Vegetarian Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad With Toasted Nori Flakes

Legend has it that this renowned salad was created in 1924 by Italian chef Caesar Cardini who owned a restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico. Classically, the salad is tossed with a garlic vinaigrette dressing made with Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, grated Parmesan cheese, croutons, a raw or coddled egg, and anchovies. This more healthful version tastes incredibly like the original-but contains no eggs, dairy products, or anchovies, and it’s simple to make using basic pantry staples.


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake them until they are dry and lightly toasted, about 15 minutes. (The croutons will not reach their full crispness until they have cooled.) Set the croutons aside. 

To make the dressing, place the nutritional yeast flakes, tahini, mustard, and garlic in a medium mixing bowl, and stir them together to make a paste. Gradually add the lemon juice, soy sauce, and water, stirring vigorously with a wire whisk until the dressing is very smooth. 

To assemble the salad, place the lettuce leaves in a large mixing bowl. (The larger the better to facilitate tossing.) Pour the dressing over the lettuce and toss the salad until all the leaves are well coated. Add the croutons and toss the salad again, making sure that the dressing and croutons are well distributed. 

Scoop the salad equally onto four salad plates. Garnish each portion with ground black pepper, toasted nori flakes, and lemon wedges, if desired. Serve immediately. 

The Cook's Secrets:

Nori is a mild sea vegetable available in natural food stores. Toasting brings out nori’s sweet, delicate flavor. If you cannot find nori that is pre-toasted, you can easily toast it yourself over an open gas flame or in a dry skillet until it turns bright green. 

Nutritional information

  • 2 to 4 servings
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1½ cups French bread, sourdough bread, or whole grain bread, cubed (remove crusts, if desired) 


  • 3 Tablespoons Red Star® nutritional yeast 
  • 2 Tablespoons tahini 
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard 
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or very finely minced 
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce 
  • cup water 
  • 6 to 8 cups (one medium head) torn romaine lettuce leaves 
  • ground black pepper (freshly ground, if possible), to taste 
  • toasted nori flakes or toasted and crumbled nori sheets, to taste (optional) 
  • fresh lemon wedges (optional)