Vegan Kale Caesar Salad with Roasted Chickpeas is a hearty dish that's perfect on it's own for lunch or dinner, but it also makes a great starter or side dish. The homemade non-dairy caesar dressing is so good that you'll want to pour it all over just about everything! This easy recipe is super easy to make. It's dairy-free, gluten-free, and nut-free.
Today I answer the question, “How many Caesar salad can one blog have?” The answer, “As many as I want!” This definitely isn't the first, and I doubt it will be the last
Caesar is my favorite type of salad. Many years ago, when I was vegetarian, I would buy bottles of Caesar dressing, only to discover one day that it contained anchovies. I had no idea that a salad dressing would contain fish. I stopped eating Caesar salad until I learned to make my own vegan versions at home.
If I see a vegan Caesar on the menu when I'm out at a restaurant, you can bet that's what I'll order. And make them at least once a week, mixing up the ingredients I use. Sometimes adding other veggies, such as shredded purple cabbage or carrots.
Kale Caesar Salad with Roasted Chickpea Croutons
This Kale Caesar Salad is one that I make often. I often use roasted chickpeas instead of bread for croutons. I usually make garlicky chickpeas, but I might mix it up and make them spicy if I’m making a taco salad. Now that I have an air fryer, I tend to just dump the chickpeas and spices in it without measuring anything. They cook in about half the time they would in the oven.
I used to use a tiny bit of oil in my roasted chickpeas, but I’ve found that they cook up just as crispy with aquafaba, which is the chickpea cooking water. If you’re cooking beans from scratch, save a little of the water. If you’re using canned chickpeas drain the liquid in a small bowl. I save my chickpea water in small containers in the freezer, so I have some on hand if I need it.
I often make my dressing with cashews and my “parmesan” with walnuts or almonds. I created this nut-free salad a few years ago after I had several requests for nut-free cooking classes. Here, I use silken tofu in my dressing and hemp seeds in the parmesan.
What You Need
Don't let this long list scare you - this salad is super easy to make!
- Silken tofu
- Lemon juice
- Mellow white miso
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Mustard powder
- Nutritional yeast
- Hemp seeds
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- Romaine lettuce
See the recipe card for exact amounts.
Massage that Kale!
Kale can be a little tough to chew in its raw state. The best way to combat that is to massage it with an acid. The lemon juice in this salad dressing is acidic, so it will help to break down the kale's tough fibers. Massage your kale until it just beings to wilt. There's nothing worse than overly relaxed kale, so don't massage it too much.
How to Make Kale Caesar Salad
This salad may look like it requires a lot of work, but don’t let the long ingredients list fool you – it comes together quickly.
- First you toss the chickpeas together with the aquafaba and spices and roast them in your oven or air fryer.
- While the chickpeas are roasting, you mix together all of the dressing ingredients in a blender. I use my Blendtec, and it's ready in seconds.
- Then you mix together the parmesan ingredients in a spice grinder, a small food processor, or the dry blade of a high-speed blender. I use the Blendtec's Twister Jar.
- You assemble the salad by placing the chopped kale in a bowl with half of the dressing and massaging it.
- Then you add the romaine lettuce and the rest of the dressing and toss everything to coat.
- Top your salad with with the roasted chickpeas and sprinkle on the parmesan.
Kale Caesar Salad with Roasted Chickpeas
For the Chickpea Croutons
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas
- 1 teaspoon of aquafaba (the water from the can of chickpeas)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Caesar Dressing
- 1 12.3 ounce package silken tofu
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon capers drained
- 2 teaspoons mellow white miso
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon mustard powder
For the Hemp Seed Parmesan
For the Salad
- 1 large bunch kale destemmed and chopped (about 6 cups)
- 1 large head romaine lettuce or two romaine hearts chopped (about 6 cups)
Make the Chickpea Croutons
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the chickpeas in a bowl and drizzle on the aquafaba and lemon juice. Add the garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper, and mix to coat.
- Bake for 20 minutes, and then carefully roll the chickpeas around on the baking sheet. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, keeping an eye on them so they don’t burn.
- If you have an air fryer, you can cook them on 400°F for about 15-20 minutes, or until crisp. Shake the basket at the halfway point.
- Let the chickpeas cool for 5 to 10 minutes before adding them to your salad.
Make the Caesar Dressing
- Mix all of the ingredients together in a high-speed blender or food processor until smooth and creamy.
- Refrigerate until ready to use.
Make The Hemp Seed Parmesan
- Mix all of the ingredients together in a spice grinder, a small food processor, or the dry blade of a high-speed blender. Do not over-mix!
- Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Assemble the Salad
- Place the chopped kale in a large bowl and pour on about half of the dressing. With clean hands, massage the dressing into the kale, until it just begins to wilt.
- Add the lettuce and the remaining dressing to the bowl and toss to coat.
- Sprinkle on the parmesan and then add the chickpeas. Serve immediately.
Serve Your Caesar Salad With
- Roasted Cauliflower Piccata
- Asparagus and Tomato Tart with Cashew Ricotta
- Socca Stacks
- Zucchini Lasagna Tart