This vegan kale caesar salad with roasted chickpeas and coconut bacon is the stuff that salad dreams are made of. We’re talking lightly wilted kale, perfectly tangy vegan caesar salad dressing, crispy chickpeas and salty coconut bacon. There are so many amazing flavours and textures going on in this salad, you’ll be dreaming of it days later and wondering how long you have to wait until you can eat it again.
Coconut Bacon Life
I first shared how to make coconut bacon in the recipe for Broccoli Brown Rice Bowls with Almond Satay Sauce. I’m not going to go into as much detail today but if you’ve never made it before you can head over there and check out my coconut bacon tips. It’s really easy to make and I’ve included all the steps in the recipe, so even if you haven’t made it before, you can find everything you need down below.
Vegan Caesar Salad Dressing
I’ve made many variations of vegan caesar salad dressings over the years and the one I’m sharing today is my favourite. I’ve used cashews and hemp seeds before but I like soft tofu the best for it’s smooth texture and mild flavour, well, really no flavour at all, which is why it works so well.
Another key ingredient for vegan caesar salad dressing is miso paste. Miso provides just the right amount salty goodness that you need in caesar salad dressing. I also use garlic, lemon, dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar and salt. That’s everything you need. To make it all you need to do is blend it all up until smooth and creamy then load it all into your kale salad. It’s the best.
Roasted or Buffalo Chickpeas
I’ve made this salad with both buffalo chickpeas and roasted chickpeas. For the buffalo chickpeas I used the recipe from my buffalo chickpea stuffed sweet potatoes. I thought I’d give both options here in case you want to give both a try.
Buffalo chickpeas are easy to make in a pan. You just cook up the chickpeas with buffalo sauce a tiny bit of olive oil and some garlic powder, salt and pepper. I like to mash about half of them so they have some texture to them. If you like spicy, you’ll love the buffalo chickpea option for this salad. If you prefer something a little saltier and crispier, go with roasted chickpeas.
Roasted chickpeas are also a cinch to make. I make them by tossing them with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, roasting until crispy and then adding any other spices I want once they’re roasted. I love making them for food prep so I can throw them in salads and buddha bowls. You can find a bunch of suggestions for roasted chickpea flavours in this post. I added sea salt, pepper, smoked paprika and red pepper flakes to mine for this recipe, they were spicy, salty and delicious!
How to Make Croutons
If you don’t feel like going the chickpea route, you can very easily make your own croutons for this salad.You could even add them in addition to the chickpeas and coconut bacon to really take this salad to the next level! Here’s my fave recipe for homemade maple croutons. These things are freaking addictive and so dang delicious.
- 3 or 4 slices whole-grain bread of choice, I like Silver Hills Sprouted Grain breads
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- salt and pepper
Cut the bread into cubes and mix with the rest of the ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees, in a single layer, until crispy, about 20-25 minutes. Watch carefully after 15 minutes as they can easily burn. Flip them once half way through.
Vegan Kale Caesar Salad with Coconut Bacon
Okay, let’s get into this salad. To make this beauty, you’re gonna need to:
- bake the coconut bacon
- make the roasted chickpeas
- finely chop the kale
- blend up the salad dressing
That’s it. It can all be done in advance so you can just throw the salad together when you’re ready and if you’re not making it in advance, it can be ready in about 20 minutes, start to finish with prep and cooking time.Print
For the Coconut Bacon
- 2 cups coconut flakes
- 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
For the Roasted Chickpeas
- 1 19 oz can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and dried
- 1/2 tsp olive or avocado oil
- generous sprinkling of garlic powder, sea salt and black pepper
For the Caesar Salad Dressing
- 150 g of soft tofu, approx. 1/2 cup
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp white miso paste
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
For the Kale Salad
- 2 or 3 big handfuls of kale per person, finely chopped
- optional vegan parmesan for topping
To Make the Coconut Bacon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Add all of the ingredients to a bowl and mix well. Optional: let marinate for 5-10 minutes.
- Spread the coconut on a silicone mat or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Make sure it’s spread evenly and overlapping as little as possible.
- Bake for 5 minutes then remove from the oven and give it a quick stir, again making sure it’s evenly spread around.
- Place back in the oven for 2 minutes, then give it another quick stir.
- Continue, checking every 2 minutes until it’s golden brown and ever so slightly starting to darken around the edges. Be careful as it can burn quickly.
- Once it’s done, let cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.
To Make the Roasted Chickpeas
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Use a paper towel or cloth to blot the chickpeas dry.
- Place on a parchment or silicone baking mat-lined baking sheet.
- Drizzle with the oil then sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper then roll them around until they’re all coated.
- Roast for 30-40 minutes, shaking the pan after 20 minutes, until crisped and light browned,
To Make the Caesar Salad Dressing
- Blend all the dressing ingredients until smooth and creamy. Store any extras in the fridge for up to 5 days.
To Assemble the Salad
- Place the finely chopped kale in a bowl, pour some of the dressing over and stir well. Let it sit for 5 or 10 minutes so the kale can soften a bit.
Top with chickpeas and coconut bacon and enjoy!
- The dressing makes enough for 2 large salads. Store any leftovers in the fridge.
- The coconut bacon and roasted chickpeas make enough for about 4 salads. Store any leftovers in an air-tight container.