This tahini caesar-style salad with roasted carrot chips is so enjoyable, it has become my go-to plant-based salad when I want something special (and when I just want salad!). What makes it special? It skips the egg yolks, anchovies, and parmesan cheese of traditional Caesar and swaps it with loads of plant-based flavor from tahini, tamari, lemon zest, and more. And then it gets topped with roasted carrot chips for a pop of color. You can sprinkle on extras, like toasted pine nuts and carrot tops, for extra crunch, flavor, or overall intrigue, too.
While this recipe might look lengthy, it’s actually pretty easy. But if you do feel a bit intimidated by it, absolutely make all components of the recipe separately and in advance. That way you can just toss everything together when you’re ready to serve the salad. Plus, if you don’t need all six servings, you can simply toss up one or two servings at a time.
The “Caesar” dressing
The dressing is based on tahini (sesame seed paste), lemon juice, and olive oil, along with a splash of tea or water to get the right consistency. Everything else in it – nutritional yeast flakes, Dijon, tamari, vegan Worcestershire, garlic, salt, and pepper — makes it wow-worthy. You simply shake everything up in a jar which make this easy (and fun!) to fix … and storable if you make it ahead of time.
The crumble topping
Rather than the addition of parmesan cheese, the recipe includes a crumbly topping that gives you plenty of zing, saltiness, and texture. You can shake all of the ingredients – hemp seeds, nutritional yeast flakes, lemon zest, and salt – all together in a jar, too.
The carrot chips and optional add-ins
The roasted carrot chips offer vivid color, bonus flavor, and extra veggie goodness. They’re not crunchy. So, if you want some crunchiness, go ahead and top with one or more of the munchie optional add-ins that I suggest, like croutons or pine nuts. If you want to transform it into an entrée salad, consider roasted chickpeas or plant-based chicken nuggets. There are endless ways to personalize this salad. You have my permission (not that you need it!) to totally go off recipe and pick your own add-ins!
Packing a picnic?
This tahini caesar-style salad with roasted carrot chips is definitely picnic (and cookout) worthy! Here’s what I like to do. Stuff the romaine and roasted carrot chips into a large pitcher—and pack the dressing, crumble topping, and any optional add-ins separately. Alternatively, first add the dressing into the pitcher, then stuff in the romaine and roasted carrot chips, and then top with the crumble topping and optional add-ins of choice. It’s easy to transport it just like this. You’ll simply shake, shake, shake the salad to dress it. If you don’t have a good seal on the pitcher, use a reusable beeswax wrap to cover it well before the shaking action. You can even serve it directly from the pitcher!
This tahini caesar-style salad with roasted carrot chips is so enjoyable, it has become my go-to plant-based salad when I want something special (and when I just want salad!). What makes it special? It skips the egg yolks, anchovies, and parmesan cheese of traditional Caesar and swaps it with loads of plant-based flavor from tahini, tamari, lemon zest, and more. And then it gets topped with carrot chips for a pop of color. You can sprinkle on extras, like toasted pine nuts and carrot tops, for extra crunch, flavor, or intrigue, too.
Yield:6 side salad 1x
Roasted Carrot Chips:
2 large carrots (about 9 inches/23 centimeters), scrubbed
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Tahini Caesar-Style Dressing:
1/4cup (60 milliliters) tahini
Juice of 1 lemon (3 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsweetened jasmine green tea or water
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon tamari or coconut aminos
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons shelled hemp seeds
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons packed grated fresh lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
14ounces (397 grams) roughly chopped or torn romaine lettuce (about 2 medium heads)
Whole grain croutons or pita chips
Toasted pine nuts or roasted sunflower seeds
Plant-based chicken tenders or nuggets (hint: season with sumac and pepper)
Drained capers, whole or chopped
Carrot top leaves
Roast the carrot chips: Preheat the oven to 475°F. Extra-thinly slice the carrots on the diagonal. Add the carrot slices, olive oil, and salt to a large bowl and toss to coat. Arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet and roast until caramelized, about 9 to 10 minutes.
Make the dressing: In an 8-ounce/240-milliliter capacity (or larger) jar, shake together the ingredients. (Makes about 5 ounces/150 milliliters dressing.)
Make the topping: In a small jar or bowl, shake or stir together the ingredients.
Make the salad: In a large pitcher or mixing bowl, shake or toss together the romaine lettuce and dressing. Add the crumbled topping and shake or toss again.
To serve: Pour the dressed salad into bowls, top with the roasted carrot chips and desired optional add-ons, and serve.
Serving Size:1 side salad (about 1 1/2 cups each)
Sugar:3g includes 0g added sugars
Keywords: salad, side salad, plant-based salad, caesar salad, plant-based caesar salad, tahini, roasted carrots
Looking for more salads? Try my peach melba-inspired salad (see recipe HERE), easy spring strawberry salad (see recipe HERE), and orzo & arugula salad with california prunes (see recipe HERE).