Tahini ‘Caesar’ Salad with Garlicky Croutons + Sunflower Seeds

 
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I’m done! Done university, for now at least. In place of the stress of school I’m looking forward to the approaching summer.

More than anything, this summer I’m excited to just be creative. Broad I know, because creativity is broad and can be expressed in many forms. Doodling in a journal, cooking a meal, capturing a photo: I want all of it. Do you create? And if so, who are you doing it for? Expressing yourself by making things is therapeutic, an outlet. When you’re having a bad day, you can sing it out, when you have something on your mind you can write about it. It can be almost compulsive. I know that I feel stifled when I’ve gone a while without making something, I have this urge to just do it.

This got me thinking about the difference between creating for yourself versus for others. It seems like we share everything in our lives, but is it a true expression of yourself if what you are doing is made knowing it will be shared with others? Your work will be influenced by your perception (insecurities?) of what others will think. Maybe this is a good thing: the opinions of others could motivate you to hone your skills and try your hardest. But is it a true expression of you if you’re allowing others’ opinions to influence your work? Maybe we should make an effort to create for ourselves once in a while, just a thought.

Anyways, I've been playing around with sourdough for a few months now. I used it to make these chunky, garlicky croutons, which inspired the rest of this salad. Make sure you use good bread for them, it makes a huge difference. Calling this a caesar salad is a stretch. It shares the creamy dressing and croutons with a traditional caesar but other than those elements it is very different, yet delicious in its own way. These croutons would also be amazing crumbled over soup and the dressing makes a fantastic dip or side with roasted veg. Take what you like and enjoy :)

Tahini ‘Caesar’ Salad with Garlicky Croutons + Sunflower Seeds

Serves 4-5

Croutons:

1 1/2 cups (120g) crusty bread (like sourdough or baguette) roughly torn into 1 inch chunks

1 tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

Dressing - modified from The First Mess

1/4 cup tahini

1 clove garlic

2 green onions, dark green parts removed

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp water

s+p to taste

Salad

4 cups packed romaine lettuce

1/2 cup cucumber, chopped into semi circles

1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds

s+p to taste

Make the croutons: Add olive oil to a hot saucepan over medium heat. Once oil is hot add minced garlic and cook for 20 seconds until just barely browned. Then add bread pieces and stir to coat in olive oil-garlic mixture. Fry until golden brown and crispy, 4-5 minutes stirring often and being careful not to burn the garlic. Remove from heat.

Make the dressing: In a food processor combine tahini, green onions, garlic, apple cider vinegar and oil. Gradually stream in the water until the mixture is thinned out, smooth and light in colour. Season with salt and pepper.

Assemble salad: Add lettuce to a large bowl and along with 1/3 of the dressing, toss to coat and add more as necessary. Add cucumber, sunflower seeds and croutons and toss to coat. Don’t feel like you have to use all of the dressing, this recipe makes plenty and you will probably have leftovers - it makes an amazing dip, spread for roasted veggies etc.!