Roasted Garlic Little Gem Caesar Salad
with charred broccoli and crispy chickpeas
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I started writing a piece on food and identity for today, and I tried to start over with something new three times, and I kept coming back to it. I really, really wanted to start with that today, but I’ve accepted that it’s not meant to come out quite yet, since it’s nuanced and detailed and honestly very personal, so I really want to give it some thought and not try to rush it. But I will work on it during the next few weeks so I can put it out to you since I think it will be pretty relatable and hopefully interesting!
One thing I really want to do more of this year is to write more long-form pieces like this one and the one I’m currently drafting on food and identity. I feel like I always have a lot of thoughts and opinions and things I want to say, and they often require a lot more depth than what can fit in a small story box on Instagram. Thinking about things deeply and arranging pieces of life together and expressing them is such a core part of who I am, and I love writing more than anything and want to make more time for it.
Because of the nature of my job, I spend a lot of time thinking about the internet and internet culture, and although I think it’s an important aspect to focus on because it’s such an integral part of our society, it can also get really exhausting, and I think it’s really only a small piece of who I am. I think about what I share on social media, and it really is only a snippet of my personality. People don’t get to see what I’m like when I’m being goofy with friends at a party or when I’m engaged in a thoughtful debate about existential issues. Writing is the closest thing I get to expressing myself fully, and when I read other people’s words, it’s often when I feel most connected to them as well. I think it’ll be good to branch out of just only talking about food or wellness or how much social media messes with my brain (lol).
I’m still pretty bummed that this is the little blurb I’m starting with today instead of the other topic (feels pretty weak), but hopefully that’ll motivate me to get that to you as soon as possible! At least this week’s recipe is killer!!
I’m on a mission to make everyone fall in love with salads, and I think the best place to start is with this roasted garlic Caesar (ish) dressing. You might recognize this dressing from my Roasted Garlic Kale Caesar with Charred Lemon (and just going to throw that out there, multiple people have said it’s the best salad they’ve ever had).
I thought this dressing would go really well with little gem lettuce too, since it’s very similar to romaine, which is typically used in a Caesar dressing. I made it a more complete meal by adding in some crispy chickpeas, and what’s great about this salad is that you can roast most of the ingredients on one baking sheet, so it’s kind of like a sheet-pan salad!
Roasted Garlic Little Gem Caesar Salad with Charred Broccoli and Crispy Chickpeas
Ingredients (serves 2)
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
Drizzle of olive oil
2 heads of little gem lettuce
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp aleppo pepper or crushed red pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 head garlic, excess paper removed
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tbsp mayo (I like avocado oil mayo)
2 anchovy fillets
Juice of 1 1/2 (small to medium) lemons
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut the top of the garlic head so the cloves are exposed by 1/4 inch, and drizzle on some olive oil. Wrap in foil, and bake for 50 minutes.
2. Add the chickpeas, broccoli, and tomatoes to a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and add a sprinkle of salt, toss together until everything is evenly coated, and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until chickpeas are crispy and broccoli is charred. Stir halfway through if desired. (Your garlic will also likely already be in the oven when you put your veggies in there. Just add the garlic to the top of the baking sheet).
3. In a small pan, heat up a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the breadcrumbs and the aleppo pepper, and toast for a minute or two until golden brown, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
4. When garlic is done roasting, let cool. Then squeeze the cloves out into a blender, and add the Dijon mustard, mayo, anchovies, and lemon juice. Blend until smooth. Mix in the olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
5. Add the little gem lettuce to a large bowl (breaking up the pieces if you don’t like big chunks, but I left them as is) along with the remaining salad ingredients you just roasted. Pour the dressing in the bowl, and toss. Add the breadcrumbs and toss again. Top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and black pepper.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT!
I spent sooo much time writing and researching last week’s paid subscriber piece. I gathered together all of my favorite spicy condiments to let you know what they are, where they come from, where to buy them/how to make them, and how to use them! If you’ve been seeing me use salsha macha and thinking to yourself, “What the heck is that?” this is the post for you.
Don’t forget, I’ve also enabled a 7-day free trial if you’re curious about what these paid posts look like! This week will be a bonus recipe :)
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