Classic Salad with Creamy Lemon + Hemp Dressing (Vegan)

April 12, 2015

See that huge platter of salad? I ate it all for lunch. So good.

Classic salad, eh? Well, it's kind of a tossed salad and it makes me think of something you'd see in a vintage cookbook. Except the dressing is out-of-this-world good instead of weirdly sweet and mayo based. It's kind of like my not your baba's borscht recipe. A classic, updated! I think those are always the best. It reminds me of something my dad's mom would have made, except that it actually tastes good. (I'm kidding, I never met her, but my aunt makes stuff straight out of the 50s. It must be the same, right?)

The dressing uses hemp instead of yogurt to be extra creamy and delicious, and you don't need a high powered blender for it. I used a bullet blender and it worked fine. I want to think of it as a spring salad, since all the snow is gone now, but it's not like I've started planting my garden or harvesting any wild foods yet. The buds are coming out now though. If you have any gorgeous spring produce, use it! I think shaved raw asparagus would be awesome, or some ramps in the dressing, or fiddleheads with the greens. Use whatever you can get your hands on. The salad itself doesn't matter so much as the toppings and dressing, so think of that part of the recipe as ideas more than instructions. Grated root veggies would be pretty great too.

I topped this with some pepitas and my crunchy roasted chickpeas for some extra texture and protein. I highly recommend it. Instead of turmeric for the chickpeas, I just doubled the cumin and they were perfect for this. It ends up being really filling with the toppings and the hemp.

~4 cups butter lettuce*
1/2 cucumber
1/2 bell pepper
1/2 tomato
A handful of shoots or sprouts*
1/3 cup raw pepitas
1/2 cup roasted chickpeas

Layer the ingredients in the order listed on a platter, or just toss everything together in a large bowl.

1/4 cup hemp hearts
Juice and zest of an unwaxed lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (optional)*
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon honey (raw if you've got it), or other liquid sweetener*
1 small clove of garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

Blitz everything together in a blender until fully mixed and creamy. You don't want chunks of garlic or bits of hemp. If necessary, chill before adding to the salad.

1. If you have other lettuce, just use that, it doesn't really matter. I just like the butter lettuce with this dressing.
2. The pea shoots make it spring-y, right? Yes, they do.
3. If you choose not to use the vinegar, add an extra tablespoon of water in its place.
4. Substitute another liquid sweetener to make it vegan.

One of the plates from the new set I made! Because who doesn't want to eat off crabs?

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