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 (200 C) oven for about 20 minutes or so.
Creamy Cashew Caesar Dressing (makes extra)
2 Tbsp (30 mL) raw cashew butter
2 Tbsp (30 mL) filtered water
1 1/2 Tbsp (22 mL) fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cloves garlic, grated with a microplane grater
1 tsp (5 mL) Dijon mustard
1 tsp (5 mL) minced capers
1 Tbsp (15 mL) nutritional yeast
3 Tbsp (45 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt
1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets
1 tsp (5 mL) sweet paprika
1 tsp (5 mL) smoked paprika
1 tsp (5 mL) pure maple syrup
1 tsp (5 mL) apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp (2 mL) gluten-free tamari soy sauce
1 tsp (10 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 block (4 oz/114 g) tempeh, crumbled
2 tsp (10 mL) nutritional yeast
Freshly ground black pepper
To make 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.
To make 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 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.