There’s a local omnivore restaurant that has quite a lot of vegan offerings on their menu. I had been wanting to try it for ages, but it never came to mind when Dennis and I would go out to eat. Finally last summer I broke down and asked a friend if she wanted to have lunch there. I loved it and I left lunch wondering why I waited so long to try it!
I usually don’t order salads when I eat out, because I have a salad just about every day at home, but since I do love a good Caesar, I ordered their kale Caesar salad with a side of sweet potato fries. The fries were hand cut in house and cooked to perfection. The salad was the star of my meal though. It consisted of thinly sliced kale massaged with raw Caesar dressing, caramelized pumpkin seeds, and what I thought was roasted grape tomatoes. I thought they were tomatoes, because they were tomato-shaped, and they were soft and tender, but I later realized that they were cider-roasted carrots.
I’ve gone back to the same restaurant a few times now, and despite the many vegan items on the menu, I always get the same thing: the vegan kale Caesar salad and a side of sweet potato fries. I decided to try to recreate it at home so that next time I go, I can order something else.
I wasn’t quite sure how to tackle the cider carrots for this salad. When I finally did come up with something, the end result tasted nothing like what the restaurant serves. Although they’re delicious, the carrots still have some crunch to them. I thought of different things to try – maybe marinating them or roasting them in a liquid. But in the end, I decided to leave them as is. It’s a salad after all, and I don’t want to spend hours preparing a salad. The crunch reminds me of croutons, and a good Caesar salad does need croutons!
This recipe makes two kale Caesar salads or four side salads. I like to have it for lunch, with a side of sweet potato fries, of course! Now that I’ve made it at home, I can try something else from the menu the next time I eat out!
Vegan Kale Caesar Salad with Cider Carrots
For the Cider Carrots
- 2 large carrots, cubed
- 1 teaspoon neutral vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
For the Caesar Dressing
- ½ cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours, rinse and drained
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon mellow white miso
- 2 teaspoons capers
- ½ teaspoon mustard
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
For the Salad
- 1 bunch kale, destemmed and chopped
- ¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- 2 tablespoons Walnut Parmesan
Make the Carrots
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and sauté until they begin to brown slightly, about 5 minutes.
Whisk together the apple cider vinegar, stock, mustard, and sea salt, and pour them into the pan with the carrots. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer. Let simmer until most of the liquid as been absorbed, about 10 minutes.
Remove the carrots from the liquid and allow to cool.
Make the Dressing
Mix all of the ingredients together in a high-speed blender or food processor until smooth and creamy.
Make the Salad
Place the kale in a large bowl and pour on about ¾ of the dressing. With clean hands, massage the dressing into the kale until it begins to soften. Don’t over massage the kale.
Drizzle on the rest of the dressing and top with the toasted pumpkin seeds and Walnut Parmesan.
If you enjoyed this Vegan Kale Caesar Salad, you might also like:
- Holiday Kale Salad with Maple Mustard Dressing
- Strawberry Kale Salad
- Kale and Edamame Salad with Lemon Herb Dressing
- Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Creamy Cashew Dressing