This vegan kale caesar salad is easy to make, so satisfying, and perfect for a crowd! This salad uses a mix of kale and romaine and is topped off with homemade croutons, vegan parmesan, and a creamy cashew caesar dressing.
Before going vegan, I would order caesar salads all time, so I knew I had to veganize it ASAP. I love it because it the most basic salad ever yet so delicious! This salad comes together in just under 20 minutes and can be enjoyed as a side or your main meal.
Overall, this salad is super simple and only calls for 5 broad ingredients:
- Kale: I know it's not in a classic caesar salad, but kale elevates it! Kale is a nutritional powerhouse and makes the salad much for satisfying.
- Romaine: I just couldn't make this recipe without it! Kale is a bit of a softer texture and is darker in color, so the crispiness and lightness of romaine perfectly balances this salad out.
- Homemade Croutons: These are so much tastier than store-bought croutons. Plus, it's much cheaper and healthier! We'll be using sourdough bread, olive oil, and a blend of spices to achieve the perfect homemade vegan croutons.
- Vegan Parmesan Cheese: grate it, shred it, I don't care, just don't forget it! I personally love to get the Violife Parmesan because 1. I love how it tastes and 2. it comes in a block just like real parmesan, so you can choose how you'd like to prepare it.
- Homemade Caesar Dressing: This dressing is truly spot on! It's super creamy without using any mayo. Instead, this vegan caesar dressing uses cashews along with olive oil, water, garlic, Worcestershire, capers, dijon mustard, lemon juice, s&p.
I love all salads solely because of how easy they are to make. We're going to break down how to make the homemade croutons and the vegan caesar dressing because once those are ready, you're just going to toss everything together in a bowl!
I would highly recommend massaging the kale in a bit of olive oil, especially if you don't like it, to break down the texture and remove some of the bitterness before adding it to the salad.
How to make homemade croutons
With this homemade crouton recipe, there's truly no need to buy croutons ever again. It's easy, quick, perfectly crunchy, and delicious.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with tin foil or parchment paper.
- Cut bread into 1 inch cubes and toss in olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and italian seasoning until evenly coated.
- Spread the coated bread cubes onto the prepared baking sheet in one, even layer and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Feel free to flip them halfway through, but you don't have to.
How to make vegan caesar dressing
This vegan caesar dressing is so fast and easy to make - thank you blenders!
- Either soak cashews overnight, microwave them for 5 minutes in 1 cup of water, or boil them on the stove for 20 minutes. Drain.
- Add soaked cashews, oil, water, garlic cloves, worcestershire, dijon mustard, capers and lemon juice into a blender and blend until smooth (should only take a minute). For a thinner dressing, add more water or olive oil until desired consistency is reached.
To complete this recipe, combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss until combined.
Recipe Substitutions & Variations
I love this recipe as is, but you can totally mix it up to your preference. Here are a few ideas that will be just as delicious:
- Make it nut-free by replacing the cashews with hemp hearts! The hemp hearts will give you the same creaminess we're after with the vegan caesar dressing.
- Swap out the croutons for crispy chickpeas! Toss chickpeas in oil, salt, pepper, and paprika and roast them for 20-30 minutes, or until crispy. This swap would also make this recipe gluten-free!
- Hate kale? Just use all romaine. Same goes if you hate romaine, just use all kale!
- Fatten it up (healthily) by adding an avocado!
- If you don't have worcestershire sauce or don't want to buy it, you can used balsamic vinegar or soy sauce instead.
- Make sure your cashews have soaked or boiled long enough! If they're too hard, they won't blend as smoothly and you'll end up with random chunky bits of cashew in your caesar dressing.
- Be sure not to over oil the croutons. Doing so will increase their bake time and they might not get as toasted.
- Use a sturdy bread, like sourdough as used here, to make the croutons.
Does this vegan kale caesar salad keep?
This salad is best enjoyed fresh!! I would recommend serving this salad with the dressing on the side so that way if you do have left overs, the kale, romaine, and croutons won't get soggy.
The caesar dressing can be refrigerated for up to 1 week in an airtight container.
If you make this vegan kale caesar salad, be sure to snap a pic and tag me on Instagram. If you have any questions or feedback at all, send me an e-mail or leave a comment below! I hope you love them as much as we do!Print