Caesar Salad with Roasted White Sweet Potato Croutons
Happy New Year! Yes, it's officially 5778 and as we just brought in the Jewish New Year this past week, what better way to start off the year with a true classic. This has been one of my staple favorites for a long time and c'mon, who doesn't love a good Caesar salad? But this one is the "Riskyveggie" version of course!
This post is most definitely in honor of my dad!
My dad just happens to LOVES my Caesar salad and it's so sweet when he casually mentions it on the phone. "Hey Rach...next time you're in town, can you make your Caesar salad? It's just so good."
So good, and SO easy. Trust me.
There's nothing too fancy here. Just good 'ole classic Caesar salad, but with my twist of course! Instead of croutons, or even using gluten-free bread to make croutons, I opted instead to make croutons out of roasted white-fleshed sweet potatoes! Oddly enough, I can only find them at one particular grocery store here in Chicago (Mariano's to be specific), and even Whole Foods didn't have them. But if you can't find those, you can use yukon gold potatoes instead. I like the white sweet potatoes because they're not as starchy as white potatoes and not as sweet as the orange-fleshed variety. I add some olive oil, salt, pepper, and whatever herbs I have on hand. Typically I like mixing garlic powder, and Trader Joe's Onion Salt to give it that punchy flavor. Because my croutons are not going to be bland.
What makes my salad "me" is the dressing. I use homemade mayo (or if I'm feeling lazy, I'd use mayo from my favorite brand, Primal Kitchen, but it's super pricey, so I'd rather just make my own) - add in some Dijon mustard, coconut aminos (I use it for that salty flavor instead of adding Worcestershire sauce), salt, pepper, more onion salt, garlic powder (unless my mayo is super garlicky), and lemon juice. I do happen to like the salty, briny flavor of anchovies but not everyone loves that and my husband would not be so happy, so I typically omit it. I don't even use a blender - just throw the dressing ingredients into a mason jar, shake, pour. Done and done.
Sometimes I mix up the salad though - adding sun-dried tomatoes or hard-boiled eggs (my husband would definitely NOT eat it with hard-boiled eggs, not his fav), or using different greens like kale or some shredded iceberg or spinach. But there's something about roughly chopped romaine (washed thoroughly of course, for bugs), that is so comforting and so super delicious. What would be even better is if you put the whole head of romaine on the grill for that smokey flavor that would infuse the whole salad. Try it out, experiment a little! You could even put some halved lemons on the grill and drizzle some of that lemon juice over the top for a little extra kick or some grilled avocado - sliced on top of the freshly dressed salad?! Uh...YUM.
So there you go. The food of home. A classic Caesar with a little bit of a twist. Typically when I serve this salad for a Shabbat meal with friends, it's gone in seconds. I love feeding my friends and family food that people love. Because that's what it's all about. Enjoying food with our loved ones.
Oh, a little tidbit for you all. If you want to make your own mayo (which I recommend because it's insanely easy and you can really be creative with flavors), check out my "Garlic Chive Mayo" recipe here!