You will love this Kale Caesar Salad made with a simple, nut free creamy vegan caesar dressing. Roasted chickpeas add amazing texture and flavor, too! The perfect side salad or base for a protein packed lunch.
Why You Should Make This
- This kale caesar salad is vegan, gluten-free, nut free and a great plant-based recipe for all to enjoy.
- With a super easy, creamy hemp heart caesar dressing, this kale salad is packed with healthy fats and also nut free.
- Roasted spiced chickpeas add flavor and texture, in a way replacing homemade croutons.
- It’s healthy! Replacing romaine with kale really adds an extra boost of nutrition.
- This caesar salad is great as a side dish, appetizer or works well as a base to add on your choice of protein or even roasted veggies (sweet potatoes would be delicious here).
Using Kale in Caesar Salad
If you’re looking for a salad that changes the way someone looks at kale, this might just be it!
Kale is a great choice of greens to use in a caesar salad because it holds onto the creamy salad dressing well.
Kale is also so good for you! High in vitamins K and C, as well as beta-carotene, an antioxidant the body converts to vitamin A.
Types of Kale
I used both curly kale and lacinato kale in this salad. I like mixing the two textures and flavors, but you can just pick your favorite. Purple kale also works.
How to Prepare Kale for Salad
Be sure to remove the stems of kale before chopping. They’re tough and most won’t enjoy them.
Once you chop, wash and dry your kale (love this salad spinner), add kale to a large bowl and massage the kale leaves with some olive oil using your finger tips. This takes away the bitterness and will give you better flavor. I swear by this – don’t skip it (especially if you’re sharing this salad with kale skeptics).
Vegan Caesar Dressing
If you like caesar dressing but want a more plant based approach (no raw eggs or anchovies here), you will love this easy recipe.
It’s made nut free and creamy, thanks to hemp hearts!
Here’s What You Need:
- hemp hearts (hulled hemp seeds)
- extra virgin olive oil
- lemon juice
- water, to thin
- Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper
- garlic cloves
- capers in brine
- coconut aminos
- Maple syrup, to taste
How to Make
Just add everything to a blender and it’s ready in 30 seconds!
If you’re not a fan of capers, don’t put off this recipe just yet. I actually don’t love capers on their own, but the flavor adds that salty tang you love from traditional caesar dressings.
There are two main steps to ensure delicious crispy roasted chickpeas everytime:
- Make sure the chickpeas are very dry – that means rolling them around in a clean tea towel or patting with a paper towel.
- It’s best to rub the little skins off – this can take a bit of time but you’ll get the best texture this way once baked.
All you need to do then is toss the dry chickpeas in a bowl with olive oil, add spices, transfer to baking sheet and bake at 400ºF for about 30 minutes.
Ways to Serve
This Vegan Kale Caesar Salad works as a side salad but is also a great vehicle for adding even more vegetables, flavor and texture.
Pick your favorite and create hearty vegan meal with any of these additional toppings:
- roasted sweet potatoes
- butternut squash
- sunflower seeds
- vegan parmesan
- cooked lentils
- cooked quinoa
- cooked farro
- ripe avocado slices
Make this for Meal Prep
I love this salad for meal prepping too. Kale is a superb green to use for make ahead salads – the leaves don’t get soggy and the flavors of the dressing really settle in after a couple of days.
This lemon quinoa kale salad is another favorite for meal prep.
How to Store
Kale Salad: Once you toss the kale with the caesar dressing, you can store any leftovers in the fridge up to 5 days.
Chickpeas: Once completely cooled, store roasted spiced chickpeas in an airtight container at room temperature (separate from the salad bowl) so they keep their crunch. Then just add to the salad before serving.
Let me know if you make this recipe by leaving a comment and rating below! It helps others learn more about the recipe too! Xx Ashley
- 2 (14 ounce) cans chickpeas
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 heaping teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 medium-large bunch of kale, equal to about 8 cups chopped
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Vegan Caesar Dressing
- 1/2 cup hulled hemp seeds
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup lemon juice (about 1 ½ medium lemons)
- 3 tablespoons water, to thin
- 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 10 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon capers in brine
- 1 teaspoon brine juice
- 1 teaspoon coconut aminos
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup, to taste*
- Roast chickpeas: Preheat oven to 400ºF and line medium baking sheet with parchment paper. Make sure chickpeas are completely dry and loose skins removed. In medium bowl add oil, chickpeas, nutritional yeast and spices. Mix to combine and transfer to baking sheet. Bake for about 30-40 minutes, until crispy. Remove pan from oven and allow chickpeas to cool so they get crunchy.
- Prepare the kale: While the chickpeas are roasting, prepare the kale by removing thick stems from kale, chop, wash and spin dry (I use this salad spinner). Add chopped kale to large bowl with a little bit of olive oil, then massage oil into kale leaves.
- Make the dressing: in a small blender, combine all dressing ingredients and blend until smooth. Note: add everything but maple syrup, then taste test before adding 1-2 tsp, to your liking.
- Assemble: Toss kale with about half of the caesar dressing, add roasted chickpeas and serve. Top with more dressing as desired, maybe some vegan parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
Nutrition approximate, calculated without dressing. Dressing as 8 servings calculated, per serving is: 133 calories, 12g fat, 4g carbs, 1g fiber, 1g sugar, 4g protein.
- Serving Size: 1 salad
- Calories: 299
- Sugar: 3g
- Sodium: 460mg
- Fat: 11g
- Saturated Fat: 1g
- Unsaturated Fat: 6g
- Carbohydrates: 40g
- Fiber: 13g
- Protein: 13g