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Winter Caesar salad

  • Serves 4 as a light lunch, 8 as a starter
  • Easy

Make this delicious winter Caesar salad, packed full of nutritious bitter leaves by Eco Chef Tom Hunt from his cookbook, Eating for Pleasure, People & Planet.

Winter Caesar salad/Credit: Jenny Zarins

This is a plant-rich winter version of a classic Caesar salad, made using a variety of nutritious bitter leaves in place of the rather dull iceberg lettuce. Seaweed and salty capers give it a hint of the sea, as an alternative to anchovies, and grated walnuts replace the Parmesan.

Leafy winter greens (whites, reds, pinks and purples) keep us going through the coldest months of the year with nutritious, colourful and flavourful ingredients that can withstand seriously cold temperatures, making them a good source of local nutrition, including vitamins A and C and minerals iron, potassium and calcium. Market gardens and specialist farmers are growing more and more varieties from old heritage species to new colourful hybrids, including variegated purple and green kale, magenta-coloured fingers of tardivo and radicchio del Veneto, a frilly chicory dressed in pastel-pink.

This recipe was created by Eco-Chef Tom Hunt features in his new cookbook Eating for Pleasure, People & Planet. Chef Tom has collaborated with Chef Danny Jack to launch a plant-based, zero waste and Regenerative Menu Box to create a unique dining experience at home.

Eating for Pleasure, People & Planet by Tom Hunt is published by Kyle Books, £26.00, www.octopusbooks.co.uk

Here is how to make winter Caesar salad

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Ingredients

For the salad

  • Chicory (e.g. tardivo, treviso, endive), leaves picked 1 head
  • baby kale small bunch, (e.g. red Russian, redbor, cavolo nero), stalks removed and finely chopped, leaves torn into large pieces
  • seaweed 5g, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes, then drained
  • Walnuts 4–6, chopped
  • pinch of kala namak or sea salt

For the croutons

  • Garlic clove 1, crushed to a paste
  • glug of extra virgin olive oil
  • stale wholemeal sourdough (or other bread) 3 slices, cut into long batons

For the dressing

  • aquafaba 4 tbsp
  • Garlic clove 1 small
  • capers 1 tbsp, plus 1 tbsp for the salad
  • nutritional yeast 1 tbsp, optional
  • Extra virgin olive oil 100–150ml
  • unwaxed lemon juice of ½
  • Worcestershire sauce 1 tbsp

Method

How to make the dressing

  • Step 1

    To make the dressing, combine the aquafaba, garlic, capers and nutritional yeast, if using, in a food processor and blitz together.

    Keeping the motor running, carefully pour in the extra virgin olive oil through the feeder tube in a very slow, steady stream, just like mayonnaise. After a couple of minutes, when the consistency is as thick as double cream, stop adding the oil and blend in the lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce.

How to make the croutons

  • Step 1

    To make the croûtons, combine the garlic and extra virgin olive oil in a bowl. Add the bread and turn it in the garlicky oil to coat it thoroughly. Season generously with salt.

    Transfer to a frying pan and fry over a medium heat, turning occasionally, until golden brown all over. Set aside.

How to prepare the salad

  • Step 1

    To prepare the salad, combine the leaves, seaweed, croûtons and capers in a bowl. Drizzle over the dressing and turn together just once or twice so the bright colours of the leaves shine through.

    Serve immediately, topped with a generous grating of walnuts and a sprinkling of kala namak or sea salt.

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