I do love salads, but I have a few guidelines when it comes to making and enjoying them. They have to be filling and hearty, they have to have some crunch (hello texture) and they need to be delicious. So, whenever I post a salad recipe, you can rest assured that it’s anything but boring. And I’ve been making and enjoying this vegan kale caesar salad recipe for years! But for some reason, I haven’t actually posted it on here, until now.
Why I Love Kale Caesar Salads
Although I love a classic caesar salad (anchovies and all), sometimes, I want a creamier type dressing. Especially if I’m going to have it with kale. I’ve tried making a classic caesar dressing and using that on kale and it just wasn’t the same. I actually much prefer this vegan caesar dressing on kale. It helps soften the kale quite a bit and it doesn’t overload a salad, like it would on a traditional romaine salad.
If you’re looking for a classic caesar dressing, you can try this version with shredded brussels sprouts.
All in all this vegan kale caesar salad hits all the following:
For the Vegan Caesar Dressing:
To make this vegan caesar salad dressing creamy, you’ll need some cashews. For one medium sized batch, that will be 1/3 cup soaked and drained raw cashews.
To add a little tang, a little bit of dijon mustard is recommended. I prefer dijon over yellow.
To add acidity and brightness you’ll add some fresh lemon juice.
I like adding EVOO and water to this vegan caesar dressing because it makes it taste a little richer. You can omit and just use water for an oil free vegan caesar dressing.
No need for anchovies in this dressing (although I do love them!). Capers are perfect for adding a briny flavor.
Traditional worcestershire has anchovies, so if you’re keeping this caesar salad dressing vegan, be sure to use a vegan worcestershire sauce.
You can add in fresh garlic if you prefer, or just a dash of garlic powder. This just adds more flavor!
The secret ingredient in most vegan cheese sauces or dips is nutritional yeast. I’m OBSESSED with nutritional yeast and love sprinkling it onto SO many things, especially in this salad dressing.
This is the brand of nutritional yeast I buy.
For the Kale Caesar Salad:
For this kale caesar salad, I prefer using lacinato kale, also known as tuscan kale. It’s slightly softer than regular curly kale which is why I prefer it in salads. If you can’t find this type of kale, you can use curly kale. Just be sure to slice the kale thinly into ribbons rather than leaving them chunky.
Adding some sliced green onion adds more flavour and more greens.
An optional add on is some cubed or sliced avocado. This adds creaminess, healthy fats and it just tastes delicious.
For the Vegan Parmesan
I like adding a vegan parmesan on top of the salad for that crunch factor! This only takes a few minutes to make and tastes so delicious on any salad, especially this vegan kale caesar salad.
More healthy fats! Hemp hearts or hemp seeds are a great addition to this vegan parm.
To provide that crunch, I like using chopped almonds combined with hemp hearts for the vegan parmesan.
Gotta have more nutritional yeast! This adds a savory, cheesy flavor that can’t be replicated.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
To help bring it all together, a little drizzle of EVOO is needed.
How to Make
Making this vegan kale caesar salad is SO easy.
The first thing you’ll want to do is soak your cashews. Ideally, you’ll want to soak them for at least 4 to 6 hours. However, if you have a high powered blender, like a Vitamix, you can get away with a shorter soak time. Usually, I soak my cashews for about 45 minutes in just boiled water. This speeds it up quite a bit and my Vitamix has no problem blending it.
Add all of the ingredients for the caesar dressing into your blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy. Pour into a small container and set it aside. Then clean your blender out and pat dry.
Next, finely chop your kale into thin ribbons. Then add to a large salad bowl.
Then slice your green onion and set aside.
Add just a small drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to the kale and mix with your hands to massage it in. This helps to soften it just a bit. Add in half of the green onion and toss again.
Add the vegan parmesan ingredients to your blender and pulse to combine. You want to have them roughly chopped, so don’t blend on too high or for too long.
Assemble your kale salad by adding the dressing to the bowl with the kale and green onion. Mix well with salad tongs. Then add the remaining green onion. Divide onto plates, top with vegan parmesan and avocado.
Having some crunch on top of your vegan kale caesar salad is one of my essentials to making a delicious salad. I love adding crispy chickpeas on top, crunchy croutons or crispy lentils.
If you want to make your own crispy lentils, be sure to check out this post to learn how to make them at home. They’re SO easy to make and easier to digest than chickpeas. Plus, I’ve included three different flavour options to choose from! Perfect for meal prep too.
Tips to Making This Creamy Caesar Dressing
If you want to make the best, most creamy and delicious vegan caesar salad dressing be sure to follow these tips!
- Don’t forget to soak your cashews so that you can whip up this dressing easily and quickly. If you remember, do it the night before. But if you’re like me and forget, speed it up and soak in just boiled water for about 45 minutes.
- Be sure to slice your kale into thin ribbons. This makes it so much easier to eat and I promise it’s worth the extra bit of time.
- Blend on high and until very smooth. Even with a vitamix, you want to really get this dressing super smooth and creamy which is why I recommend blending on high for at least a minute or two. Stop and scrape down the sides in between so you can make sure it stays smooth and creamy.
- Add water as needed to get the consistency you want. This dressing can take anywhere from 4 tbsp to 6 tbsp to get it to the desired thickness you want. But don’t add it all at once, start with 4 tbsp and then add it slowly until you like the consistency.
If you make this vegan kale caesar salad, please let me know by tagging me on Instagram. Or you could leave a rating and/or review below! It truly means so much to me when I hear from you.
This recipe was inspired by the one and only Oh She Glows!
This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only share products and services I have personally used and love. Disclosure here.
Vegan Kale Caesar Salad
A hearty and satisfying vegan kale caesar salad thats simple and easy to make. You're going to want to put this dressing on everything!
For the Dressing
For the Kale Salad
- 1 bunch lacinato kale
- 3 stalks green onion sliced on the bias
- 1 Avocado sliced or cubed, optional
For the Caesar Dressing
Place your cashews in a bowl of water and soak them for at least 4 to 6 hours. You can also soak cashews for about 45 minutes in just boiled water if you have a high powered blender, like a vitamix. Then rinse and drain your cashews.
Add all of the ingredients for the caesar dressing into your blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy. Pour into a small container and set it aside. Then clean your blender out and pat dry as you'll use it again for the vegan parmesan.
For the Salad & Parmesan
Finely chop your kale into thin ribbons. Then add to a large salad bowl.
Add a small drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to the kale and mix with your hands to massage it in. This helps to soften it just a bit. Add in half of the sliced green onion and toss again.
Add the vegan parmesan ingredients to your blender and pulse to combine. You want to have them roughly chopped, so don't blend on too high or for too long.
Assemble your kale salad by adding the dressing to the bowl with the kale and green onion. Mix well with salad tongs. Then add the remaining green onion. Divide onto plates, top with vegan parmesan and avocado and crispy lentils if using.
You can store this vegan caesar dressing in your fridge for up to one week.
Caesar dressing makes about 1/2 to 3/4 cup.