This vegan kale caesar salad is a hearty and satisfying salad that is packed with healthy fats and vitamins to get your skin glowing!
I’ve always looooved a good caesar salad. Crispy croutons, creamy dressing, crispy lettuce, I’m drooling just thinking about it. It was my summer lunch of choice during most of my high school years. However, the dairy never made me feel all the great, so I’ve finally come up with an easy, delicious, dairy free caesar! We’re also going to use kale instead of romaine for a whole lot of added nutrition.
How to soften kale so it actually tastes good
Ok, this part is important! Well, as important as a conversation about kale can be. Anyway, what you want to do first is de-stem the kale. You can do this easily by grabbing the stem and sliding your fingers up to pull the stem off the leaves. Then, chop it into tiny pieces and add it to a colander. You’ll want to massage it while running it under warm water to help break it down. Don’t be afraid to really get down and dirty with your kale!! You’ll want to massage it for a few minutes until it starts to wilt slightly and turns a really deep green color. Adding some lemon juice will also be helpful to make it less tough and easier to chew.
Health benefits of kale
Kale probably isn’t your favorite vegetables. But it IS one of the most nutrient dense vegetables around. It’s loaded with powerful antioxidants like quercetin, vitamin C, K, calcium, and even iron. I promise, when you smother some kale in this vegan caesar dressing, you’ll start to crave this nutrient powerhouse. Just wait!
Have you ever tried to make crispy roasted chickpeas that just won’t get crispy? Because same, and it’s annoying! So I have a few tricks for you! First, and this part is kind of tedious and annoying, but it really helps if you can remove as many chickpea skins as possible. It helps to place the chickpeas between two paper towels and rub them around. This should get many of the skins off, but you’ll have to pick each one off individually. The second trick is to let the chickpeas cook first then turn the oven OFF to let them crisp up. This will ensure they get crispy without burning.
A few final thoughts on this vegan kale caesar salad
- The dressing will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week. However, I recommend storing the dressing and chopped kale separately if you won’t be eating it right away. Dress the salad right before it’s going to be severed!
- You can store your chickpeas in a jar or tupperware container, but they stay crispy for longer if you DON’T seal the top! This helps them “breathe” a bit so they stay nice and crispy. They will stay fresh at room temperature for about 5 days.
- When you add the dressing to the kale, it helps to use your hands to massage it into the leaves to make sure everything is well coated. You can toss it with spoons if desired, but hands are easier and ensure every leaf is properly coated.
- I topped mine with some dairy free parmesan ‘cheese,’ but it is delicious just as is!
For more delicious salads, try my Spinach Strawberry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing, Mashed Chickpea ‘Tuna’ Salad, or my Apple and Kale Salad With Maple Tahini Dressing!Print
- 1 bunch kale (any variety) (about 4–5 heaping cups chopped)
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 large avocado
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup hemp hearts
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 2 tbsp lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
- 2 large cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 –1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add the drained, rinsed, and dried chickpeas to a large bowl.
- Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and garlic and add to a pan lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for about 35 minutes, turn the oven OFF, and let sit in the oven for an additional 15-20 minutes to crisp.
- While the chickpeas are cooking, prepare the rest of the salad. Remove the stems of the kale and chop the leaves into very small pieces.
- Add to a colander and run under warm water. While the water is running, massage the kale with your hands to help break it down.
- Transfer to a large mixing bowl and dry the kale using a towel.
- To make the dressing, add all ingredients into a high speed blender and process until smooth. Taste, and adjust seasonings as desired.
- Toss the dressing with the kale, add the chickpeas, sliced avocado and enjoy!
To make your chickpeas extra crispy, after they have been drained and rinsed, you can peel off the skins of each chickpea. This step is tedious and annoying, but it does help the chickpeas crisp really well!
Keywords: caesar salad, kale salad, vegan caesar dressing