Grilled Romaine wedge salad

By Wendy Andresen | Mar 27, 2019
Photo by: Wendy Andresen

If the idea of a classic iceberg wedge salad makes you feel nostalgic, it should. It's been on restaurant menus since 1916. The version here has a healthy new twist featuring grilled romaine instead of the usual nutritionally vacant iceberg lettuce, homemade nondairy blue cheese dressing and smoked almonds instead of bacon.

You can eat this with a clear conscience for so many reasons. You’ll probably have some leftover dressing and blue cheese, depending on how many salads you make, and you’ll find many good uses for them. How about another wedge salad for lunch the next day? You’ll be shocked and awed by how delicious the blue cheese is, and it’s so quick and easy to make. You have the option of not grilling the romaine, if you so choose.

Ingredients for salad:

Hearts of romaine

Blue cheese dressing (recipe follows)

Diced tomatoes

Thinly sliced red onion

Thinly sliced chives or scallions

Smoked almonds, coarsely chopped

Directions for salad:

Cut the romaine hearts in half lengthwise and briefly grill or broil them on each side until just slightly singed. Build each salad on a separate plate by topping each wedge with dressing and garnishing with diced tomatoes, red onion, chives, smoked almonds and more crumbled cheese.

Blue Cheese (or Gorgonzola)

Ingredients:

7 ounces extra-firm tofu, such as Heiwa

1/4 cup refined coconut oil, melted

2 Tbsp. mellow white miso paste

4 tsp. white wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, or rice vinegar

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/8 tsp. blue-green algae powder (spirulina)

Directions:

1. Line a 1-cup (at least) mold (I use a cardboard berry box) with plastic wrap, leaving plenty of extra hanging over the sides. A cereal bowl is fine.

2. Cut the tofu into 5 or 6 slabs and firmly press them as dry as possible on dry sections of a dishtowel.

3. Coarsely crumble the tofu into a food processor and add the rest of the ingredients except the algae powder. Process until completely smooth.

4. Transfer the mixture to a shallow bowl and smooth it out a bit. Dot the algae powder on top in several spots and fold it into the cheese a few times to create the blue veins. Do not stir it or you’ll end up with a putrid-looking mess.

5. Transfer the cheese to the lined mold. Pack it in and fold over the excess plastic to help press it down and smooth it out.

6. Chill for at least eight hours to solidify the coconut oil.

Blue cheese dressing

1/2 cup egg-free mayo, such as Vegenaise or Just Mayo

1/2 cup plain nondairy milk

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp. dried chives

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp. onion powder

Freshly ground black pepper

3 ounces crumbled nondairy blue cheese or Gorgonzola

Whisk together and thoroughly combine all ingredients except the cheese. Stir in the cheese at the end and break it up a little by pressing it against the side of the bowl. You want to leave some chunks.

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