Hearty kale is tossed in a briny caesar dressing and topped with chickpea croutons to make this Kale Caesar Salad. It’s a crowd-pleasing vegan recipe that’s ready in just 30 minutes!

close up of salad in a black bowl topped with chickpea croutons

Who knew a salad could be so addictive?

This creamy and garlicky Kale Caesar Salad is loaded with dark leafy greens, crunchy chickpea croutons, and the best egg free caesar dressing. It’s a simple salad that has SO MUCH flavor!

My vegan kale caesar salad is made with 3 delicious elements:

  • Big bunches of kale
  • A creamy, briny caesar dressing
  • And seasoned roasted chickpea croutons (or skip these and throw in some real croutons instead!)
lots of chopped kale in a bowl

My vegan caesar dressing is taken up a notch in this recipe with a dash of nutritional yeast and caper brine. Garlicky, briney, and oh-so-creamy, this caesar dressing without anchovies or eggs is elevated and tastes like the real thing.

As a bonus, the hearty lacinato (or dinosaur) kale leaves hold up well under the weight of the dressing for days. You can enjoy the salad for leftovers all week long! And if you end up with more kale than you know what to do with, you can always use it in a Kale Smoothie or a Cauliflower Kale Soup.

Topped with chickpea croutons and a sprinkle of vegan parmesan, this 30 minute salad is ready to eat!

chickpeas in a white dish towel

How to make kale caesar salad

Start by drying the drained/rinsed beans in a clean towel, then seasoning the chickpea croutons and roast them in a 425ºF oven. This will take about 30 minutes, depending on how crispy or crunchy you like your croutons.

Meanwhile, bring some water to a boil and pour it over your cashews. Let the nuts soak before draining and adding them into your blender. Blend the nuts and remaining caesar dressing ingredients together until the dressing is very smooth.

Add the kale and dressing to a large bowl and toss them together. Top with chickpea croutons and vegan parmesan cheese and enjoy!

seasoned chickpeas on a baking sheet

Tips & substitutions

  • Massage the kale with a little dressing or olive oil before assembling. This softens the leaves and removes some of the bitter flavors.
  • Can’t find lacinato kale? Use baby kale, a mix of kale and romaine, or 8 cups of pre-chopped kale instead.
  • Not a fan of kale? Make my Vegan Caesar Salad with romaine lettuce instead.
  • Add more toppings, like sliced avocados, cucumber, vegan parmesan or Violife parmesan, and halved cherry tomatoes. Tempeh bacon is also an excellent addition!
  • Instead of roasted chickpea croutons, use vegan-friendly croutons instead or buy a bag of pre-roasted chickpeas.
  • If you have a nut allergy, replace the cashews and water in the salad dressing with 3/4 cup of vegan mayonnaise.
kale in a bowl with white dressing on top

Frequently asked questions

  • Do I need a high powered blender? A blender with a powerful motor, like a Vitamix, will make the dressing as smooth as possible. If you don’t have a high powered blender, let the nuts soak overnight or blend the dressing for longer to get similar results.
  • Can it be made ahead of time? The dressing can be made up to 1 week ahead of time. Just keep it in an airtight container in the fridge until it’s time to assemble the salad. It’s also freezer-friendly!
  • How long does it last? Store the leftover salad in an airtight container in the fridge. It should stay fresh and the leaves should hold their texture for about 3 days.
  • What goes with kale caesar salad? Serve it on the side of Tuscan Vegan Gnocchi, Stuffed Peppers, or Vegan Lasagna at dinner with a slice of garlic bread.
close up of kale caesar salad in a black bowl topped with chickpea croutons

More salad recipes

close up of green caesar salad in a black bowl with chickpea croutons

Kale Caesar Salad

Hearty kale is tossed in a briny caesar dressing and topped with chickpea croutons to make this Kale Caesar Salad. It’s a crowd-pleasing vegan recipe that’s ready in just 30 minutes!
5 from 2 votes

Ingredients

  • 2 large bunches lacinato kale, stems removed and chopped into 1 inch pieces*
  • 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • sprinkle salt + black pepper

Caesar Dressing

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon brine from a jar of capers
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Optional

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and lightly grease a baking sheet with a rimmed edge (or use a silicone mat/parchment paper.) Drain chickpeas and dry slightly with a clean tea towel or paper towels, trying to remove as much moisture as possible. 
  • Add the chickpeas to the baking sheet. Drizzle on the olive oil. Sprinkle the garlic powder plus a pinch of salt and pepper on top of the chickpeas. Mix gently with your hands or a spatula in the pan. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes, until crispy but not burnt. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Pour the hot water over the cashews and let soak for 5 minutes. Drain the cashews and discard the soaking water. Add them to a high powered blender along with ¾ cup fresh water and all the remaining dressing ingredients. Blend until very smooth.
  • Add the washed and chopped kale to a large salad bowl. If desired, massage the kale for 2-3 minutes with a teaspoon of olive oil or dressing. Pour in the dressing and toss with the kale. Top with the chickpea croutons and a good sprinkle of vegan parmesan cheese. Serve with extra vegan parmesan cheese. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Notes

  1. Alternatively, you can use pre-chopped kale. The negative thing is that there are almost always lots of stems left in pre-chopped kale, so it’s better to chop it yourself.
  2. Feel free to use a mix of kale and romaine, or baby kale instead.
  3. Possible additions: halved cherry tomatoes, sliced avocado, diced cucumbers, Tempeh Bacon or shredded carrots.
  4. Instead of chickpea croutons, feel free to use real croutons <—- these are my favorite and they are vegan.
  5. The salad makes about 4 entree sized salads, or around 8 small servings.
  6. Kale is hearty and the salad will keep for up to 3 days, even with the dressing.

Nutrition

Serving: 1of 4 servings, Calories: 337kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 9mg, Sodium: 830mg, Potassium: 442mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 659IU, Vitamin C: 12mg, Calcium: 197mg, Iron: 3mg

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