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VEGAN CHICKEN CAESER SALAD
Did you know that these bad boys are not actually named after a Roman Emperor? Nope. Caesar salads get their name from one Caesar Cardini, an Italian chef who immigrated to the US after WWI. Despite having a home in San Diego, the Cardini family operated a restaurant in Tijuana because of prohibition. Many Americans would go to Tijuana to drink, so business for restaurants at that time in Tijuana was booming. According to Caesar’s daughter, on July 4th, 1924, Caesar was running short on supplies due to an unexpected rush of customers. In order to not have to turn customers away, he created a salad and dressing out of some of the remaining ingredients he had lying around.
In our version, we’re using our good friend - the king oyster mushroom - to recreate the taste and texture of chicken. It’s so easy to pull apart into chicken-y chunks and you can find them in most Asian supermarkets.
- 9 king oyster mushrooms
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp chicken seasoning
- 200g un-sliced seeded brown bread (inch cubes)
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp dried italian herbs
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- Salt and pepper
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 60g mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Zest & juice of ½ lemon
- 1 tbsp water to loosen
- 300g Romaine lettuce
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast to top (optional)
- Roasting tin lined with parchment paper
- Baking tray lined with parchment paper
- Mixing bowl
Preheat oven to 180°C
First, prepare the “chicken”. Cut the caps off the king oyster mushrooms and finely slice them. Pull the prongs of two forks along the length of the mushroom stems, roughly tearing them into 1-2 inch long matchsticks. Put the mushrooms in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle over the chicken seasoning and toss to combine making sure mushroom is evenly coated with the flavouring. Put the roasting tin into the oven and roast for 25-30 minutes.
Now make the croutons. Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes. Add the olive oil, Italian herbs, garlic powder and a pinch of salt and pepper to a bowl and stir to combine. Add the bread to the bowl and toss to combine, making sure the cubes are well covered. Spread the cubes out on a baking tray, put the tray in the oven and bake for 15 minutes until golden and crispy.
Now make the salad dressing. Grate the garlic clove. Put the garlic, nutritional yeast, egg free mayonnaise, white wine vinegar, lemon zest and juice in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Taste the dressing and season to perfection with salt and pepper. Add a splash of water to the mixture if the sauce needs loosening.
Assemble the salad. Trim and roughly chop the lettuce. Add the lettuce, the pulled oyster mushrooms and half the croutons to the bowl and toss to combine. Sprinkle the remaining croutons, and second tbsp of nutritional yeast (if using) over the Caesar Salad and serve immediately.