A week rarely goes by in our house without Caesar salad on the menu! A great Caesar salad is a wonderful side dish to many meals, and it’s a huge crowd-pleaser—many picky eaters who won’t otherwise touch a salad happily enjoy a good Caesar salad!
Our version of Caesar salad is boosted with earthy, nutrient-dense, chewy raw kale. We swap out the classic crunchy croutons for our homemade chickpea croutons—which add a great crunch and help round out the salad and make it more hearty. We recommend using our homemade Caesar salad dressing (it’s so easy!), but you can also use your favorite bottled Caesar dressing for this recipe. Let’s get cooking!
How is this kale Caesar salad different from a classic Caesar salad?
A classic Caesar salad is simply romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese, crunchy croutons, and Caesar dressing. And while we love a classic Caesar salad, we wanted to flesh out our version to be more filling and hearty!
Enter our superfood kale Caesar salad! We add kale leaves to the lettuce and replace the standard croutons with filling chickpea croutons. And when we really want to go all-in on the superfoods, we also like to make a hemp seed Parmesan replacement.
What kind of kale should I use?
We use lacinato kale, which you may also see called dinosaur kale or Tuscan kale. Lacinato kale leaves are long, thin, and bumpy, while curly kale leaves have frilly edges. We love and use both regularly, but for eating raw, we prefer dinosaur kale. It has just a touch more flavor, and the leaves are thinner and more tender—making it the better choice for salads.
How do you make this kale Caesar salad recipe?
There are a few elements to prep for this kale Caesar salad, and they all come together to make a delicious salad full of texture and flavor:
- Make the chickpea croutons. Pat the chickpeas dry, and toss them with oil, salt, and garlic powder. Bake in a single layer on a baking sheet in a 400°F oven until browned. Set aside—they will get crunchier as they cool.
- Make the Caesar dressing (you can also use your favorite bottled Caesar dressing).
- Grate the Parmesan or make hemp “Parmesan.” To make the hemp Parmesan replacement, pulse hemp seeds, nutritional yeast, raw cashews, salt, and garlic powder in a food processor until it is the texture of grated Parmesan.
- Assemble! Toss the veggies together with some of the dressing. Top with the chickpea croutons and either grated Parmesan cheese or the hemp Parmesan replacement.
Can this salad be made ahead?
Parts of it can! You don’t want to dress the greens until right before serving, or they will get soggy and limp. But you can:
- Make the Caesar dressing up to one week in advance. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
- Make the chickpea croutons ahead of time. Just keep them in an airtight container on the counter until you’re ready to use them.
- Make the hemp parmesan ahead of time. Stash this in the fridge until you are ready to use (it’s also great anywhere you would use parmesan).