this post is sponsored by cans get you cooking. thank you for supporting the partnerships that allow brewing happiness to grow and exist. xoxo.
The caesar salad is a classic dish that I have yet to health-ify. Until today. So I present to you this (vegetarian) Chickpea Caesar Salad with Tofu Caesar Dressing, that can easily be made vegan by subbing nutritional yeast for parmesan cheese. I added canned hearts of palm and black olives for some easy flavor and pizzaz.
The tofu dressing is easily made by blending together tofu, olive oil, lemon juice, spicy brown mustard, capers, salt and pepper. Boom. It’s super easy, and doesn’t include small fish (which creeps me out about traditional caesar salads.) It’s a nice easy option.
I partnered with Cans Get You Cooking on this recipes, because I think that using canned chickpeas, as well as canned hearts of palm and black olives helps to amp up both the flavors and the ease of this meal. I love that cans provide year-round access to my favorite vegetables and keep food fresh and flavorful. By utilizing these canned foods and flavors you can easily meal prep this salad for the whole week in no time. And bonus, you’ll be on your way to getting the recommended weekly serving of veggies!
Simply leave out the toasted bread and dressing if meal prepping. When getting ready to leave for the day or just before eating – toast your bread and drizzle on your dressing!
Here are a couple of recipe notes in order to create the BEST caesar salad…
- If your tofu dressing sits in the fridge long enough to become thick and hard to drizzle, simply re-blend and it will become dressing consistency again.
- Use whatever lettuce you want. I found some beautiful romaine at my local farmers’ market, but you could mix it up with kale or butter lettuce or spinach!
- Bread is your choice, as well. I happened to have some challah leftover from Rosh Hashanah, so I used that. But you can use any bread you want. Day old bread is best!
Chickpea Caesar Salad
This Chickpea Caesar Salad with Tofu Dressing, utilizes canned chickpeas, hearts of palm, and black olives to make a simple and flavorful vegetarian meal!
- 1 15 oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 shallot, sliced thinly
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 heaping cups day-old bread, cubed
- 1 head romaine lettuce
- 1/2 14 oz can hearts of palm, drained and sliced thinly
- 1/2 6 oz black olives, drained and sliced thinly
- grated parmesan cheese, to taste (sub nutritional yeast if vegan)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
Tofu Caesar Dressing
- 3.5 oz firm tofu, drained
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 2 tsp spicy brown mustard
- 2 tsp capers
- 2 tsp grated parmesan cheese (sub nutritional yeast if vegan)
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp olive oil, drained and rinsed chickpeas, shallot, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Toss occasionally for about 5 minutes, or until the chickpeas are slightly browned and crispy.
In a second skillet, add 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 heaping cups of cubed bread. Heat over medium-high heat and toss often until golden brown and toasted.
In a blender or food processor, add all of your tofu caesar dressing ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Blend again. Set aside.
In a large bowl, add romaine leaves (chopped or whole, depending on how you want to serve the salad), sautéd chickpeas, toasted bread, hearts of palm, black olives, and parmesan cheese. Drizzle with dressing and toss salad until well coated.
Divide into bowls, sprinkle with sunflower seeds, and serve.
Tofu Caesar Dressing adapted from this recipe.
Let’s talk about our hobbies. Do you have them? That may sound like a joke of a question, but I think most of us have given up on our hobbies. (No, Netflix doesn’t count as a hobby. Scrolling on insta doesn’t either.)
I’ve been doing some reassessing recently, and realized that I didn’t have a single hobby in my life. Photography used to be one, then it became my job. Writing used to be one, then it became my job. Cooking used to be one, but then it became my job. Slowly but surely I became so busy that I didn’t have time for anything extra in my life. My days were the same.
Work. Relax by watching tv or reading. Occasionally see friends. Sleep. Repeat. Nothing to challenge or inform or expand my mind. Just the same day to day life.
What happened to coloring? Or playing make believe when we were kids? Or writing poetry? Or really anything that involves our hands? Or challenging our brains?
I understand that free time is a luxury and a privilege. Not all of us have the time to pursue such things. But I’d also venture to guess that most of us could *make time* if we tried. Use more cans in your cooking, so that you have more time for hobbies! Or sign up for a class, so that you feel obligated to show up. There are a myriad of ways to create more time in your day. The trick is to not fill that time with something mindless or more work.
I recently started taking ceramics classes. I am not innately good at it. I am having to use parts of my brain I have not used in quite a while. It’s tough to be a student again. It’s tough to fail in front of other people. It’s tough to learn a new art form.
But I also feel awakened in a way that I haven’t in quite some time. I am forcing myself to use my brain in a unique way. I am forcing myself to adapt. It’s allowing me to gain new perspective and even see my other work in a different way. In my free time I find myself watching youtube videos on wheel throwing, instead of mindlessly scrolling on my phone. I even had a dream about ceramics last night!
Having a hobby might seem like a lot of work. It might seem unattainable with all you have in your life. You might think that you can’t afford the time or money it takes to have a hobby. And you might be right. But mostly I’d venture to guess that you’re making excuses.
When we were children hobbies cost next to nothing – coloring, sewing, making up dances, etc. Sadly, I think phones and computers have stripped us of our boredom and therefore stripped us of our hobbies. It’s tragic that we’ve lost the art form. We’re losing touch with an incredibly important part of ourselves. We’re losing touch with our creativity. With our adaptability. With our ability to learn and grow.
It might seem strange for a food and health blogger to spend time encouraging you to get a hobby, but when you consider health as a whole I think it makes total sense. Think about it like this – we use the same phrases to describe eating as we do to describe pondering. “Chew on it.” “Digest that.” We mull over ideas the same way we mull wine.
These phases hint at a larger connection – between our bodies and our minds. Health doesn’t just include what we eat, but also our mental health and emotional health. Both are equally as important. So if were devoting time to eating healthy, we should also be devoting time to our minds. That’s why I’m convinced we all need to get hobbies. It’s like healthy eating for your brain.
Go forth and hobby. xo.