Total time: 45 minutes || Active time: 45 minutes
Photo by Vanessa Rees
“Put some quinoa in it.” It’s almost become my motto. I mean, why not? Everything needs quinoa! Even Caesar Salad. This one really is a meal and it makes a ton because I love it as leftovers. It tastes great the day after and, honestly, still pretty darn good on day 3. But feel free to half it if need be. I am in love with the dressing; it’s creamy, garlicky, briny and tangy and just the kind of stuff you want to stick your face in.
In the video, I’m making it with breaded tofu. There’s another version in Isa Does It with tempeh croutons (pictured), but you can make it even easier (Isa-er?) by simply throwing some chickpeas on top. It’s definitely an entree salad, so pick your additional protein and have fun with it!
~I highly recommend making the quinoa a day in advance so that it’s easy to pull together on a weeknight. Soak the cashews all day so that you can just come home and whip up the dressing.
~For the roasted garlic, you can either roast a head of it a day in advance or buy some. Often big fancy places like Whole Foods will have roasted garlic cloves for sale (there are about 15 in a head) or you can even nab some from the salad bar. But honestly, although it adds another dimension of garlicky sweet deliciousness, you can forego it if need be.
For the Breaded Tofu:
3/4 cup fine storebought breadcrumbs (I use whole wheat)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed between your fingers
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed between your fingers
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
14 oz extra firm tofu, sliced into 8 slabs widthwise
3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
For The Briny Caesar Dressing:
1/2 cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours and drained
1 head roasted garlic (about 10 cloves, see tip)
2 cloves fresh garlic
1/4 cup capers, with some brine
3/4 cup water
Several dashes fresh black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
For the rest:
6 cups cooked and cooled quinoa
8 oz chopped romaine
4 oz baby arugula (or chopped arugula)
1 avocado, cut diced into 1/2 inch pieces
Make the Breaded Tofu:
Preheat a large non-stick pan, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat. On a dinner plate, use your fingertips to mix together the breadcrumbs, dried herbs and garlic. On a separate plate, pour the soy sauce.
Place a tofu slab in the soy sauce, and toss to coat. Then dredge them in the breadcrumbs, tossing to coat. (Use your dry hand to handle the tofu in the breadcrumbs, otherwise you’ll get a crumb mitten on your hand.) Put coated tofus off to the side of the plate and continue until all tofu is coated. Put a thin layer of olive oil in the pan, and then transfer tofu cubes to the pan. Let cook for a few minutes then flip, using a thin metal spatula so that you don’t scrape off the breading. Cook for about 7 minutes total, adding a little extra to the pan as needed, and flipping occasionally until browned on most sides.
Once browned, remove from pan and slice on a bias into 1/4 thick pieces.
Make the dressing:
Simply add all of the ingredients to a small blender or food processor, and puree until smooth. Scrape down the sides every now and again to make sure you get everything. Thin with a little water, if necessary. Keep tightly sealed and refrigerated until ready to use. Keeps for up to 5 days.
Assemble the salad in a very large mixing bowl. Toss the greens with the quinoa, and then add the dressing. Serve topped with tofu and avocado!
Your video was just excellent! Now I know what I’m going to prepare for my lunch guests next weekend. Thank you.,
Hilarious (and mouthwatering) video.
Sounds great! I just finished making Ceasar Chavez dressing and plan to have it your Lap salad, which, I was already planning to throw some Quinoa on it!!
I really wish you had your own show. You are hilarious!
Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
Mmm what a fabulous salad! Looks awesome!
Wow, is all I can say. Totally making this for an upcoming “friendsgiving” party. Thanks for the inspiration! Loved the video : )
Isa, these videos are the best ever! You are so funny and such a natural in front of the camera.
We made this tonight with chickpeas instead of the tempeh (laziness). This is definitely an outstanding salad. The recipe made a lot, but we three pigs gobbled it all up.
This salad was amazing. Just had it for dinner. The dressing was wonderful. So tangy and creamy. We ate it with some steamed broccoli on the side, and the broccoli was pretty tasty dipped in some of the dressing. Thank you, Isa, for all of your wonderful recipes, website, and videos. You make my vegan journey and love of cooking fun and tasty all at the same time.
Oh goooood. I’m so excited to make this. I just made a big ol’ batch of seitan and I think I may bread the seitan since I’m out of tofu. I may just use almond milk w/ cornstarch as the battering liquid. I don’t think seitan needs more soy sauce.
My taste test for all vegan restaurants is the Caesar salad. This looks like a winner. I do caution that once avocado is in a salad it won’t work as left overs. The avocado gets the greens black and gross. So if you have more than you think can be consumed, put the avocado on individual servings, not on top of the whole bowl full.
z0mg, best one yet!!
I made this last night using the breaded tofu like in the video and it was SO GOOD, you guys. I forgot I was eating salad because it was like, so good and stuff. My BF flipped out about how good it was, and he doesn’t like anything. Win, win, win. Caesar for everyone.
I made this last night, and I must say that this is the best caesar dressing yet!! OMG!! It’s freakin’ PERFECT! Great video, too, btw. 🙂
Seriously…let’s get married. I will cook for you every night as long as you give me all your books with directions, and you talk to me the entire time I’m cooking.
Love the video! What type of quinoa are you using in the video? It looked more reddish than the variety I usually find at the grocery store…
Hilarious as always. But why can’t I hit people?
It is hard to talk my husband into being excited for a salad recipe. The video did it though!
I made this last night and it was delicious! Instead of roasting garlic, I used sweet fermented black garlic (which Trader Joe’s has started selling!). It made the dressing a bit browner in color, but it was delicious.
Is there something I could use in place of the cashews? I’m allergic to nuts
since i saw this picture i started using quinoa in every kind of salad, it just work flawlessly!
Made this last night with chickpeas (lazy) and just romaine, because it’s what I had on hand. This salad is crazy good. I hated Caesar salad when I wasn’t vegan, but now I am kind of obsessed. The dressing definitely gave me Buffy breath, which is totally okay because I don’t care and I love garlic. Thanks for another amazing salad recipe! You never fail to inspire me and make me stoked about food.
The entire thing was AWESOME but we absolutely adored the tofu! I made it with lemon pepper panko breading and it was AMAZING! My kiddos loved it and so did the hubby! Thank you so much! Please, please, please continue to post more videos!
i made this for lunch for myself and my girlfriend who normally dislikes tofu, but she LOVED this! she could not stop raving about how good it was, and the breaded tofu was her fave part! thanks for an awesome recipe, A+++!
I made this over the weekend for my family. Your dressing recipe……is simply amazing. I am not a fan of capers, but I knew the briny flavor would make the dressing (and that my Vitamix would pummel it into creamy goodness). The flavor was awesome! We were all oooooo’ing and ahhhhh’ing the whole time. I mean…..when you talk about your meal the entire time you’re eating it, it must be special, right? You are a genius, Isa! All I want for the holiday is your new cookbook, and I hope Santa is listening .
And yes, you need a full-time show! Mkay?? I love your videos.
Damn that’s good. Thank you.
I just made this and it was perfect. The dressing had the perfect hint of lemon and great consistency. All my experiences with tofu haven’t been good, until now. Thanks!
And that is why the minute I win a million dollars, I’m hiring a live-in chef.
Thank you so much for this amazing looking recipe! I love healthy recipes and I will look forward to trying it out and sharing it with my followers at TianaGustafson.com. As Arnold says “I’ll be back” 🙂 Thanks again!
Can’t wait to make this, Isa. You make it so easy to be vegan and to make things my omni husband will eat without protest. Thanks for being awesome 🙂
Simple to make. I like it 🙂
Thank you! You have made my transition to vegan fantastic over the past two years. Along with your Jerk Sloppy Joes, this is another favorite. Thanks again!
Thank you for introducing me to the best salad ever. Omg. I love you.
That video was hilarious! I was laughing alone in my living room watching it. I’m already cooking from Isa Does It practically every day but now I’m going to change my priorities and make this in the next couple of days!
I didn’t make the entire salad yet but did manage to make the briny caesar dressing to use over some romaine lettuce leaves.
All I can say is OH MY GOSH!
Wow hun, you’ve pretty much nailed the dressing! Absolutely divine.
Thank you so much!
I have the same question as one other commenter…where/how do you get crunchy brown quinoa? Mine is pale and definitely not crisp. Even with my mushy beige quinoa this was very good to the point I foundered. I didn’t have capers on hand so subbed citrus-stuffed olives…incredibly good dressing!
This was delicious. My non-vegan friends and family loved it.
Long time fan but first time commenting. Since going vegan a year ago, I have seriously missed Caesar dressing but your recipe just blew me away. After tasting it, I had one of those, “This can’t be vegan” moments. It’s cheezy, garlicky, and creamy just like Caesar should be. This was also my first time making crispy breaded tofu and they came out fantastic. With the beautiful red quinoa, this makes a seriously wonderful presentation. I love your videos and I love sharing your fantastic recipes with my non-vegan friends and family.
I made this recipe yesterday, with fresh spinach and rocket instead of the lettuce and without the avocado,but none the less I loved it!! I am not a vegan, but I try to eat consiously and I was really positively surprised, especially by the dressing!! Thanks for sharing the recipe!
Oh yes, I will enjoy making this quinoa dish. Thanks
Every time I make a vegan caesar salad dressing the nutritional yeast really ruins it for me. I really just cannot enjoy the taste of it no matter how much I try. Is there a substitute I can use instead or can I just leave it out?
“every single goddess needs garlic breath” omg it’s so true
So DELICIOUS! Easy to make and yummy to eat. I love this recipe. Whole Foods has cheap vegan breadcrumbs. The crispy breaded tofu with the dressing tastes just like a grilled chicken ceasar salad. Make sure to fully press the tofu ahead of time though.
Luscious! Had my 7-year old – a notoriously picky eater – gobble up dinner in a hilariously non-picky way!
Sooooooo delish!! I knew it would be, but still! My boyfriend and I could NOT stop eating this. Took leftover dressing to work for co-workers to try–I think it’s better than most regular caesar dressings. Thank you Isa! We are looking forward to having it again tonight = )
Man that is some magical dressing.