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Crisp Vegan Caesar Salad: Easy Leafy Green Recipe

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A crisp and refreshing vegan Caesar salad with a blend of greens, plant-based protein, and homemade vegan Caesar dressing. Enjoy this modern twist on a classic salad.

vegan-caesar-salad-white-bowl-chickpea-croutons

This delicious vegan Caesar salad is a nod to the culinary classic salad developed by Italian immigrant Caesar Cardini in the 1920s (1). Crisp greens meld with zesty creamy dressing and crunchy chickpea croutons. Crafted together in a vegan version that greatly reduces the saturated fat content typical of the traditional Caesar salad version.

Years ago, when I was working as a professional dancer I lived on salads, and the classic Caesar salad was one of my favorites. In an effort to keep my weight down, and remain competitive in the ruthless entertainment industry, salads were my thing.

Little did I know that the salads I was eating were drowning in high-calorie dressings filled with lots of unhealthy fats. I may have stayed thin but I wouldn’t say I was healthy.

Today, I am much more conscientious of the food I eat and, as a Nurse and a Lifestyle Medicine Practitioner, I also teach my clients how to make healthy choices for themselves – regarding food, exercise, sleep, stress management, and more.

This article may contain affiliate links for your convenience. Also, as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. You can read the full disclosure policy

bowl-leafy-greens-caesar-dressing-in-white-gravy-boat-small-dish-roasted-chickpeas

The Classic Caesar Salad With A Vegan Twist

The vegan twist to the classic Caesar salad offers a refreshing take for those on a plant-based diet.

By substituting traditional Caesar dressing ingredients like anchovies, Parmesan cheese, and eggs, with plant-based counterparts such as nutritional yeast, and lemon juice, the fat and calories in this salad are greatly reduced.

This rendition not only reduces the saturated fat content but also celebrates the richness of plant-based ingredients, giving this salad a vibrant array of flavors and nutrients, and making it the best vegan Caesar salad you will ever eat.

Crisp Vegan Caesar Salad Ingredients

LEAFY GREEN SALAD INGREDIENTS

crisp romaine lettuce – a classic ingredient for a delicious Caesar salad.
fresh arugula – this gives the salad an extra flare and additional nutrients.

small-bowl-spices-garbanzo-beans-lying-on-towel

CHICKPEA CROUTONS

garbanzo beans – these make for wonderful crunchy croutons with added protein and fiber.
nutritional yeast – what I use for vegan parmesan and a delicious substitute for the high-fat, dairy parmesan.
ground cumin – a wonderful spice for many dishes.
ground coriander – a perfect combination with the ground cumin.
smoked paprika – just a pinch is all you need.
kosher or sea salt – salt is always optional, so feel free to eliminate salt if you are watching your sodium intake. Or consider using a no-sodium salt. This is the one I use.
black pepper – the perfect way to top off any salad.

CAESAR DRESSING INGREDIENTS

raw cashews – please make sure your cashews are raw and soak them in hot water for 5 minutes before using. This will help blend them up nicely, and creamy.
NOTE: If you want to make a nut-free dressing, you can use tahini or hummus instead.
filtered water – warm or cold water is fine.
fresh garlic – fresh minced garlic is the best, however, if you do not have fresh you can easily use garlic powder.
lemon juice – always best if you can use fresh lemon juice.
Dijon mustard – I like to use a coarse Dijon mustard for the best flavor.
capers – these are another key ingredient for making a classic Caesar dressing.
Worcestershire sauce – look for a vegan brand without a lot of added sugar. This is the one I use.

labeled-ingredients-vegan-caesar-salad

Helpful Kitchen Tools To Consider

Food Processor – a strong food processor helps get this vegan Caesar dressing nice and smooth. You can also use a strong high-speed blender if you prefer.

large salad bowl – any large bowl will do but if you have a pretty decorative one, why not use it and feel fancy?

measuring cups – I like these measuring cups because they are made from wood. I own several styles of measuring cups but I use these the most.

measuring spoons – the same goes for these spoons, and they match the measuring cups well.

baking pan – this is a nice set because it has three different sizes, along with matching silicone baking sheets and cooling racks.

silicone baking sheet – you can use parchment paper but when you invest in a couple of these silicone sheets, it will save you money in the long run. I have used mine for a couple of years now and they are still going strong.

Cooling rack – cooling racks are important to allow air to get underneath your baked goods. Many people disregard this step but I use them all the time. It allows for a much more even cooling period and prevents the bottom of your cooked items from getting soggy.

crisp-vegan-caesar-salad-easy-leafy-green-recipe

Crisp Vegan Caesar Salad Step-By-Step Instructions

LEAFY GREEN SALAD INSTRUCTIONS

Wash and pat dry thoroughly the romaine and arugula leafy greens, or you can also use a salad spinner.

Chop the greens into smaller pieces and place them in a large pretty salad bowl.

CHICKPEA CROUTON INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400°F and place the oven rack on the second to lowest shelf in the oven.

Open and drain the chickpeas, saving the aquafaba for later.
NOTE: Aquafaba is the liquid the beans come in when stored in a can. It is a slightly thickened liquid.

Rinse and drain the chickpeas well. Lay on a clean, dry, towel and pat to dry thoroughly.

In a small bowl add all of the seasonings, and stir to combine.

Pour the garbanzo beans into a medium-sized bowl. Add 1-2Tb of the aquafaba and stir gently to combine, ensuring each bean is coated with the aquafaba.

Pour the seasonings over the garbanzo beans and gently stir to coat every bean.

Place chickpeas onto a baking sheet and place in a preheated oven for approximately 35-40min. Turn and toss the beans at least once halfway through the cooking process.

Once cooked and dried, take the beans out of the oven and allow them to cool on a rack completely before storing them in an airtight container.

vegan-caesar-salad-in-large-white-bowl-roasted-chickpeas-on-the-side

CAESAR DRESSING INSTRUCTIONS

Drain the cashews that have been soaking in hot water. Pour them into the food processor.

Add the remaining ingredients – filtered water, lemon juice, minced garlic, Dijon mustard, capers, and Worcestershire sauce.

Blend until you have a smooth creamy texture.

NOTE: This takes a little while – approximately 3-5min. on a medium speed.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Place the chopped romaine and arugula into a pretty salad bowl.

Drizzle the desired amount of dressing onto the greens, and toss until thoroughly combined. Make sure you have enough dressing on the greens for the best flavor.

Add the desired amount of roasted chickpeas, and toss one more time gently.

Add a few grinds of black pepper and add nutritional yeast if desired.

ENJOY!

Tips For Success

If you prefer, you can cook your own garbanzo beans – approximately 2 cups cooked. But for a faster meal, just grab a can of garbanzo beans off the grocery store shelf.

When making the chickpea croutons, make sure to cook the garbanzo beans for 30-40min. It takes a while for the beans to dry out like croutons. These crispy chickpeas are usually the first thing I get started with, and then once they are in the oven, I prepare the rest of the salad and dressing.

Know that you can make the chickpea homemade croutons anytime. They do not have to be right before you make the vegan Caesar Salad. If you have time to make them a day, or even a few days, before – wonderful. That is a great way to make your job easier on the day of.

If you have a nut allergy or just want to stay away from them, you can swap out the cashews for tahini or hummus in the vegan Caesar dressing.

If you like an exceptionally garlicky Caesar dressing, then add another large minced garlic clove. I usually use 1 large, or 2 medium, cloves and that gives this dressing a perfect garlicky taste but not overpowering. If you like it strong, then feel free to add more.

You can also use garlic powder if you do not have fresh garlic.

I use a vegan Worcestershire sauce, like this Whole Foods brand.

dawn-eating-vegan-caesar-salad-smiling

If your dressing is too thick, feel free to add a bit more water – 1Tb at a time.

If your dressing is too thin, give it a minute and keep blending. This dressing gets thicker the longer you blend.

I oftentimes double this Caesar dressing recipe and then keep some on hand to whip up a great salad throughout the week.

This creamy vegan Caesar dressing recipe is also great for a sandwich spread. I use it on fresh sourdough bread and then add hummus and greens. Play with it and let me know how you use this vegan savory dressing.

Feel free to use a variety of greens for this simple salad. You can make a delicious kale Caesar salad by using baby or curly kale, or any other type of green like Swiss chard, green or red leaf lettuce, and more.

How To Store

For storage, keep all of the components separate – leafy greens, crunchy chickpeas, and dressing – otherwise everything gets too soggy when it is stored all together.

This easy vegan Caesar salad dressing will last in the fridge for up to one week when it is stored in a tightly sealed airtight container.

More Healthy Vegan Recipes

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Let’s Connect

I hope you try this vegan Caesar Salad recipe, and I hope you enjoy it so much that you share it with friends and family.

Please consider giving this delicious recipe 5 stars and comment below. I would be most grateful, and I’d love to hear from you.


Reference

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesar_salad

Printable Recipe Card

Crisp Vegan Caesar Salad: Easy Leafy Green Recipe

A crisp and refreshing vegan Caesar salad with a blend of greens, plant-based protein, and homemade vegan Caesar dressing. Enjoy this modern twist on a classic salad.
Print Recipe
vegan-caesar-salad-white-bowl-chickpea-croutons
Prep Time:20 minutes
Roasting Chickpea Croutons:40 minutes
Total Time:1 hour

Ingredients

Leafy Green Salad Ingredients

  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 4 cups arugula

Chickpea Croutons

  • 1 can garbanzo beans – approximately 15oz
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • pinch kosher salt
  • pinch black pepper

Caesar Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cashews – raw and soaked in hot water for 5min.
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1 large garlic clove – minced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp capers – drained
  • 2 tsp worcestershire sauce – vegan

Instructions

Leafy Green Salad Instructions

  • Wash and pat dry thoroughly the romaine and arugula leafy greens, or you can also use a salad spinner.
  • Chop the greens into smaller pieces and place them in a large salad bowl.

Chickpea Crouton Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F and place the oven rack on the second to lowest shelf in the oven.
  • Open and drain the chickpeas, saving the aquafaba for later.
    NOTE: Aquafaba is the liquid the beans come in when stored in a can. It is a slightly thickened liquid.
  • Rinse and drain the chickpeas well. Lay on a clean, dry, towel and pat to dry thoroughly.
  • In a small bowl add all of the seasonings, and stir to combine.
  • Pour the garbanzo beans into a medium-sized bowl. Add 1-2Tb of the aquafaba and stir gently to combine, ensuring each bean is coated with the aquafaba.
  • Pour the seasoning over the garbanzo beans and gently stir to coat every bean.
  • Place the chickpeas onto a baking sheet and place in the preheated oven for approximately 35-40min. Turn and toss the beans at least once halfway through the cooking process.
  • Once cooked and dried out, take the beans out of the oven and allow them to cool on a rack completely before storing them in a container.

Caesar Dressing Instructions

  • Drain the cashews that have been soaking in hot water. Pour them into the food processor.
  • Add the remaining ingredients – filtered water, lemon juice, minced garlic, Dijon mustard, capers, and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Blend until smooth and creamy.
    NOTE: This takes a little while – approximately 3-5min. on a medium speed.

Putting It All Together

  • Place the leafy greens into a pretty salad bowl.
  • Drizzle the desired amount of dressing onto the greens, and toss until thoroughly combined. Make sure you have enough dressing on the greens for the best flavor.
  • Add the desired amount of roasted chickpea croutons, and toss one more time gently.
  • Add a few grinds of black pepper and addition nutritional yeast if desired.
  • ENJOY!

Notes

  • If you prefer, you can cook your own garbanzo beans – approximately 2 cups cooked. But for a faster meal, just grab a can of garbanzo beans off the grocery store shelf.
  • When making the chickpea croutons, make sure to cook the garbanzo beans for 30-40min. It takes a while for the beans to dry out like croutons. This is usually the first thing I get started with, and then once they are in the oven, I prepare the rest of the salad and dressing.
  • Know that you can make the chickpea croutons anytime. They do not have to be right before you make the vegan Caesar Salad. If you have time to make them a day, or even a few days, before – wonderful.
  • If you like an exceptional garlicky Caesar dressing, then add another large minced garlic clove. I usually use 1 large, or 2 medium, cloves and that gives this dressing a perfectly garlicky taste but not overpowering. If you like it strong, then feel free to add more.
  • I use a vegan Worcestershire sauce.
  • If your dressing is too thick, feel free to add a bit more water – 1Tb at a time.
  • If your dressing is too thin, give it a minute and keep blending. This dressing gets thicker the longer you blend.
  • For storage, keep all of the components separate – leafy greens, croutons, and dressing – otherwise everything gets too soggy when it is stored all together.
  • This easy vegan Caesar salad dressing will last in the fridge for up to one week when it is stored in a tightly sealed airtight container.
  • I oftentimes double this Caesar dressing recipe and then keep some on hand to whip up a great salad throughout the week.
  • This creamy vegan Caesar dressing recipe is also great for a sandwich spread. I use it on fresh sourdough bread and then add hummus and greens. Play with it and let me know how you use this vegan Caesar Dressing.
  • Feel free to use a variety of greens for this simple salad. You can make a delicious kale Caesar salad by using baby or curly kale, or any other type of green like Swiss chard, green or red leaf lettuce, and more.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 118kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 222mg | Potassium: 409mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 7097IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 2mg
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 118kcal

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