Tofu Caesar Salad with “Creamy” Tahini Dressing
I have long been a fan of a good Caesar salad, but haven’t found myself making it that often in recent years. However, the creation one afternoon of this absolute winner of a salad dressing (entirely plant-based yet so creamy and cheesy) meant one thing: We’d be having a deliciously crispy Caesar for lunch. It was full of contrasting textures and flavours, and so brilliantly filling. I used crispy tofu, but of course, you can always use sautéed or leftover chicken for a more traditional take.
Tip: I urge you to make a double quantity of the dressing. It will keep well for a week in the fridge in a clear jam jar and positively perks up simple steamed vegetables.
For the crispy tofu:
- 280g block firm tofu
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
For the croutons:
- 2 thick slices sourdough, ripped into rough, bitesize chunks
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper
For the salad:
- 2 Romaine (or Iceburg) lettuce, washed & leaves separated
- ½ bunch chives, chopped
- 30g parmesan cheese, shaved (omit if plant-based)
- 4 anchovy fillets, sliced into thin strips (optional – omit if plant-based)
For the dressing:
- 60g tahini
- 125ml warm water
- 15g nutritional yeast
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
Wrap the tofu in a clean tea towel and place onto a plate or tray with a lip. Place something heavy on top, I pop a few jars or cans from the cupboard into a large saucepan and use that as a weight. Leave to drain for at least 30 minutes.
Whilst the tofu is draining, make your croutons.
Preheat oven to 180ºC. Drizzle the oil over the sourdough and season with salt and pepper, toss together until the bread is coated in the oil then tip onto a baking tray. Bake for 8-10 mins or until the croutons are golden and crunchy. Leave on the tray to cool.
Next, mix together the cornflour and salt and set to one side.
Once the tofu has drained, chop it into cubes, around 2cm. Place the tofu into a mixing bowl and drizzle over the oil, tossing it together with your hands to make sure it’s evenly coated. Add the cornflour mix and continue to gently toss together until the tofu is coated with flour.
Spread the tofu onto a baking tray, making sure that none of the cubes are touching each other, and bake for 15 minutes. Use tongs to carefully flip over the tofu and bake for a further 10-15 minutes or until golden and crispy.
To make the dressing, place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Add more water until you reach your desired consistency (I like mine easily pourable, the consistency of double cream).
To serve, toss the lettuce, chives and half of the crispy tofu with a few tablespoons of the dressing. Tip into a serving bowl, scatter over the remaining tofu, croutons, parmesan and anchovies, if using. Drizzle over a little more dressing and serve.
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