Have the vegans in your life enlightened you as to the wonder of aquafaba? Aquafaba is, quite simply, chickpea juice. It’s typically used as a substitute for egg whites but we’re using this liquid gold to create a mayo-like base for my Caesar salad dressing. The popped chickpeas stand in for croutons, offering a crispy, gluten-free alternative to the traditional, carb-ridden cube. The soft-boiled eggs, whether they turn out jammy or fudgy or creamy, add a luscious pop of color. Finish the salad with a heavy-handed grate of parmesan cheese and you’ve just put Meatless Monday back on the map!
Start by getting your water boiling in a medium pot and placing a large sauté pan over super high heat.
Meanwhile, head to the blender, open your cans of chickpeas, and drain the chickpea juice into the blender. Don’t forget to tell your vegan friends that you started your Caesar dressing with aquafaba, they’ll be impressed, it’s super hot in their world right now.
Get those eggs fudgy
Now let’s focus on our eggs, we want these guys to be fudgy, luscious. Check out the thumbtack tip below before boiling the eggs. Lower the eggs into the boiling water with a slotted spoon. To soft boil the eggs, we’re aiming for a 7 ½ minute cook time. If they cook longer, don’t stress, nobody’s perfect, they will still be delicious.
Remove the eggs from water with a slotted spoon and place into a colander. Immediately place the eggs under cold running water to shock them, stopping the cooking process and making them easier to peel. Now peel and halve the eggs, oh so fudgy and lush.
Crisp the chickpeas
Next let’s add olive oil to the sauté pan, enough to coat the bottom, approximately ¼ cup. Add the chickpeas to the pan, toss to coat, and season generously with salt. Here’s where you could add optional aromatics to your chickpeas by sprinkling in some cumin, paprika, garlic, or parmesan cheese to elevate the flavor. Be sure to check on your chickpeas occasionally and give them a quick, chefy toss. If your tossing skills are sub-par, see the tossing tip below.
Now for the dressing, blend the aquafaba on high for about 15 seconds, until mixture is light and frothy. Then add mustard, anchovies (see anchovy tip below if you dislike anchovies), anchovy oil, garlic, parmesan chunk, sprinkle of salt, red wine vinegar, and blend on high for about 15 seconds. Turn the blender down to low and slowly stream in about ½ cup olive oil to create an emulsion. Stop for a quick taste test, add salt if needed. Now crank the blender back up to high and, all at once, add the remaining oil. Once the oil is mixed well you can turn off your blender, the dressing is now complete.
Grab your large shallow bowl and fill it with the gem lettuce (check out the salad greens tip for storing below). Top the salad greens with the halved eggs, grated parmesan cheese, and a pinch of salt.
Back to the chickpeas, grab a clean kitchen towel and dump them out onto the towel to dry and crisp. Using only half of the chickpeas, dot them all over the salad. Next drizzle the creamy Caesar dressing all over the greens, eggs, and chickpeas. To plate your beautiful, meatless creation, stack the salad nice and tall, toss on a few extra chickpeas, grate a bit more parmesan cheese, and hit it with a quick grind of black pepper for your finale.
Save the eggshells! Add them to your garden or compost bin to enrich the soil.