The other day I had a major hankering for vegan caesar salad, & in this house, a caesar salad is not complete without a generous sprinkle of vegan “parmesan.” A few months ago, after running out of my coveted “Parmela,” I set out to make my own homemade version with walnuts, nooch, sea salt & garlic. Not only was it a snap to prepare, it was absolutely delicious. I am all about DIY mode these days – from almond milk & salad dressings, to bath salts & body scrubs – I just want to make it myself!
As I prepared all of the fixins for the salad, I realized I was fresh out of walnuts, having used them all for raw cheesecake making over the holidays. I sifted through all the nuts in my pantry – cashews, pecans, sunflower seeds, pistachios & finally pepitas! Ding, ding, ding. I’ve been loving pepita pesto & pepitas on my salads, so why not make a “pepita parm?”
And since they are power packed with goodness, all the more reason to use them! Pepitas, a.k.a. shelled pumpkin seeds, are high in plant-based protein, & an excellent source vitamins, minerals & anti-oxidants such as vitamin E, magnesium & zinc. They are also said to be antimicrobial, anti-fungal & anti-viral. Because of their composition of antioxidant nutrients, studies have shown preliminary evidence of decreased cancer risk in association with pumpkin seed intake. (source)
- 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan pink, or sea salt
- Place all ingredients into a food processor & pulse to combine. Continue to pulse until desired texture is achieved. Store in an airtight container & refrigerate. Lasts for 3-4 weeks.
My go-to vegan caesar lately has been the “Classic Vegan Caesar with Chickpeas & Avocado” from Post Punk Kitchen. I like to doctor it up to my own specifications by adding a squeeze of lemon to the tahini dressing, & tossing in additional toppings to the salad, in this case, sun-dried tomatoes & pepita parmesan. Mmmm…I could eat this salad for days!
While the sprinkle of vegan parm on a caesar salad is a given in my book, I also love this pepita topping on just about anything where a salty & savory bite is desired – sprinkled on pasta, in popcorn, on steamed or roasted vegetables – you name it! It just gives that extra bit of garnish & flavor.