Fresh, progressive, and enticing were the first words that came to mind when I picked up my copy of The Perfect Blend by Tess Masters. The entire cookbook is gluten-free and vegan, but a quick flip through the pages will banish any lingering feelings of living without. The hefty stock is packed with nutritious information, fulfilling healthy recipes, and vibrant photography that nearly overloads the senses. As an example, just look at this Kale Caesar.
But The Perfect Blend isn’t your ordinary compilation of smoothies, meals, and desserts.
As you might expect, every recipe uses the blender in some way. From sauces to soups and cheezes to cheezecakes, Tess finds no shortage of ways to put that small appliance to work. And her recipes are always innovative and enlightening. However, it’s the layout that really proves her trend-setting abilities.
The chapters in The Perfect Blend are organized by health goals. They include: energy, immunity, detox, protein, weight loss, anti-inflammatory, fabulous fats, low carb, alkaline forming, probiotic promoting, well combined, and feed the soul.
Despite it’s very indulgent, rich vibe, this sample recipe for vegan Kale Caesar salad hails from the very first chapter for energy.
Special Diet Notes: Kale Caesar Salad
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, peanut-free, vegan, plant-based, and vegetarian.
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil (in liquid form), plus more as needed
- 8 ounces (227g) tempeh, cut into very thin slices
- ½ cup (130g) hulled raw sesame seeds
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast, plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder, plus more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon natural salt, plus more to taste
- ½ cup (120ml) filtered water
- ½ cup (120ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1⁄4 cup (60ml) fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
- 1⁄4 cup (40g) raw pine nuts, soaked
- 1⁄4 cup (40g) raw sunflower seeds, soaked
- 1½ tablespoons white miso paste
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained
- 1½ teaspoons gluten-free vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
- ½ teaspoon natural salt, plus more to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 10 cups (500g) romaine hearts cut into ribbons (about 5 hearts)
- 5 cups (150g) lacinato kale cut into ribbons (1 large bunch, stalks removed)
- 2 cups (320g) shelled raw edamame
- 2 cups (160g) shaved brussels sprouts
- 1 cup (130g) raw sprouted watermelon seeds
- 1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced
- To make the croutons, heat the coconut oil in a very large skillet over medium heat and add the tempeh pieces, arranging them in one layer without crowding. You may have to do this in two batches. Fry, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Turn the pieces over and brown the other side, about 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels, blotting with additional paper towels. Crumble into small pieces.
- To make the seed cheeze, throw the seed cheeze ingredients into a food processor and process until the seeds have broken up and the texture resembles Parmesan cheese. Tweak the nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and salt to taste.
- To make the dressing, throw all of the dressing ingredients into your blender and blast on high for about 1 minute, until smooth and creamy. Tweak the lemon juice and salt to taste.
- In a large salad bowl, mix together the romaine lettuce, kale, edamame, the brussels sprout and watermelon seed boosters, and the dressing. Toss in the croutons and three-quarters of the seed cheeze. Sprinkle with the remaining seed cheeze and top with slices of avocado.