Vegan Caesar Salad With Spiced Chickpeas

2 servings
40 min

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

Add the kale to a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Using your hands, massage the oil and salt into the kale until it is evenly coated and you can feel the kale start to soften. Toss in the romaine.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, make the vegan caesar dressing: Whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, honey, garlic, and soy sauce. Whisking constantly, slowly add in ¼ cup olive oil. Stir in the nutritional yeast. Add in water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dressing is creamy but pourable (this usually requires 1-2 tablespoons). Season to taste with salt and lots of pepper.


Pour 3/4 of the dressing over the kale and romaine and toss to coat. Add in the rest of the dressing if you think it needs more. Set aside while you make the chickpeas.

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium. Add in the chickpeas, garlic powder, paprika, and a pinch of salt. Toss to coat. Cook the chickpeas until warmed through and slightly crisp, about 5 minutes, turning down the heat if the spices start to burn. Taste and season with more salt as needed. Add the chickpeas to the salad.

Meanwhile, toast the bread until deeply golden brown. Drizzle each side with olive oil and season with salt. Slice the bread into ½-inch pieces, add to the salad. Toss salad again to combine all ingredients and serve, passing extra black pepper at the table.

Vegan Caesar Salad With Spiced Chickpeas

Recipe details

  • 2  servings
  • Prep time: 35 Minutes Cook time: 5 Minutes Total time: 40 min
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Ingredients


  • 1 small bunch curly or lacinato kale, stemmed and leaves chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 romaine heart, chopped into bite-sized pieces (3-4 cups)
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (from about 1 lemon), plus more as needed
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1 large garlic clove, grated or pressed
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 3 1/2-inch thick slices whole wheat bread, sourdough, or country loaf (5-6 oz)

Instructions


Add the kale to a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Using your hands, massage the oil and salt into the kale until it is evenly coated and you can feel the kale start to soften. Toss in the romaine.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, make the vegan caesar dressing: Whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, honey, garlic, and soy sauce. Whisking constantly, slowly add in ¼ cup olive oil. Stir in the nutritional yeast. Add in water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dressing is creamy but pourable (this usually requires 1-2 tablespoons). Season to taste with salt and lots of pepper.
Pour 3/4 of the dressing over the kale and romaine and toss to coat. Add in the rest of the dressing if you think it needs more. Set aside while you make the chickpeas.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium. Add in the chickpeas, garlic powder, paprika, and a pinch of salt. Toss to coat. Cook the chickpeas until warmed through and slightly crisp, about 5 minutes, turning down the heat if the spices start to burn. Taste and season with more salt as needed. Add the chickpeas to the salad.
Meanwhile, toast the bread until deeply golden brown. Drizzle each side with olive oil and season with salt. Slice the bread into ½-inch pieces, add to the salad. Toss salad again to combine all ingredients and serve, passing extra black pepper at the table.

Samantha
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Comments

  • Marjorie Saine Marjorie Saine on Aug 18, 2021

    Would anything work in the place of tahini? I am allergic to sesame (and egg which is why I was looking at this recipe). Thanks!

    • See 1 previous
    • Marjorie Saine Marjorie Saine on Aug 20, 2021

      Thank you! I'll hopefully have time to cook more (new recipes) in the near future!

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