By Laurel Borrowman, Life & Style Editor
If you’ve come here looking for a recipe that’s going to flush five pounds of fat from your belly between the time you start reading this to the time you finish, you’re in the wrong place. It’s the time of the year when we’re bombarded with messages to shape up, be better, live healthier, and so on, but I’m not here to beat you with those messages.
I understand why people make resolutions for the new year, but I don’t really believe in them, simply because if there’s something you want to change, change it. No matter what time of year. Especially when it comes to food. So, because you’re probably making an effort now to cut out all fat, carbs, dairy, and everything else that isn’t spinach, blueberries, and water, I’d like to offer a recipe for the in-between. Something that’s healthy, but tasty, and not far from the norm for many normal people.
Plain old Caesar salad; a favourite, typically even for those folks who hate salad. There’s something about that creamy garlicky flavour that appeals to even the biggest lettuce hater. And while many people don’t know traditional Caesar salad dressing contains anchovies, that extra briny flavour would sure be missed if you nixed those little fish.
If you recall the great Earl’s scandal from a few years back, revealing the ever-popular Earl’s Warm Grilled Chicken Caesar contained over 1000 calories (1120, by my most recent inspection), you know that a typical salad may not be the health kick you are looking for. Fear not, because there’s a solution.
The following recipe comes from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, an entirely vegan cookbook packed with recipes for people who want hearty, filling, delicious food—animal free—without skimping on taste and substance. This recipe is one of my favourites. It tastes better than any other Caesar salad I’ve ever had. It’s even more garlicky, and, yes, there’s no gross anchovies in it. The capers replace the fish, silken tofu and oil create the creamy base, and the almonds are a lot like the parmesan or pecorino cheese usually used with your classic Caesar.
So, while this isn’t necessarily the lowest calorie alternative to your extreme resolution food for this week, I guarantee it’s indeed healthy in moderation (as are many foods), and something you’ll want to stick with once January feels as long gone as 2012. Enjoy!
1/3 cup slivered or sliced blanched almonds
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3/4¾ pound silken tofu
1/4¼ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 heaping tablespoon capers
4 teaspoons caper brine
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
salt (to taste)
1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped
Freshly cracked black pepper
Handful or two of spinach and arugula, torn into bite-sized pieces
To prep the dressing: Pulse the sliced almonds in a food processor or blender until crumbly. Empty into an airtight container big enough to store the rest of the finished dressing. Blend garlic, tofu, and oil until creamy. Add lemon juice, capers, caper brine, sugar, and mustard powder, and pulse until blended. Adjust lemon juice and salt to taste. Pour into container with the ground almonds. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Place greens in a large bowl and ladle chilled dressing over, tossing until greens are covered. Top with croutons, nuts, or other garnish if desired. Crunch. Munch. Feel good about it. Enjoy.