Hands down, my favorite kale caesar. The creamy vegan caesar dressing plus crunchy gluten-free chickpea croutons gives me the the flavors and textures I’m looking for….just what salad dreams are made of!
This post has been modified from the original that was posted December 7, 2019. This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.
Does the world need another vegan kale caesar salad recipe? As long as you’ve got this gem in your back pocket, then no! Otherwise, this is it! A caesar salad recipe without anchovies that still brings on the umami flavors? Sign me up! Stat.
Why you’ll love this Kale Caesar:
- Vegan: both the dressing and the salad are completely plant based.
- Gluten-Free—crunchy croutons are made with chickpeas.
- Delicious. The vegan caesar dressing is so tasty, I make a batch once a week.
- Nutritious—loaded with fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
- Easy to make: whisk together the dressing, massage the kale and get those chickpeas into the oven….that’s it!
- Meal prep friendly:
Is it necessary to rub off the skins of the chickpeas before you roast them?
Good question. Did you always fill in the “optional” extra credit question on the test? The answer says more about your personality (and also will likely be the way you go on this one) than the recipe. Yes, it’s optional, and I think it’s worth it. Skinless and dryer chickpeas before roasting will result in a crunchier end product. So, no, not necessary, YOU decide if it’s worth it or not. If you’re wondering, I ALWAYS did the optional extra credit.
Gluten-Free Chick Peas Roasted to make Croutons.
What would Caesar Salad be without croutons? I used to be the one to push them to the side, but not anymore. Although I loved the crunch they added to a classic caesar salad, I try not consume empty calories. I like mine to count for something, know what I mean? Chick Peas have both protein and fiber, making them nutrient dense. They also play a role in blood sugar regulation, weight management, lowering cholesterol and satiety. Yes, please.
Vegan Caesar Salad Dressing
Ever since I posted this recipe for Vegan Caesar Dressing, I’ve been making it EVERY week. It’s so easy to make and tastes GREAT on any type of green, or veggie bowl. I drizzle it on roasted veggies to add a great flavor punch. Often for lunch, I’ll bake a sweet potato, throw in some roasted or raw veggies and add a healthy spoonful of this dressing. What’s not to like about a creamy dressing that is dairy-free? The nutritional profile of this dressing is awesome….perfect for someone who is Whole Foods Plant Based, as there is no added oil, sugar or salt. You can whip up the dressing in 5 minutes. Yes, I said 5 minutes.
Can I substitute another Green for the Kale?
Absolutely! I’ve made this before with arugula or romaine and it’s delish! There is much to be said about kale though. Just one cup of chopped kale has 134% of the RDA of Vitamin C—which is more than an orange. A quick massage with your hands to break up the fibrous texture and make it more digestible could make you a kale lover….just saying!
Massage the Kale
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to massage the kale with dressing or oil to soften it up. USE YOUR HANDS. Knead it like dough. 2 minutes is plenty of time to soften the kale. You’ll notice it turn a more vibrant shade of green as well.
Back to the original question: Does the world need another Vegan Kale Caesar Salad Recipe? Well, not anymore. Here it is!
Vegan Kale Caesar Salad
- 1 Large Bunch Kale
Roasted Chick Peas
- 2 15.5 oz cans chick peas
- 2 teaspoons olive or avocado oil
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- pinch cayenne pepper
- ⅓ cup tahini
- 1 lemon zest and juice
- 2 cloves garlic zested
- 3 teaspoons capers
- 3 teaspoons caper brining juice
- 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
- ¼ cup water *
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Crushed Red Pepper to taste
- OPTIONAL: 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- FOR THE CHICKPEAS: Preheat oven to 400. Drain, rinse, drain again. Dry chickpeas iIn a kitchen towel, rubbing gently to dislodge any loose skins. Discard skins and rub to further dry chickpeas. The dryer they are, the crispier they’ll get while roasting. Spread chickpeas out on rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and spices then toss well. Roast for 30 minutes, stir (or shake the pan) and then continue roasting for another 10-15 minutes, until crispy.
- FOR THE KALE: Strip leaves from stems. Wash and pat dry. Break into bite sized pieces, place in large bowl, and gently massage with your hands. This will break up the fibrous material, making the kale more palatable and digestible.
- FOR THE DRESSING: Pour Tahini into a small bowl. Zest the lemon and garlic into bowl and whisk together. Squeeze lemon over bowl. Chop most of the capers until they resemble a paste. Add chopped capers along with remaining iIngredients and whisk until well mixed. Mix iIn additional teaspoon of whole capers, plus more, if desired. Taste for seasoning, adding more pepper, lemon juice or nutritional yeast as desired. If dressing is still too thick for your taste, add more water 1 Tablespoon at a time.
- ASSEMBLE SALAD: Pour dressing over kale (start with ½ cup) and mix well. Add more dressing as needed to moisten. Sprinkle croutons (again, start slow and add more as needed)over dressed salad and serve.