You will love this Kale Caesar Salad made with a creamy vegan caesar dressing. The roasted chickpeas act as homemade croutons plus add amazing texture, flavor and extra fiber, too! Gluten-free and nut-free recipe.
Why You Should Make This
- This kale caesar salad is vegan, gluten-free and a great plant-based recipe for all to enjoy.
- With a creamy (and super easy) hemp heart caesar dressing, this kale salad is packed with healthy fats and is also a great nut free recipe.
- Roasted spiced chickpeas add flavor, texture and in a way replaces making 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).
Kale in Caesar Salad
If you’re looking for a classic caesar 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 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 thick stems off the kale leaves 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 leaves to a large bowl and massage the kale 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 Salad 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 our secret ingredient: hemp hearts!
- hemp hearts (hulled hemp seeds)
- extra-virgin olive oil
- freshly squeezed lemon juice
- water, to thin
- Dijon mustard
- kosher salt and pepper
- fresh garlic cloves
- capers in brine
- coconut aminos
- Maple syrup, to taste
How to Make
Just add everything to a high-speed 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 salad dressing.
There are two main steps to ensure delicious crispy roasted chickpeas every time:
- Make sure the chickpeas are very dry – that means rolling them around in a clean 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.
TIP: Let the pan cool completely for crispy chickpeas.
Ways to Serve
I love using this kale caesar salad as a base for a dinner salad, but it’s also the perfect side dish for cookouts and barbecues, because it makes a decent amount.
Here are some serving suggestions:
Dinner: Pair with your favorite protein for a filling meal. Crispy tofu or tempeh are delicious on top for a plant-based protein option. If you’re a meat eater, consider my Sweet & Spicy Salmon recipe.
Cookouts: Serve at your next BBQ gathering or family brunch.
Lunch: Prep this ahead for lunch and add your favorite toppings for a hearty salad. My choices would be roasted sweet potato, red onion, avocado and maybe some sunflower seeds for additional crunch.
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: Store roasted (cooled completely) 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.
More Kale Salads to Love
Let me know if you make this Vegan Kale Caesar Salad recipe by leaving a comment and star rating below! It helps others learn more about the recipe too! Xx AshleyPrint
Vegan Kale Caesar Salad
You will love this easy Kale Caesar Salad – made with a vegan caesar salad dressing that is nut-free and ready in 30 seconds. Add seasoned roasted chickpeas for some extra fiber and protein. Perfect meal prep salad, side dish or appetizer.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: salads
- Method: oven
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
- 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 kosher 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
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup lemon juice (about 1 1/2 medium lemons)
- 3 tablespoons water, to thin
- 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 10 medium 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
Keywords: vegan caesar salad, vegan caesar salad dressing, kale caesar salad