Buffalo Caesar Salad...Or Your New BFF
As we venture into a cooler and chiller season my mind almost immediately starts fantasizing about comfort food and forgets all about the salads I’ve been enjoying all summer long. BUT what if you could have the best of both worlds? What if you could have comfort food and salad? Enter my Buffalo Caesar Salad!
In my early 20’s I throughly enjoyed my fair share of collage nights hanging out at the local pub with some friends munching on some crispy deep fried hot wings, a pint in hand and a caesar salad on the side….you know just to add a few veggies! But not a lot of those things (actually pretty much none) are something that have carried over into my late 20’s/early 30’s and the way I live my life now. I enjoy being in bed early, without a beer belly, and the feeling of greasy food just sitting there in the pit of my stomach far more than I can ever explain. BUT that does not mean that I don’t miss the sharp flavour of creamy garlicky dressing combined with the spike of heat…. *SERIOUSLY INSERT ME DROOLING ON MY KEY BOARD*…And that dear madame and sir is exactly what this salad bowl gives you, but without the sickly greasy feeling of traditional pub food!
I know that your probably thinking that a salad recipe is the last thing that you need with the chillier weather settling in, BUT thats the thing…..this salad is perfect for whenever! It has a enough heat (and also seasonal appropriate veggies) in it that it does not becoming cooling like all those summer salads your phasing out right now. It’s a mix of two very common and traditionally favourite comfort foods. Can easily be made vegan. Is a great way to get your veggies in during the cooler months. AND it’s something you can totally eat just as it is for a meal on it’s own, OR bring to a low key potluck/dinner party to pair and share! BASICALLY what I am trying to say is that this isn’t your average salad…nope definitely not!
Ohhhh and did I mention it also pairs very well with some crispy Sweet Potato Fries if you are craving a little bit more ;)
Buffalo Caesar Salad
Buffalo Cauliflower Ingredients (for 4 servings):
1 medium head of Cauliflower
1/2 cup Arrowroot Flour
2 Eggs (or for vegan option use 1/2 cup plant based milk)
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Chili Powder
1/4 cup of your favourite hot sauce
Casear Dressing Ingredients (for 4 servings):
1/2 cup Sunflower Seeds soaked over night (or for 4 hours)
2 cloves Garlic
1 Lemon juiced
1 tsp Dijon Mustard (grainy works best)
1/3 cup Olive Oil
1 tbsp Dulse OR Capers (I personally use Dulse for the added benefit of Iodine for my Thyroid/Hormones)
1/4 cup Water (add more if you like a thinner dressing)
Salad Ingredients (for 4 servings):
I bunch Black Kale (or your favourite type of kale, OR for different textures can do kale/romaine mix)
1 tbsp Olive Oil
4 Soft Boiled Eggs cut into pieces (omit for vegan option)
Optional Extra Toppings: canned (or soaked/cooked) chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, nutritional yeast, or crispy tofu
The How To:
In a small bowl combine the arrowroot flour, garlic, chilli powder, salt and pepper. In a separate small bowl crack your 2 eggs and whisk together, or simple pour plant based milk. In another bowl place your hot sauce and set aside for later. Prep your head of cauliflower by washing and cutting into desired bite sized pieces.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Start “battering” your cauliflower by placing piece by piece first in the egg wash (or milk wash), then into the flour/spice mix, and then finally onto the lined cookies sheet. Continue this step till all cauliflower is “battered”, giving each space on the cookie sheet and then place cookie sheet in oven. Depending on how big your head of cauliflower is you might need to use 2 cookie sheets as you DO NOT want to crowd the cauliflower during baking.
Bake for 17 minutes before flipping each piece ONCE and baking for another 5-7 minutes OR until crispy BUT not burnt. Remove from oven and place baked cauliflower into bowl with your hot sauce and toss until each piece is coated. Pour back onto baking sheet and bake for another 3-4 minutes before removing and letting cool slightly.
While your cauliflower is in the over you can begin to prep your salad dressing. Start by placing the lemon juice, garlic, sunflower seeds, olive oil, dijon, and water in a high speed blender and blend until fully combined and creamy. Then add in your dulse/capers and s&p to taste. Blend for 2-3 more seconds and then pour into a mason jar or small bowl and set aside. You DO NOT want to over blend the dulse/capers as not only does this add to the look of the dressing but it will also make it very fishy tasting.
Start prepping your kale by separating the leaves from the stem by simply placing your thumb on one side of the steam at the bottom of the leaf and your index and middle finger on the other side and gently pulling up along the stem to top of leaf. Once all your leaves/stems have been separated place leaves together and roll together until they somewhat resemble a cigar (you can place the stems in a container/bag in the fridge and use in smoothies, juices or broths) and using the chiffonade cutting technique cut into fine shredded pieces.
Place kale into a medium bowl,or your serving bowl and add your olive oil and a pinch of salt over top (if using romaine as well add after this step). Place hands in the bowl and gently massage and work salt/oil into kale leaves until leaves are all coated with salt/oil and are slightly wilted. This helps with digestibility of kale and also makes it more palatable for those who aren’t the biggest fans of its “green” taste.
Once cauliflower is out of the oven and slightly cooled you can assemble your salad! To assemble simple pour the dressing onto your prepped kale and mix. Top with your Buffalo Cauliflower, eggs (if using) and any other optional toppings you choose to add!