Image: Ana Cuba

 

This easy-to-follow summer recipe is a healthy twist on the classic Caesar salad, using a delicious tahini dressing and chickpea croutons, which incidentally are great on their own as a snack or to eat with a few drinks. As one of Anna Jones’ all-time favourite meals, this recipe is taken from her third vegetarian cookbook ‘The Modern Cook’s Year’ which won the coveted Observer Food Monthly Best New Cookbook Award and The Guild of Food Writers Cookery Book Award.

SERVES 4

 

4 Little Gem lettuces

1 x 400g tin or 300g jar of chickpeas, drained

1 tablespoon rapeseed oil

the zest of 1 unwaxed lemon

 

FOR THE CAESAR DRESSING

 

a clove of garlic

4 tablespoons light tahini

2 tablespoons Greek yoghurt

1 tablespoon olive oil

the juice of 1 lemon

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

a scant dash of soy sauce or tamari

 

TO FINISH

 

40g Parmesan (Anna uses a vegetarian one)

a small bunch of parsley leaves picked

Preheat the oven to 240ºC/220ºC fan/gas 9. Heat a griddle pan over a high heat.

 

While you’re waiting for the oven and griddle to come up to temperature, slice the Little Gems in half lengthways. Toss the chickpeas in a roasting tray with the rapeseed oil and a pinch of salt and pepper, then place in the centre of the hot oven for 25 minutes, shaking now and again, until you hear the chickpeas popping and they are blistering and crisp.

 

Meanwhile, griddle the Little Gem halves for a couple of minutes on each side until deep char marks form and they collapse a little. Lay the charred lettuces on a platter and leave to one side.

 

Next, make the dressing: finely grate the clove of garlic into your food processor, then add all the other ingredients with 6 tablespoons of water, and blitz until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more lemon/salt/pepper/soy to taste.

 

When the chickpeas have had their time, scatter over the lemon zest then put them on to kitchen paper to drain and crisp.

 

To serve, toss the charred lettuce in a few tablespoons of the dressing, then put it on a platter, scatter the chickpeas over the lettuce and grate over the Parmesan. Serve with some more dressing, a good grind of black pepper and a few parsley leaves.

 

If you enjoyed following Anna Jones’ recipe then you can learn more about creating delicious, creative vegetarian meals in her online cooking course below.

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