Clean Caesar: A Vegan Take on a Classic

Permanent Collection founder Fanny Singer set out to develop a clean take on a Caesar salad — a recipe suitable for any food-related New Year's resolutions — but some gorgeous winter citrus got "in the way". Here's her riff on a classic that keeps some of the key elements, but goes in some unexpected directions.

Use our mortar & pestle to make this EXTRA lemony, garlicky miso-infused dressing. Serve in our beautiful salad bowl with our salad servers and garnish with torn mint, tangerine 'flowers' and a shaving of hazelnuts to give the look and creaminess of Parmesan while keeping things vegan (the miso also adds that umami hit that won't leave you longing for anchovies).


4 Romaine hearts

2 tangerines (Satsuma or Page are best, but whatever you can find)

1/4 cup hazelnuts

1/4 cup mint leaves, removed from stem, loosely packed

1 tsp. white miso

1 tsp. high quality dijon mustard

1 organic Meyer lemon or 1 half orange plus 1 half lemon (juice and zest)

1 firm clove of garlic, peeled

2 tangerines (Satsuma or Page)


Extra virgin olive oil

Black pepper

Sea salt

Feeds 4


Start by toasting your hazelnuts. Preheat oven to 350° F. In a baking pan, toast hazelnuts in one layer in the middle of oven for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly colored and skins are blistered. Careful not to let the nuts burn! Wrap nuts in a kitchen towel and let steam 1 minute, then rub the nuts in the towel vigorously to remove loose skins. Allow to cool completely.

Peel the outer bruised or broken leaves away from the romaine hearts and discard in compost (or process with a juicer along with cucumber and celery for an alkalinizing tonic!). Trim off the root ends of your hearts, separate the leaves gingerly, then wash thoroughly before rolling in a clean dish towel to dry in the refrigerator. 

Make your dressing: pound a clove of garlic with a pinch of flaky sea salt in a mortar & pestle until completely pulverized. Zest an entire Meyer lemon into the bowl (if using orange + lemon to substitute, use the zest of just half the lemon). Add the juice of the lemon, the miso paste and mustard, and a healthy grind of black pepper and whisk together. Allow to sit to macerate for ten minutes. 

Peel your tangerines and, using a very sharp knife, slice them into 1/4-1/2 inch slices laterally in cross-sections so that they make beautiful flower-like shapes. Place your cool, dry romaine leaves in a wide, shallow salad bowl facing more or less one direction. Tear the mint leaves in a rough chiffonade and sprinkle over the romaine. 

Whisk olive oil into the lemon mixture (about 2:1 oil to acid). It should be emulsified and creamy in texture and taste bright but not puckering. Add more olive oil if necessary. Drizzle half the dressing over the leaves to start and use your (clean) hands to toss, making sure the dressing coats the leaves but isn't soaking them. Use more dressing if necessary (extra dressing will keep in a tightly-lidded jar for 2 days in the refrigerator).

Array your citrus slices beautifully, nestled throughout the salad. Finish with hazelnut dust: using a Microplane zester (only a Microplane or similar will do!) grate your hazelnuts over the salad to create drifts of Parm-like snow. Between the umami of the miso paste in the dressing and the nutty creaminess of the hazelnuts, some of the addictive unctuousness of a true Caesar comes through!

Serve immediately