Vegan Kale Caesar Salad with Roasted Chickpeas is a hearty dish that makes a terrific meal any time of the year. The homemade non-dairy caesar dressing is so good that you’ll want to pour it all over just about everything! Vegan Caesar salad is a great lunch on its own, but it’s also a perfect side for pasta or sandwiches, too. This 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 ins’t the first, and I doubt it will be the last
Caesar is my favorite type of salad. I frequently order them when dining out, and make them at least once a week. When I make them at home, I like to mix up the ingredients I use. Sometimes adding other veggies, such as shredded purple cabbage or carrots.
This Kale Caesar Salad is one that I make often. As I mentioned recently, 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. Recently, I’ve had several requests for nut-free cooking classes, so I’ve started to mix things up and use silken tofu in my dressing and hemp seeds in the parmesan.
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!
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. Both the dressing and the parmesan only take a minute or two to mix up in a blender or food processor, and they can be made with the chickpeas are roasting. If you’re pressed for time, the components can all be made ahead of time and the salad can assembled when you’re ready to eat.
Kale Caesar Salad with Roasted Chickpeas
For the Chickpea Croutons
- 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas or 1 14-ounce can
- 1 teaspoon of aquafaba (the water from the can of chickpeas)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 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
- 1 large head romaine lettuce or two romaine hearts chopped
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.
Note: After typing up and photographing this recipe, I realized that it’s very similar to one from Oh She Glows. It certainly wasn’t my intention to copy another blogger. This is a dish that I’ve been making on a regular basis for several years, and it’s in the same vein other recipes that I have here on my blog.
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