Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hearts of Romaine Salad with Creamy Soy Dressing

Happy June!  Although not officially summer for another 21 days, this month begins what I think of as my summer mode of cooking - that is, super-fresh ingredients - mostly fruits and vegetables - in recipes that let those ingredients shine.  Since the weather is warmer and I don't want my oven on, I also tend to eat more salads, room temperature dishes, or marinated fare.

I'm kicking off June with a super simple salad.  Using silken tofu is a great way to mimic the creaminess of a classic Caesar dressing, without using eggs.

  • 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 ounces firm silken tofu
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 12 cups torn romaine lettuce
  • 3 tablespoons vegan Parmesan sprinkles (such as Galaxy Foods)
1. Combine the lemon juice, water, mustard, salt, tofu, and garlic in a food processor and process until smooth.  Add the olive oil and process until well blended.  Pour the tofu mixture into a bowl and stir in the parsley.

2. Place the romaine lettuce in a large bowl.  Add the tofu mixture and toss to combine.  Arrange 1 and 1/2 cups salad on each of 8 plates, and sprinkle each serving with about 1 teaspoon Parmesan sprinkles.

Try serving this salad alongside a polenta casserole; top polenta with canned or fresh tomato sauce (preferably the latter) with fresh basil stirred into the sauce or snipped on top.  This combination of polenta and salad has a nice Mediterranean feel to it - just add a crisp (vegan) Italian white wine to round out the meal.

Nutrition Info:
8 servings (1 and 1/2 cups salad, 1 teaspoon Parmesan), Calories 40

Tasting Notes:
There's definitely potential here, but I was a little disappointed.  The dressing needed to be much creamier, and next time I would use 4 ounces of silken tofu instead of just 2 ounces.  It was also a little bland, so I would increase the parsley and garlic; the notes of lemon juice, however, were just right.  Finally, I wanted a little bit of crunch to sink my teeth into, so consider making fresh French bread croutons.  This salad is one of the best uses I've come across for vegan Parmesan sprinkles; sometimes their flavor is too bold or distracting, but it worked quite well with such a simple romaine salad.


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