Sometimes I have to step back and realize that not everyone gets excited by the same things as I do. Like gold and silver bobby pins, or when a bag of newly-dried laundry is transformed from a messy heap into several neat stacks of folded clothes that smell so fresh and clean and warm.
Another one of these things is my office's CSA program, which started last week. My mantra is normally "Thursday Best Day, " but the delivery of a giant bag of farmer's market-fresh veggies the penultimate day of the work week just makes that all the more true every other week from June through October.
Unlike usual, it seems like you, my fellow Dumplings, would also be excited by this little part of my little life. Produce is not quite at its peak season, so we got a whole bunch of greens--red leaf lettuce, spinach, kale--that I was challenged to eat in creative meals other than "salads." Hence this recipe for kale wraps with vegan caesar-dressed zoodles, which is very salad-like but decidedly not. The presentation makes it hard to bowl, so the meal feels a little fancier even though it's super easy to make. It combines some of my favorite cooking techniques--from dressing-making to ribbon-peeling veggies--in a filling nutritious combination.
Speaking of dressing, some things are really hard to make vegan. A caesar salad is one of them. It is basically anti-vegan: mayonnaise, egg, anchovies, cheese... And if you find yourself somewhere lacking in vibrant vegan fare, the caesar salad is often a last, ultimately non-resort on a menu.
You won't necessarily be able to find this dressing while dining out, but as ever, with a little creativity, you can conquer the caesar salad conundrum at home with the same prowess as its namesake. I was actually shocked at how good this tasted. Hopefully, you will think so, too, and use it to expand your vegan salad empire.
1/2 cup raw cashews (preferably soaked in 1 cup water overnight)
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice from 1/2 lemon
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon tamari
1/2 tablespoon German mustard
For the Wraps:
2 small zucchini
1 large carrot
1/2 bunch parsley
1 cup grape tomatoes
3 tablespoons cashew caesar dressing, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons lemon juice
whole kale leaves
1 cup cooked lentils
For the Caesar Dressing:
1. Soak the cashews in the water overnight. Drain the water when ready to make the dressing.
2. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. You may need to add a few tablespoons of water as you go; the dressing will thicken over time when kept in the refrigerator.
For the Wraps:
1. Prepare the vegetables: Wash the zucchini and carrots peel them with a julienne peeler or mandolin. Slice the tomatoes in half. Finely chop the parsley.
2. Combine in a large bowl with the lentils, dressing, and lemon juice. Stir well to coat evenly.
3. Remove the bottom part of the kale stems and arrange 1-2 per plate. Spoon the salad in the center of each leaf. Drizzle with more dressing and spices as desired.