Lemon Kale Caesar Salad

5 from 2 votes
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Lemon Kale Caesar Salad is crunch, filling and topped with creamy vegan Caesar dressing and spice roasted chickpea croutons.

Healthy Kale Caesar in a green bowl with avocado on top.
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Why Make This Lemon Kale Caesar Salad

This Kale and Chickpea Salad is crunchy, heart, healthy and so filling. It is full of nutritious ingredients and flavor on each bite. Each kale bit is coated in the delicious vegan caesar dressing. This salad is gluten free and loved by everyone. It is versatile if you want to top it with baked tempeh or tofu, you can also serve it tp meat eaters with grilled chicken. It is an all around crowd pleaser.

You can also make the vegan caesar dressing to dip with if you love it as much as our family does. The crispy seasoned chickpeas really take this salad over the top. They replace the croutons, and make this salad totally gluten free and healthier than your typical caesar salad. Try my Kale & Lentil Salad as well, it’s so garlicky and good.

Ingredients Needed

Ingredients for healthy kale caesar on a grey counter top for kale and chickpea salad.

Kale. Any style kale will work. We want the stems off and the leaves chopped. If you aren’t a fan of kale’s rough texture, you will be pleased with the way we prep it here because it’s softened.

Chickpeas. Canned will work best. These will be our croutons.

Olive Oil. High quality olive oil with a light taste.

Lemon Juice. Fresh is always best it offers the best citrus flavor and balance to the kale and to the dressing.

Water. To thin out the dressing a bit.

Tahini. We want a drippy, well blended tahini. This is my favorite tahini in a convenient squeeze bottle.

Seasoning. Garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, nutritional yeast (optional), oregano, cayenne pepper, cracked pepper. To season the chickpeas and to add to our dressing.

Capers. They add the flavor to the dressing to mimic anchovies. Keep the juice/brine!

Avocado. To top the salad. This is optional but I love the creaminess it adds.

Vegan Parmesan. To add and mix into the salad. Vegan feta or regular feta or Parmesan will work fine if you are not dairy free.

How To Make This Recipe

Steps to make this salad.

Step one. Rinse the chickpeas well in a mesh colander. pour them on a clean dish towel and roll them around a bit to collect any excess moisture. add chickpea seasoning together on a small bowl and whisk. Put chickpeas in a medium bowl, add in olive oil and seasonings and mix well to be sure they are evenly coated. Add to air fryer and cook on 350º for about 12 minutes. Be sure to turn them once. *If you have an oven style air fryer, place tin foil under the chickpeas to prevent too much seasoning from falling off. If in the oven, cook on a cookie sheet on 350º for about 20 minutes, turning often.

Salad up close with avocado.

Step two. Make your dressing! Add all the ingredients to a medium bowl. If using an immersion blender, blend well. Add a bit more water until mixture is thin enough to mock typical salad dressing, we want each leaf to be coated well. So don’t make it too thin. You want it to stick to the spoon. If you do not have an immersion blender, finely chop the capers before adding them to the bowl.

Step Three. Discard the stems from the kale, finely chop the leaves. Add to a large bowl. Pour olive oil and lemon juice over and gently massage the kale with your hands. This will soften the leaves and make them enjoyable to anyone! Next, pour dressing over, toss the dressing well so everything is evenly coated. Add in cheese, toss well. Top with avocado and crispy chickpeas.

Kale and chickpea salad with toppings in a grey bowl with a fork.

Tips To Make This Kale And Chickpea Salad

Can I use Romaine?

Yes, Romaine or a 50/50 mix of romaine and kale will work wonderfully.

Where do i find tahini?

I have it linked above for my favorite brand. All grocery stores sell it in the nut butter aisle. It is made of sesame seeds and delicious.

Will this salad keep?

Yes, but I suggest waiting to add the chickpeas until you are going to enjoy. The chickpeas will get stale and soggy quickly.

How do I make my dressing more thin?

Add a small tsp of water more to the mix until desired consistency. You will need a whisk to properly mix the tahini and water.

How do I thicken my dressing?

If your dressing is too thin and watery consistency, you can whisk it really good and let it sit for about 2 minutes, it often thickens when it sits. If that doesn’t do the trick, add a tbsp or two of tahini and whisk or blend well! You may want a tiny bit more salt if adding more tahini. Salt to taste.

Recipe Variations

Tahini. A plain cashew or sunflower seed butter will also work.

Vegan Parmesan. You can use vegan feta, or regular Parmesan or feta if not vegan.

Kale. Use mixed greens or romaine if needed, but try to thin the dressing a bit more.

Chickpeas. If you don’t have chickpeas, use bread croutons.

Other Kale Recipes To Try

If you loved this recipe let me know! Also, follow me on Instagram & Pinterest for even more fun recipes to make you feel good from the inside out. Thanks for being here.

Healthy Vegan Kale Caesar
5 from 2 votes

Lemon Kale Caesar Salad

Lemon Kale Caesar Salad is crunch, filling and topped with creamy vegan Caesar dressing and spice roasted chickpea croutons.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • air fryer
  • big salad bowl

Ingredients 

For The Kale Salad

  • 8 cups chopped kale
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 Tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup vegan parmesan, *see notes
  • 1 thinly sliced, pitted avocado

For The Dressing

  • cup tahini, well stirred
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped capers
  • 1 tbsp caper brine
  • ½ tsp garlic powder

Crispy Chickpeas

  • 1 15 oz can of chickpeas, drained
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp crushed, dried, oregano
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, *optional

Instructions 

  • Rinse the chickpeas well in a mesh colander. Pour them on a clean dish towel and roll them around a bit to collect any excess moisture. Add chickpea seasoning together in a small bowl and whisk. Put chickpeas in a medium bowl, add in olive oil and seasonings and mix well to be sure they are evenly coated.
    Add to air fryer and cook on 350º for about 12 minutes. Be sure to turn them once. *If you have an oven style air fryer, place parchment or tin foil under the chickpeas to prevent too much seasoning from falling off. ** If in the oven, cook on a cookie sheet on 350º for about 20 minutes, turning often.
  • Make the dressing. Chop capers up into little bits. Add all the ingredients to a medium bowl. If using an immersion blender, blend well. Add a bit more water until mixture is thin enough to mock typical salad dressing, we want each leaf to be coated well. So don't make it too thin. You want it to stick to the spoon.
  • Next put the salad together. Discard the stems from the kale, finely chop the leaves. Add to a large bowl. Pour olive oil and lemon juice over and gently massage the kale with your hands. This will soften the leaves and make them enjoyable to anyone eating. Next, pour dressing over, toss the dressing well so everything is evenly coated. Add in cheese, toss well. Top with avocado and crispy chickpeas.
  • Serve immediately or, if making ahead, wait to add the avocado and chickpeas until serving.

Notes

*vegan mozzarella will also work if you don’t have access to any Parmesan. Pecorino (made with sheep’s milk) will also work wonderfully.

Nutrition

Serving: 2cup | Calories: 347kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 649mg | Potassium: 984mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 11925IU | Vitamin C: 148mg | Calcium: 291mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Bailey
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Salad, Sauces & Dressings
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Calories: 347
Keyword: 30 minute, Air Fryer, Kale Salad
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Recipe Rating




1 Comment

  1. 5 stars
    Never knew I could like kale so much! This salad has simple ingredients and is so easy to put together. Very delicious and healthy.