Isn’t it funny how certain foods color memories or different times in our lives? One particular meal that stands out for me is caesar salad. When I was in middle school, my family vacationed in Mexico. Since I was not a particularly adventurous eater in my youth, I stuck to reliable foods when traveling, ordering salad and hamburgers on rotation. One day at lunch I decided to order a caesar salad, since this had always been a favorite at home. What I didn’t know–and soon discovered, much to my horror–was that traditional caesar dressings are laced with anchovies (while I certainly wasn’t vegan or vegetarian at that age, I’ve always had a strong aversion to seafood)!
Since that vacation, I’ve been understandably wary of any salads that boast this dressing–but really, I needn’t be. What makes caesar dressing so good–and what I loved prior to the Mexico incident–is the saltiness and richness it imparts on a salad. This is my version of caesar, which approximates the original dressing (minus the fish, obvi) and uses white beans for a little protein kick. For the salad, I used what I had on hand, but if you make this, feel free to adhere to more traditional ingredients like croutons, olives, etc.
White Bean Caesar Salad
- 1 cup canned white beans
- 3/4 cup canning liquid or water
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 5-6 kalamata olives
- 3 teaspoons capers
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 date, pitted
- 2-3 cloves garlic cloves garlic
- For the salad:
- 1 head romaine lettuce
- 2 cups carrots, shredded
- 1 cup broccoli, finely chopped
- Leftover canned white beans (about 1/2 cup)
- Nutritional yeast, for topping (optional, but delicious)
1. Add all dressing ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
2. In a large bowl, add salad ingredients and toss to combine. Pour desired amount of dressing over salad and mix until evenly coated.
Also by Molly: Easy Lentil-Millet Vegan Meatballs
Related: Quinoa and Orange Spinach Salad
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Photos: Molly Lansdowne