This kale caesar salad will be your new favorite way to eat kale! For this recipe, you’ll toss kale in a homemade, dairy free Caesar dressing and top it with crunchy roasted chickpeas. This recipe is perfect for meal prep!
Kale has become one trendy vegetable over the past decade or so. This hearty, leafy green has become the epitome of the modern wellness scene, gracing farmer’s markets, restaurant menus, and even clothing! While kale is chock full of nutrients, in its raw state, it can be a bit unappealing.
One of my favorite ways to prepare kale is in a salad. The secret to turning this fibrous green into something delicious is to massage the dressing into the kale. It sounds a little extra to massage your vegetables, but this simple step transforms kale into a tender salad you’ll be happy to eat!
One great benefit to using kale as a salad base is that it keeps very well in the fridge without getting soggy. I usually prep a big batch, then add whatever salad toppings I feel like having! For this batch, I roasted up some chickpeas and tossed them in my favorite spices. They add such a nice crunchy texture and plant-based protein to this kale caesar salad.
How to make a massaged kale salad
Wash and dry one bunch of kale leaves.
Remove the stems and discard them, or save them to throw into smoothies.
Chop the kale leaves into bite size pieces.
Place kale in a large mixing bowl and pour dressing of choice on top. You can go super simple with just olive oil + lemon juice, or get fancy with this dairy free homemade Caesar dressing!
Use your hands to massage the kale for 3-5 minutes, until you feel the leaves soften and become tender.
Top with whatever salad fixings you’d like!
Main Ingredients + Some Nutrition Notes
Kale: Kale is a very nutrient-dense food! It’s filled with vitamins A, C, and K, and is an excellent source of fiber. Kale is part of the cruciferous vegetable family along with broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage. These vegetables are all rich in anti-inflammatory phytonutrients.
Cashews: When blended with some liquid, cashews turn into a great vegan replacement for cream in recipes, thanks to their mild taste. They are also great for us! Cashews are a good source of heart healthy monounsaturated fats. They also contain important minerals like magnesium, copper, and iron.
Chickpeas: I wrote about some benefits of chickpeas in this post, but I’ll say it again – they are one of the healthiest foods to add to your diet! Pulses, which include legumes, beans, lentils, and peas, are excellent sources of plant-based protein, fiber, and other nutrients. Based on research done in the world’s Blue Zones (areas where people live much longer than average), regularly including pulses in your diet may be one contributing factor to good health and longevity.
Kale Caesar Salad with Spice Roasted Chickpeas (Dairy Free, Gluten Free)
This salad will be your new favorite way to eat kale! For this recipe, you’ll toss kale in a homemade, dairy free Caesar dressing and top it with crunchy roasted chickpeas. This recipe is perfect for meal prep!
Large bunch of kale, stems removed and chopped into bite size pieces
For the Caesar dressing
3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked in hot water 10 minutes, then drained
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup water
Preheat oven to 415 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Using a clean tea towel, thoroughly dry the chickpeas, and remove as many skins as possible.
Toss the chickpeas in the avocado oil. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until browned and crispy.
Once chickpeas are removed from the oven, toss with salt, pepper, and spices.
While the chickpeas roast, prepare Caesar dressing. Combine all dressing ingredients in a high powered blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy.
Place kale in a large mixing bowl, and pour in about half of the dressing. Use your hands to massage the kale leaves for 3-5 minutes, until they begin to feel soft and tender. Add more dressing as desired.
Divide kale into bowls, and top with chickpeas and pieces of avocado.
You may have leftover dressing – save it for another salad!
The massaged kale will keep well in the fridge, so it’s a great recipe to meal prep for the week.
The roasted chickpeas enjoyed fresh, and are best stored at room temperature for only 1-2 days. They begin to lose their crunch with time.
Keywords: kale caesar salad, kale, dairy free caesar dressing, homemade caesar dressing, gluten free
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