Now, I LOOOOOVE salads.  I'm the type that can {and does} eat salads for breakfast, so for this to be a favorite really says something.  It means even more, though, when non-salad eaters scarf this salad down and come back for seconds. 


What makes this the type of salad that might just upstage your other grilled/ BBQ offerings?

- The crisp chill of the romaine lettuce that says protected from the heat

- The warm char of the of the wilted lettuce leaves that rest on the grill

- The absence of raw eggs or anchovies (even non-Vegans usually don't love those two recipe components!) 

- The chewy, crunchy taste of the fresh ciabatta croutons


Garlic Croutons

- 1 Loaf Ciabatta Bread, cut into large cubes (another crusty bread will do, but ciabatta has a nice amount of crust for these hearty croutons) 

- 2 Cloves Garlic, minced (I've used garlic powder in a pinch) 

- 2-4 T. Olive Oil, for tossing

- 1/4 t. Salt

Mix garlic, olive oil, and salt.  Toss bread in oil mixture and bake at 400F for 10-15 minutes, tossing once or twice to brown and crisp all sides.  Set aside.

Vegan Caesar Dressing

- 1/3 C. Tofu, drained (I've used both soft and firm tofu.  I prefer the firm, but soft will work too. Use Organic or Non-GMO)

- 1 Medium Lemon, seeded & squeezed, about 2-3T. juice

- 1 t. Worcestershire (Note: Lea & Perrins contains anchovies, opt for a vegan version)

- 1 Clove Garlic, roughly chopped

- 2-4 T. Capers, drained (use more or less to taste. . . these impart the salty flavor to replace the anchovies) 

- 1/4 C. Olive Oil (I try to use as little as possible. . . you'll be putting oil directly on the lettuce too) 

- Fresh Ground Pepper (to taste) 

Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender and pulse until well combined and creamy.  Set aside.

The Salad

- 3 Whole Heads of Romaine Lettuce, rinsed, but left intact 

- 2-4 T. Olive Oil, for brushing

Slice the entire head of lettuce in half lengthwise, leaving the inedible stem intact.  Brush or drizzle the cut side with olive oil (to prevent sticking to the grill. Place the 6 segments of lettuce cut and oiled side down directly onto a hot grill, taking care to not let them catch on fire.  Remove after the lettuce is charred and slightly wilted on the underside, but still crispy topside.  This takes about 5-8 minutes, depending on your grill. 

Cut the lettuce leaves, removing the stems.  Toss with the dressing and croutons.  Serve immediately. 

Important notes: Leave the lettuce in the fridge until you're ready to stick it on the grill. You can use packaged croutons, but I think that the homemade croutons are so very worth that little extra effort.

Lemme know what you think!  How did it turn out?  


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