Grilled Calamari Caesar Pasta (Dairy free Caesar dressing too)

Caesar dressing is big missing link for me since Parmesan cheese is a major ingredient. In this version I used nutritional yeast instead and it turned out to be an almost better version of caesar than the original! Nutritional yeast is a complete protein that is rich in Vitamin B-complex, many vegans use this as a dietary supplement. Another use for nutritional yeast is making Faux Velveeta. The caesar recipe below can be used as a dressing for salad or as a sauce, in this case, it is used as a sauce since we can all figure out how to use it as a dressing ūüôā

The calamari is nice and tender when marinaded before grilling. You could also subsitute a firm white fish or shell fish if you don’t like squid or don’t have any available. When it came to the actual grilling….my grill grates are not extremely close together, so I used foil on the grill and poked holes all over with my knife so the fire could get through. I was also using a small size of squid (which I prefer, there is less trimming to do & they are more tender), but if you have a large size of squid you may not need the foil.

Gluten free Penne pasta was a good accompaniment to the calamari as it mimics the tube shape and firm texture of the grilled calamari. It also did a nice job of soaking up the sauce. I use brown rice pasta as I think it has the most similar taste and texture to regular pasta, just always cook to al dente, or until it has a bite left in it, not too soft.

Lastly, I used some gluten & corn free hot dog buns that I had frozen to make the garlic bread served along side this dish. I thawed them &  just sliced them in half, spread ghee or clarified butter on top and sprinkled granulated garlic, then grilled them when I grilled the squid.

Amounts                  Ingredients

Squid Marinade:

1 lb                             Squid, cleaned, tubes & tentacles, feel through the tentacles and make sure there are no hard spots or cartilage, if so trim it off with your knife.

1 large                       Lemon, juice only

1/4 cup                    Basil, fresh, rough chop

2 Tbls                       Olive oil

1 tsp                          Sea salt

1/2 tsp                     Pepper, black

1/2 tsp                     Garlic, granulated or 1 Tbls fresh minced


Caesar Dressing:

1 large                    Egg, organic

2 Tbls                     Dijon mustard

1/4 cup                 Red wine vinegar

2 large                   Lemons, juice only

1 can (1 oz)         Anchovies in olive oil

2 Tbls                    Nutritional yeast

1 tsp                       Sea salt

1/2 tsp                  Pepper, black

1 tsp                       Garlic granulated, I prefer not to use fresh in things are not to be cooked, unless the garlic is roasted

1/2 cup                Olive oil

1 cup                     Canola oil



1 box                    Hodgeson Mills Penne pasta, gluten free, brown rice, cooked & warm

1 small                 Leek, slice thin on the bias

1/4 lb                   Spinach, baby

1 oz                       Olive oil



1. Combine all ingredients for the marinade, then soak the cleaned and trimmed squid into the marinade. Make sure the squid is covered in liquid. Marinate for about 30 minutes or so.

2. In a blender, combine the egg and anchiovies, blend until smooth. Then add all ingredients for the caesar, except the oils. Blend the ingredients together until smooth. While blender is running, slowly drizzle the oils through the pour spout, allow to emulsify by adding slowly.

3. Lay the squid pieces on a hot grill, they will seize up as they cook, that lets you know when they are done. Grill each side for about 3-4 minutes, they don’t take long and it’s better to under cook them in this case. After the grilling has finished, put them back in the marinade sauce and cover with plastic. This is will finish them off and help them absorb more of the tastey marinade while killing all the fishy flavor.

4. Heat the oil for the pasta in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add the leeks and saute until soft, then add the spinach and cook down for a couple minutes. Add the pasta and toss/fold the ingredients together. Remove from heat, cover until ready to serve.

5. To serve, place a portion of pasta in a bowl (this makes 4 big portions), drizzle with caesar sauce. Slice the calamari tubes before serving, then add to the bowl with some tentacles. Serve with gluten free garlic toast.

6. You should end up with extra caesar, keep it for dressing a salad one day, it will keep for 3 weeks or more under refrigeration in a tightly sealed container.



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