Festive Vegan Caesar Salad
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Festive Vegan Caesar Salad

This festive vegan caesar salad is a crowd-pleaser that's brimming with flavor and eye appeal. Chopped romaine and lacinato kale get tossed in a rich and creamy cashew caesar dressing. The salad is then topped with oodles of pepita parmesan, roasted delicata squash, and pomegranate seeds. This dish makes an ideal holiday side dish or first course!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, plant-based, Vegan
Servings: 6 to 8 side salad portions
Author: Ashley

Ingredients

Festive Vegan Caesar Salad

  • 1 large delicata squash, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced into half-moon shapes*
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large head romaine lettuce (about 7 ounces), thoroughly washed, patted dry, and chopped
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale, thoroughly washed, patted dry, stemmed, and chopped
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups pomegranate seeds (seeds from about 1 large pomegranate)

Vegan Pepita Parmesan

  • 1/3 cup raw pepitas**
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1/4 teaspoon + 1/8 teaspoon sea salt or to taste

Vegan Cashew Caesar Dressing

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours before blending***
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 2 teaspoon capers (drained)
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

Festive Caesar Salad

  • Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Add the delicata squash to the pan, drizzle with the olive oil, and toss to coat. Spread the squash into an even layer in the pan. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until tender (but not mushy) and beginning to caramelize.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the other salad elements.
  • Add the romaine and kale to a large serving bowl or platter.
  • Set the pomegranate seeds and roasted delicata squash aside for the time being.

For the Vegan Pepita Parmesan

  • Add all ingredients to a small food processor and pulse until ground ground into a texture that resembles grated parmesan cheese. 

For the Vegan Cashew Caesar Dressing

  • Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender, and blend on high for 3 minutes, or until super smooth and creamy.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more sea salt and black pepper to taste.
  • To Assemble
  • Drizzle the greens with as much of the dressing as desired (I recommend starting with about half and adding to taste from there), and toss to thoroughly coat. 
  • Sprinkle on the parmesan and toss again.
  • Top with the pomegranate seeds and delicata squash.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

*If you can't find delicata squash, substitute a large sweet potato (peeled and cubed) or small butternut squash (peeled, halved, seeded, and cubed). **Or use 1/3 cup raw cashews. ***To keep this recipe nut-free, swap out the cashews for shelled hemp seeds.