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.
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:
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 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.
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.
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.
If you want to make the best, most creamy and delicious vegan caesar salad dressing be sure to follow these tips!
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!
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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!
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.