Creamy, tangy, salty Caesar dressing—is there anything better? Unfortunately for vegans, strict vegetarians, or just your average anchovy hater, classic Caesar dressing with eggs, Parmesan cheese and yes, perfect little anchovies, is not an option. Well, in my opinion, foregoing Caesar salads all together is definitely not an option, so I sought out to create the easiest-ever vegan Caesar salad that anyone can enjoy. Topped with crisp, spiced chickpeas and homemade croutons, it’s enough for a full meal for two or tasty side dish that’ll have everyone eyeing seconds. I still love the original Caesar, but oh my, is this version delicious.
It starts with the dressing which, unlike a lot of other vegan Caesar dressings, requires zero blending or soaking or extra appliances. Just grab a bowl and whisk together creamy tahini, fresh lemon juice, and olive oil with a touch of Dijon mustard, honey, and garlic. A few shakes of nutritional yeast provide cheesy flavor, while a splash of soy sauce adds salty umami that an anchovy would otherwise provide.
An important first step is to massage your kale—yep, use your hands to knead, squeeze, and ring out all the knots of those hearty leaves until they soften. This helps tenderize kale’s tough texture, removes any bitterness, and readies it for the dressing.
Quick note about the croutons: they are not your typical, baked, crunchy croutons. They are simply well-toasted until deeply golden brown, crisp on the outside, and chewy on the inside. Just drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and they are ready to eat. I started making croutons this way because I was too lazy to turn on the oven and wait for them to bake, but now I actually prefer the warm, soft cubes of toast in the cool, crisp salad instead of mouth-scratching boulders. It’s a win-win.
If you’re not serving this as the main, it would be the perfect side dish for:
How to make vegan caesar salad