Vegan Kale Caesar Salad
This vegan kale caesar salad with roasted chickpeas and coconut bacon is full of flavor and only improved by the most delicious vegan caesar dressing.
- vegan and gluten-free – works for those with dietary restrictions
- prep in advance – make the components in advance for quick and easy assembly
- make it a classic caesar salad – swap the kale for romaine, the chickpeas for croutons, toss with the dressing and enjoy
- great side salad to serve with sweet potato black bean burgers, beet burgers, chickpea wraps or spicy chickpea burgers
Here are a few notes about the ingredients. The complete ingredient list with amounts needed is in the recipe card below.
- chickpeas – the roasted chickpeas are optional and can be swapped for regular croutons, if using chickpeas, you’ll need 1 15-19 oz can, drained and rinsed
- soft tofu – the base of the dressing is made from soft tofu, it can be swapped for soaked cashews but I much prefer tofu here
- white miso paste – essential for the best caesar dressing!
- kale – go for a kale caesar or swap it out for romaine for a traditional caesar, any kind of kale works here
How to Make this Salad
I’m not including the coconut bacon steps here as it’s an optional ingredient. You’ll need an additional 15 minutes to make it. Find all details on how to make coconut bacon here.
Step 1. Make the Roasted Chickpeas
Drain and rinse a can of chickpeas then do your best to dry them off as much as possible. The dried they are before roasting, the crispier the result.
Toss with a touch of oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder before baking in the oven for 30-40 minutes at 400 F.
Step 2. Blend the Dressing
Place all the dressing ingredients in a blender and processor until smooth and creamy.
Step 3. Prepare the Kale
Remove the kale leaves from the thick stems and finely chop. Add a bit of the dressing to the kale and let it sit for 10 minutes so the kale can soften up a bit. Alternatively, massage the kale with a touch of olive oil for a few minutes until softened.
Toss the kale with the rest of the dressing, add the roasted chickpeas and top with optional coconut bacon and vegan parmesan.
Tips and FAQs
- For a classic caesar salad, use romaine lettuce instead of kale and traditional croutons instead of chickpeas. The coconut bacon is optional either way.
- Vegan parmesan is a nice addition. You can use store-bought or try this recipe for a cashew and nutrition yeast parmesan.
Can I make this in advance?
To make this salad quick and easy, make the coconut bacon, dressing and chickpeas in advance. The bacon and chickpeas can be made up to a week in advance and the dressing can be made up to 4 days in advance.
If prepped ahead of time, it takes just minutes to prepare the kale and mix everything up.
How should I store this salad?
This salad is best enjoyed fresh but can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days. If there are leftovers and it’s possible to store the kale, dressing and chickpeas separately, do that and assemble as needed.
Do I have to use chickpeas?
Nope. Instead of chickpeas, you can use store-bought croutons or easily make your own. Here’s how to make yummy, maple croutons:
- chop 3-4 slices of whole-grain bread into cubes the bread into cubes
- mix with 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp maple syrup and a pinch of salt and pepper
- spread on a baking tray in a single layer and bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes until crispy
Looking for more kale salads? You might like these salads too:
- Vegan Lentil Kale Salad
- Avocado Kale Salad
- Carrot Beet Kale Salad
- Roasted Potato Kale Salad
- Roasted Chickpea Avocado Salad
Did you try this recipe?
I’d love to hear about it! Click here to leave a review and be sure to tag me @runningonrealfood if you post it on social media.
Vegan Kale Caesar Salad
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 40 mins
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: 4
- Category: Salad
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Amercian
- Diet: Vegan
This vegan caesar salad features the most amazing plant-based caesar salad dressing plus coconut bacon and roasted chickpeas for a crowd-pleasing meal.
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, de-stemmed and finely chopped
- optional vegan parmesan for topping
- a sprinkle of coconut bacon, optional
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!
For a classic caesar salad, use romaine lettuce instead of kale and traditional croutons instead of chickpeas. The coconut bacon is optional either way.
The coconut bacon and roasted chickpeas make enough for about 4 salads. Store any leftovers in an air-tight container.
Find instructions on how to make coconut bacon here.
This salad is best enjoyed fresh but can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days. If there are leftovers and it’s possible to store the kale, dressing, and chickpeas separately, do that and assemble as needed.
Keywords: vegan kale caesar salad, kale caesar salad, vegan caesar salad
Update Note: This recipe was originally published on November 10, 2017 . It was updated on June 12, 2020 with new photos and text.
This salad is top notch! Love, love, love the optional coconut bacon and savory crunchy chickpeas. A true winner!
I can’t find soft tofu anywhere. Any substitutions?
You can Google a vegan cashew or tahini caesar dressing. There will be lots of good options!
This recipe is amazing…even without the chickpeas. The dressing is perfect. We do croutons sometimes and use different kinds of lettuce or spinach for the base. Love it!
This looks amazing – never tried making coconut bacon before but this makes it seem do-able! Thanks for sharing 🙂
I love all of the delicious but healthy flavors you have going on in this salad! It looks perfect for lunch today.
Roasted chickpeas are amazing. This salad looks great!
My hubby LOVES traditional caesar salad – I can’t wait to make this for him and see what he thinks (without him knowing it’s vegan!).