The New Year has resurrected inspiration to eat and live more conscientiously. I’d been slipping into lazy habits by the end of the year: bagels for breakfast, too many cafeteria or take out lunches, processed snacks (life in Philly means an abundance of soft pretzels that are all too inciting at 2 pm when the workday seems it may never end). It was time to reclaim my pantry and my diet. The Instant Pot made breakfasts easy (stay tuned), but snacks…If you have a sweet tooth there are an abundance of WFPB muffins, cookies, and other sweet treats to choose from. However, I would rather have french fries and hot sauce, salt and vinegar potato chips, or the ultimate in gas station comfort foods – Andy Capp’s Hot Fries. Salty treats require a bit of thought. This week I replaced my afternoon snack with homemade tomato soup and my evening snack with salad.
Isa Chandra Moskowowitz’s Briny Caesar Dressing, from Isa Does It, is a gift from the Lords to help you want salad for dessert. This is not to imply that salad is a replacement for the aforementioned Hot Fries. It is not and I always hate those ridiculous infographs “want a cookie, have a banana”. No. That said if you are making a conscientious decision to choose a healthier alternative, this is a salty, savory, satisfying addition to make your veggies delectable.
The creaminess of this dressing comes from soaked cashews. Raw, unsalted cashews soaked in water are commonly used in vegan dishes to make them creamy. Here the cashews are pureed with roasted garlic, capers, lemon juice and nutritional yeast to make a caesar dressing. The recipe makes about 1.5 cups of dressing and calls for only 2 tablespoons of olive oil. The end result is a lovely, delicious dressing, thick enough to coat your greens quite nicely ensuring every bite is flavorful. It is quite garlicky; the recipe calls for a whole head of garlic, but that is roasted garlic making it less abrasive. I did not make the caesar salad the dressing was meant to accompany per the cookbook. Instead my salad was mixed greens of arugula, spinach and radicchio with tomato, cucumber, hot banana peppers and radishes. I haven’t had radishes since I was young (my father loves the peppery vegetables), but the adorable bunches at the grocery were calling to me and they added some texture and peppery goodness to the salad.
New Recipes 2014: 2