Fresh vegetables weren’t abundant in my meals when I was growing up (it all came from cans or frozen bags), but we did always have iceberg lettuce and tomatoes in the fridge, and salads with them were made frequently. My dad was in the Air Force, and we were stationed in England for a while, and I remember my mom’s pure horror at the fact that only leafy lettuce was available. There was no iceberg to be found anywhere.
I know prefer leaf lettuce, and I haven’t had iceberg lettuce too much as an adult. I can’t even remember the last time I bought it. But I recently saw some at Trader Joe’s, and bought a head – mostly for nostalgic reasons. My plan had been to make lettuce cups with it, but I was flipping through a magazine and came across a recipe for wedge salad. Why not veganize that instead?
I had never had a wedge salad before going vegan. I always loved cheese, but I had a fear of bleu cheese. Isn’t it made with mold? Bleu cheese and any salad dressings made with it were off my menu. Since I don’t know what it tastes like, it’s not something I can veganize. Instead, I like to use store-bought vegan cheese, along with my homemade, tangy buttermilk-style dressing.
This Grilled Wedge Salad makes a great lunch or light dinner, or it can be served as an appetizer or side dish.
- ½ cup almond or soy milk
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup raw cashews, soaked for two hours, rinse and drained
- 1 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
- 1 head iceberg lettuce
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 roma tomatoes, quartered
- 8 ounce package tempeh bacon
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup your favorite vegan cheese, crumbled, optional
- To make the dressing: Mix together the apple cider vinegar and non-dairy milk, and let sit for 10 minutes. It will curdle, which is what you want. Place the curdled milk in a blender along with the cashews, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, mustard, sea salt, and garlic. Blend until smooth and creamy. If the dressing seems too thick, add water, a teaspoon at a time. Stir in the chopped chives.
- To make the salad: Cut the head of lettuce into quarters through the root. Leave the root intact to ensure that the lettuce won’t fall apart during grilling.
- Brush the lettuce and tomato quarters with the oil.
- Turn your grill to medium-high, or heat a grill pan on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Place the tempeh bacon, on the grill for about 5 minutes per side, or until it begins to brown and crisp.
- Place the tomatoes and lettuce wedges on the grill, cut side down. Grill for about two minutes, or until grill marks appear. Flip the pieces so that the other cut side is down, and grill for about two more minutes.
- Place the lettuce wedges on plates with the tomato wedges. Crumble the tempeh bacon over the salads. Drizzle on the dressing, and top with the scallions and vegan cheese, if using.