I went to a popular vegan restaurant in Toronto a few weeks ago, and ordered a caesar salad. Well, it was fine I suppose, but it certainly wasn’t exciting. I decided to challenge myself to make a caesar salad that was not only as awesome as the classic, but dare I say better? Introducing my vegan caesar salad with king oyster mushroom bacon. What really made this salad work was the king oyster mushroom bacon, it is surprisingly bacon-y! Crisp romaine lettuce, tossed with a delicious caesar dressing, and topped with homemade croutons, mushroom bacon, and a sprinkle of parmegan, can I hear a woot woot! Ok, I admit, there are a few steps to making this salad, but each one is super easy, and it is so worth the love.
*A note about the king oyster mushroom bacon, I found that your don’t want to toss it with the dressing, as it will suck it up and get a bit soggy. So instead just toss the dressing with the salad, and put the bacon on top.
King Oyster Mushroom Bacon:
King Oyster Mushrooms (I used 2)
Couple of slices of day old bread (gluten free bread if you like)
2 cloves garlic
salt and pepper
Caesar Salad Dressing:
Vegan Mayonnaise (I like Veganaise brand)
1 Clove of Garlic
Salt and Pepper
Parmegan (Vegan Parmesan)
These are King Oyster Mushrooms. I only ended up using 2 of them. To make the bacon, slice the top off the mushroom. You can try to bacon them too but the tops tend to be a bit more fragile and fall apart, so I saved them for another dish. Slice the stems into long thin strips.
Heat a couple glugs of olive oil in a pan, and fry the king oyster mushroom slices. As they are cooking, sprinkle one side of the mushrooms with salt and smoked paprika. When you flip do the same to the other side.
When they are deliciously golden brown, and look quite bacon-y, take them out with a pair of tongs, and put them on a plate with a paper towel, to help drain off the excess oil. I did two batches to get this much bacon.
Save that oil! Now your pan has lovely mushroom flavoured olive oil, and you might as well use it again. So slice up your day old bread into cubes. Chop up your cloves of garlic, and throw the garlic, bread cubes, and thyme into the pan. Toast the bread in the oil over medium heat and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat when they are all toasty and delicious.
In a small bowl make your dressing. Add a big blob of your vegan mayonnaise, juice of about half a lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, a spoonful (or squirt full) of dijon mustard, your finely chopped clove of garlic, and a spoonful of capers, also finely chopped.
Stir it all up and taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary. Tear up your romaine, drizzle with your dressing, and toss in a large bowl. Top with croutons, king oyster mushroom bacon and a sprinkle of parmegan.