I have to tell you something.
I’m having a love affair. I have been on a salad kick lately where I am eating some form of lettuce at almost every meal. I will look at a meal and then throw it on top of a bed of lettuce with some balsamic and call it a day! I am loving the crunch or romaine, the textures of spring mix and the freshness of a peppery arugula. I have even been eating it as my afternoon snack instead of having a piece of fruit or half an avocado – yes, you heard me right. Seems everything I pin on Pinterest is some form of a salad and I continually drool as I am looking at the pictures. This is not the norm for me – although you may think so from reading my blog. Normally I drool over some form of chocolate cake with a creamy, fluffy icing (kind of like this one) or an oozing egg on top of fresh bread with several slices of bacon…but in a classy way…bacon can be classy, right? Totally…could be the baby talking at this point…
Anyways, point is I have been eating a variety of salads. I usually keep it simple for my dressing – using just straight up balsamic vinegar or one like this Dijon lemon dressing. I have wanted to make a creamy dressing but not really feeling the heavy mayo. I could of course make a yogurt based alternative like I have done in the past with this dip but I wanted to try to kick it up a notch in how nutritious this could be with very simple ingredients. Ones that I believe all of you would have in your pantry/fridge. And would it be possible to do plant-based? What?!? AM I blowing your mind right now?!?
Enter pumpkin seeds.
Yup – that’s right. I made a dressing from pumpkin seeds that looks like traditional Caesar salad dressing (I think) and tastes just as good! Are you excited yet?!?! K, that’s alright because I know once you make this dressing you will be like “HOLY HANNAH THIS TASTES FREAKIN’ AWESOME!!!!!”…one of those ‘I can’t believe it’s not butter’ kind of moments – but in this case you can’t believe it’s not eggs.
What makes this healthy? Well, pumpkin seeds are one of the highest plant-based sources of iron – and for women we need all the iron we can get. Pair this dressing with the fresh lemon juice (high in vitamin C) and your body will easily absorb the iron. Enjoy this nut-free, vegan, healthy Caesar salad dressing! I sure did!
- ½ cup of raw pumpkin seeds
- 2 cloves fresh garlic
- juice from 1 whole lemon
- 1 tsp capers
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp olive oil
- ½ cup filtered water (or more depending on what consistency you want your dressing)
- In a skillet on medium low heat, slowly toast pumpkin seeds, stirring frequently so they don't burn. About 10mins (feel free to taste test - when they are done they taste richer). Remove from heat and let cool.
- In your food processor with the 'S' blade, place pumpkin seeds and remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy.
- Stir in with romaine lettuce and serve with a slice of fresh lemon!
After creating this recipe I got the idea from Healthful Pursuit to use the dressing as a marinade on some turkey I had in the freezer. I was pleasantly surprised at how good this worked on meat! So even if you are not a big fan of salads, you can try this out on some meat and add even more iron to your diet!