Seed-Sar Salad

One of my most requested recipes from my patients, and local chefs, the "Caesar" dressing for this salad is equally good as a dip for veggies or drizzled over grilled or steamed asparagus. Use pre-washed romaine lettuce, as I do, and you'll make this salad more often.

For the Dressing:
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds or pepitas
1 garlic clove, crushed, or 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon each sea salt and cracked black peppercorns, plus additional pepper for serving
Juice of 1/2 lemon, preferably Meyer
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

For the Salad:
1 (5-ounce) package pre-washed romaine leaves, or 1 head romaine, leaves washed and torn
Choice of: 2 grilled chicken breast halves or boneless thighs (available in most grocery stores); 1 cup cooked cocktail shrimp; 1 (6-ounce) can albacore tuna in water, drained; or 1 (5- or 6-ounce) can crab meat
Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish

Make the Dressing:
In the bowl of a small food processor, pulse the pumpkin seeds until finely ground but not a paste, or pulse in small batches in a spice or coffee grinder.
If using a food processor, add the garlic, sea salt, and pepper, and pulse until the garlic is well mixed with the seeds. Squeeze in the lemon juice, add the mustard and oil, and blend until creamy. Check and add more salt if desired. Dressing should be thick, but if it is too thick, add more oil or lemon juice. (The dressing can be made and stored in the refrigerator for several days. If it separates, simply whisk briefly before serving.)

Make the Salad:
Place the salad greens in a large mixing bowl, pour on the dressing, and mix well until the leaves are coated. Place on two plates and top with your choice of protein. Shave a few strips of Parmigiano-Reggiano over the top and sprinkly with a grinding or two of fresh pepper.

Makes servings.
Per serving: calories, g total fat (g saturated), mg cholesterol, g dietary fiber, g carbohydrate, g protein, mg sodium.