and skip the step above. I bought the garlic oil below at Trader Joe's.

  6. Don't forget to check on the romaine lettuce. It should not be grilled too long till they are crispy. The picture below shows how I like it. Some of the leaves are not wilted and some are. Take them out of the grill and slice them with a knife into bite pieces and remove the core.

  7. Add the soy chicken and oiled sliced baguette on to the grill. Add a drizzle of oil on the soy chicken so it won't stick to the grill. I used a grill pan so they won't fall off into the coals. Watch the bread closely since it will brown quickly.

  8. Slice soy chicken in bite pieces. Serve them on top of the grilled lettuce with drizzles of vegan Caesar salad dressing, freshly ground black pepper, a sprinkle of sea salt, and soy Parmesan. Serve with the grilled bread on the side or cut the bread into bite pieces and mix them in the salad (my preference).

Caesar salad was invented in Tijuana (not far from where I live) by Chef Alex Cardini (not Caesar). You can read the history of Caesar salad here.