Pepita Caesar Salad with Coconut Croutons
Vegan Raw or Raw Fusion Recipe
Caesar salad hit the mainstream back about 15 years ago as something you can find on just about any menu. The original salad was created by Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant and debuted in his restaurants in Tijuana, San Diego and Los Angeles. My parents were foodies from way back and this one was of the dishes my mother taught me to make as a child, even to the extend of rubbing the (only!) wooden salad bowl with garlic cloves and coddling the egg.
These days I don’t eat much dairy or eggs so it’s nice to have an alternative. A Mexican restaurant chain from my years of living in Southern California served a caesar salad with ground toasted pepitas, so that was part of my inspiration for this Raw Fusion creation.
Leave off the croutons and it’s completely raw – but the Raw Fusion philosophy is to find delicious nutritious alternatives for your favorite comfort foods, thereby not feeling any sense of deprivation. Adding just this light and lovely touch of the croutons makes it easy to sustain eating food that’s good for you the majority of the time. For daily tips of this kind and recipes for mind, body and spirit, make sure to like our Facebook Fan Page.
For the croutons I used a fabulous millet bread from a local bakery. It’s very light and lends itself very well to the task as this bread doesn’t absorb as much of the coconut oil. You can substitute with any bread, but I highly recommend buying a gluten-free or sprouted variety. You can saute garlic first to impart that flavor but I prefer to sprinkle on a little sea salt and organic garlic powder as they are draining on a paper towel.
Pepita Caesar Salad
1 head of romaine lettuce, washed dried and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 jar of black olives, drained and chopped
Chopped parsley for garnish
4 oz raw pumpkin seeds*
1.5 tsp. Celtic sea salt
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves
black pepper (optional)
*Use darker Austrian (Styrian) variety if available
Options: Replace lemon with apple cider vinegar. Use tamari or nama shoyu to replace salt.
Directions: Grind pumpkin seeds in coffee/spice grinder. Place in bowl and stir in olive oil and lemon juice. Press garlic clove and whisk into seed mixture, adding salt to taste. This salad dressing should keep for at least 5 days, tightly covered and refrigerated.
Serve over romaine lettuce with your favorite chopped veggies. Garnish with olives and croutons.
4 slices gluten-free bread (I prefer millet or millet/flaxseed)
Coconut oil (approximately 3 or 4 tablespoons)
Sea Salt and Garlic Powder
Directions for croutons: Cut into large pieces, sauté/fry in coconut oil until crispy but keep a close watch so they don’t burn. Place on paper towel to drain and sprinkle with salt and garlic powder.
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