On a trip to Montreal with friends, we shared a broccoli-based “Caesar” salad as a starter plate. It featured a whole broccoli stalk that had been charred on a grill, finished in the oven and then smothered in Caesar dressing. It was so good that I would have fought everyone at the table for the last bite. The smoky tempeh makes this a more filling vegetable course, too.
I blanch the broccoli here, but I’ve also prepared this salad with roasted broccoli florets as a warm salad. Just place the florets on a baking sheet, toss with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in a 400 F oven for about 20 minutes or so.
Creamy Cashew Caesar Dressing (makes extra)
2 Tbsp raw cashew butter
2 Tbsp filtered water
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cloves garlic, grated with a microplane grater
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp minced capers
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt
1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp gluten-free tamari soy sauce
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 block (4 oz) tempeh, crumbled
2 tsp nutritional yeast
Freshly ground black pepper
Make the Creamy Cashew Caesar Dressing: In jar with tight-fitting lid, combine cashew butter, water, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir with a spoon or small spatula until cashew butter is broken up. Mash chunks of cashew butter against sides of jar to get it as integrated as possible. Add garlic, Dijon mustard, capers, nutritional yeast and olive oil. Tightly secure lid, and shake jar vigorously until dressing has a smooth and creamy consistency. Set aside.
Make the salad: Bring large saucepan of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add a fat pinch of salt and broccoli florets, and simmer until broccoli is just tender and bright green, about 4 minutes. Drain broccoli and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
In small bowl, stir together paprika, smoked paprika, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and tamari. Set aside.
Dry saucepan and return it to stove over medium heat. Add oil and let it heat through until shimmering slightly. Add crumbled tempeh, spreading it out to a single layer. Let it sit and brown for a full 2 minutes. Then stir it up, and let it sit for another full minute. Pour paprika mixture into pan. It should sizzle quite a bit. Stir to coat all of the tempeh. Remove from heat.
Place broccoli on serving platter. Drizzle Creamy Cashew Caesar Dressing overtop. Scatter smoky tempeh bits overtop as well. Garnish with some nutritional yeast and freshly ground black pepper to finish. Serve immediately.