Vegan Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons (Gluten-free)

Oh hallelujah! We have SUNSHINE today! I’m going to pretend that there are no rain/snow showers forecasted for Sunday/Monday (boo!) and just be happy for this sunny, almost 50º day. Many of our friends with kids are leaving soon (or have already left) for Spring Break.

A boat-load of minivans packed to the gills are headed south to Florida for some fun in the sun. I’m seeing all kinds of posts on Facebook (i.e. “Florida or bust!”) and I’m starting to get a little jealous. Although I’m only envious of the destination – not the journey. Good luck with that. ;)

Vegan Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons Gluten-free

Last month it was my turn to host book club. I gave the other ladies the option of meeting at a restaurant instead of coming to my house – since the meal would definitely be vegan (which sometimes freaks people out).

They were game, though, and decided to try an all-vegan meal. I served OSG’s Vegan Lasagna with Basil Cashew Cheeze (cuz it’s awesome), Caesar side salads and sliced baguettes with dipping oil. This was my first attempt at making a vegan Caesar salad and I was really happy with the result.

The book club gals are either good liars or they really did enjoy the food. Their plates were clean, which is a good sign. Hubs got to have some of the leftovers and also gave it two thumbs up.

Vegan Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons Gluten-free

The dressing, which is made with Vegenaise, is rich and creamy. It doesn’t have an exact Caesar flavor, but it’s close and personally, I really like it. After blending the dressing ingredients as instructed, I tasted it and added more lemon juice to balance out the flavors.

So be sure to taste it before pouring it out of the blender. You can add more lemon juice, caper juice, capers, or Worcestershire sauce as you see fit. When tossing the lettuce, dressing and croutons together, start with adding just half of the dressing. You may find that’s plenty.

Better to start off with too little than too much. For a parmesan-like texture (and extra protein), I also added shelled hemp seeds. Or you could try a vegan, gluten-free parmesan such as this.

Vegan Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons Gluten-free

By the way, I found this recipe on Vegan Cooking with Love. Founder, Michelle Johnson, offers a variety of vegan recipes. What’s unique about her site are the short, friendly videos that accompany most of the recipes. The videos are well done and often include a tip or two.

Speaking of tips, here’s a little tip in regards to capers. In the grocery store, they are often found in the same aisle as artichoke hearts, olives, pickles, anchovies and other pickled food items. Usually, you can find a little tiny jar of them for some ridiculous price.

BUT!, if you go to the Mexican aisle, you will find a jar about two or three times as big, for half the price or less.

Vegan Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons Gluten-free

Since I mentioned my book club group, I thought I’d share some of our favorite books we’ve read together:

Becoming Odyssa by Jennifer Pharr Davis
Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
by Jamie Ford
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Pearl of China by Anchee Min
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
These is My Words by Nancy Turner
Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand (hands down, the #1 favorite among the group)

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