Vegan Kale Ceasar
This is our friend's take on a popular LA restaurant's vegan caesar salad.
How to make it
1 bunch of green kale, stripped from the steam and chopped
20 macadamia nuts, grated or roughly chopped
1/2 loaf french baguette or full sized demi baguette, cut into 3/4" slices, then cubed to form croutons
olive oil, to taste
coarsely ground salt and pepper, to taste
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Add cubed bread to a cookie sheet lined with tin foil. Drizzle liberally with olive oil and evenly cover with freshly ground salt and pepper.
3. Place in oven until golden brown, approx. 10-15 minutes, then place aside and allow to cool.
4. While croutons cook, wash and chop the kale by first cutting along the spine to separate the leafs from the stems. Roll up the leafs, julienne then roughly chop. Add to a large salad bowl.
5. Chop the macadamia nuts using hand chopper (you can also shave each nut using a hand grater if you do not have a chopper).
6. Coat the kale generously with olive oil and lemon juice to taste, then toss.
7. Add salt and pepper to taste, then toss some more.
8. Finally, top with crushed or grated macadamia nuts and homemade croutons.
Notes from our kitchen to yours
Be careful not to chop the macadamia nuts too finely or they will turn into a paste/butter.
If you don't have a hand chopper you can grate the macadamia nuts by hand on a grater using the finest setting or simply seal the nuts in a ziplock bag and pound with either a meat tenderizer or the butt of a mason jar.
If your Kale is still fresh but has gone soft you can bring it back to life after chopping it, by rinsing with cold water in a strainer and allowing it to sit and rehydrate itself for roughly 15 minutes prior to assembling the salad.
If you want softer kale massage half an avocado into the chopped leafs until well incorporated, prior to assembling the rest of the salad.
For serving size reference one bunch of kale, approx 5-6 large leafs, will be enough to feed three people.
About the recipe
How we came to find out about this dish
Luckily, my 35th birthday fell just before March of 2020 and I was still able to gather my friends together for a Sunday brunch to celebrate. There was something for everyone which, speaks to the size of our feast given we were hosting a bevy of creatives in Los Angeles with various dietary restrictions.
Everyone contributed and shared a dish that brought them happiness - a feeling that was no doubt passed on to all our attendees. While everything was delicious, my personal favorite was this salad prepared by my very good friend Mark (you'll find him in the photo above preparing this very salad behind me and Kevin on my birthday), a passionate vegan who makes the plant based diet appeal to even the harshest, most hesitant critic, not to mention picky of eaters.
Friends with several established and up and coming vegan chefs in the Los Angeles and New York markets, Mark has taken notes from their kitchens and incorporated them into his own. This salad is his twist on a dish served at the Crossroads kitchen in LA.
Tools we love to help make it easy
This hand chopper saves you time and energy when it comes to making your "parmesan" topping - available here
We love the wide and shallow design of this bowl for how easy it is to toss a salad without losing half of it over the sides - available here
These fair trade, hand carved olive wood salad tongs are just beautiful and super compact - available here