Blueberry Kale Caesar Salad with Smoky Chickpeas (Vegan)

5 from 8 votes
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The most incredible Blueberry Kale Caesar Salad features a vegan tahini Caesar dressing, crispy chickpeas, and sliced almonds. Vegan, gluten free, and rich in fiber and plant protein, these blueberry salad will become a staple. Vegan Kale Caesar salad styled in a pink bowl with blueberries and chickpeas

Why You’ll Love this Blueberry Kale Caesar Salad

If I were to be reincarnated as a salad, I would surely want to come back as this beauty. ULTRA creamy vegan tahini Caesar dressing coating ribbons of kale, juicy blueberries, and crispy chickpeas. It emulates what every hearty + healthy salad should be.

Kale is the king of leafy greens, and one of the most nutrient-dense plant foods out there. Not only is kale brimming with a multitude of vitamins and minerals, but it’s also packed with powerful antioxidants that support heart health.

For any raw kale salads, I’d recommend using lacinato (also known as dinosaur or Tuscan) kale. With its flatter leaf structure and more tender texture, it’s less toothsome and fibrous than curly or red kale, making it an excellent candidate for raw salads.

Another great thing about using kale for this salad is that you can dress it in advance and the durable greens won’t get soggy from the dressing.

In place of croutons as a crunchy topping, we are using the most delicious SMOKY chickpeas. These golden rounds of bliss are coated with olive oil, garlic powder and smoked paprika and roasted to crispy perfection. Honestly, the taste and crunch is far superior to any crouton my taste buds ever met.

Recipe Ingredients and Substitutions:Recipe ingredients in separate bowls with blue labels

  • Kale: I suggest using lacinato (also known as dinosaur or Tuscan) kale for this blueberry salad. With its flatter leaf structure and more tender texture, it’s less toothsome and fibrous than curly or red kale, making it an excellent candidate for raw salads. If you’re not a fan of kale, you can use spinach instead.
  • Chickpeas: Crunchy roasted chickpeas stand in for croutons in this blueberry salad. The key to achieving quintessential crunch is to roast the chickpeas at a high temperature (425ºF) for 20 to 30 minutes. After roasting, let them cool on the sheet pan for about 15 minutes to further crisp up.
  • Spices: A mix of smoked paprika, garlic powder, and soy sauce (or tamari) elevate the chickpeas to make them extra savory.
  • Tahini: Tahini adds rich, beautifully bitter notes and unparalleled creaminess to the dressing. In terms of brands, Soom is my go-to for its smooth texture and rich, nutty flavor. To try any Soom products for 10% off, simply enter code ‘dishingouthealth’ at checkout!
  • Nutritional Yeast: Another staple ingredient for adding savory depth to this kale caesar salad. Nutritional yeast can be often be found in the bulk-bin section of most health food stores, or the spice aisle.
  • Dijon: Dijon mustard is a must for adding sharp notes in the tahini Caesar dressing.
  • Capers: Most Casear dressings call for anchovies (which you can certainly use here), however to keep the dressing vegan, capers are a wonderful substitute. 
  • Almonds: Slivered almonds add extra richness and crunch. Alternatively, you can use walnuts, pecans, or simply leave out the nuts.

Serving of blueberry salad in a pink bowl

Step-by-Step Instructions:

Step 1: Roast the Chickpeas

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Rinse and drain the chickpeas, and spread on a clean kitchen towel. Fold over the towel and gently rub the chickpeas to thoroughly dry them, and remove any loose skins. Discard skins, and transfer dried chickpeas to the prepared baking sheet.
  • Combine olive oil, soy sauce or tamari, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl; whisk to combine. Pour mixture over chickpeas and toss to combine.
  • Roast the chickpeas for 20 to 30 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through, until golden brown and crisp. Let cool for 15 minutes while you prepare remainder of salad.

Sheet pan of crispy roasted chickpeas

Step 2: Prepare Tahini Caesar Dressing

In a medium bowl, combine tahini, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, capers, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl; stir to combine. Gradually whisk in 2 to 3 Tbsp. water until the dressing is creamy and smooth.Vegan Tahini Caesar dressing being whisked in a teal bowl

Step 3: Assemble Kale Caesar Salad

Place kale in a large bowl and add 2 tsp. olive oil and 1/4 tsp. salt. Use your hands to massage the oil into the kale leaves until the greens start to soften, about 30 to 60 seconds. 

Next, add blueberries, almonds, and about 3/4 of the Tahini Caesar Dressing; toss to combine. Scatter crispy roasted chickpeas overtop, and drizzle with remaining dressing. Tahini Caesar dressing being poured over a bowl of kale

What to Serve with Blueberry Kale Caesar Salad

This salad is hearty and filling enough to stand on its own, though also pairs well with a multitude of dishes. I love it as a light lunch option or side dish with dinner.

It’s satisfying enough to serve a crowd of vegetarians and carnivores alike, and no one will ever guess it’s vegan.

  • Salmon Burgers: The ultimate salmon burgers with lemon-caper yogurt spread and crunchy fennel slaw.
  • Veggie Sandwiches: You can’t beat these crispy eggplant sandwiches with tomato-tarragon relish and herb-y mayo!
  • Tomato Soup: This creamy tomato-basil soup features fresh tomatoes, basil, and garlic, topped with tomato-corn salsa.
  • Shrimp Cakes: Pan-seared, tender Thai Shrimp Cakes with a golden panko crust served with creamy Chili Aioli. 

Make-Ahead and Storage Tips:

  • Make-Ahead: Prep the dressing up to 3 days in advance and store in an airtight jar in the fridge.
  • Store: Store blueberry salad and crispy chickpeas separately so the chickpeas don’t get soggy. Refrigerate leftover salad for up to 2 days, and store chickpeas at room temperature for 3 days. (The chickpeas will inevitably lose their crisp, however their flavor remains sharp.)

Tahini caesar salad dressing poured over salad in a large serving bowl with utensils

More Recipes Using Kale:

Kale Cobb with Cashew-Poblano Dressing

Spaghetti Pomodoro with Kale and White Beans

Browned Butter Kale and Fontina Spaghetti Squash

If you give this blueberry salad a try, snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth so I can see your beautiful creations. I also really appreciate readers taking the time to leave a rating and review! Lastly, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates.

5 from 8 votes

Blueberry Kale Caesar Salad with Smoky Chickpeas (Vegan)

The most incredible Blueberry Kale Caesar Salad features a vegan tahini Caesar dressing, crispy chickpeas, and sliced almonds. Vegan, gluten free, and rich in fiber and plant protein, these salad will become a staple. 
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Equipment

  • Baking sheet
  • Mixing bowls

Ingredients  

Smoky Roasted Chickpeas

  • 1 (15.oz) can chickpeas drained, rinsed, and patted dry
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 3/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. each salt and black pepper

Tahini Caesar Dressing

  • 3 Tbsp. tahini (such as Soom brand)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast (sub grated Parmesan if not making vegan)
  • 2 tsp. minced capers
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. each salt and black pepper
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp. water

Kale Salad

  • 1 large (or 2 small) bunch(es) lacinato kale (stems and ribs removed), chopped
  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds or chopped walnuts (optional)
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Instructions 

  • Roast Chickpeas:
    Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Add chickpeas, olive oil, soy sauce or tamari, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper; toss well to coat. Roast the chickpeas for 20 to 25 minutes, shaking the pan once halfway through, until golden brown and crisp. Let cool for 10 minutes while you prepare remainder of salad.
  • Prepare Dressing:
    In a medium bowl, combine tahini, lemon juice, nutritional yeast (or Parmesan), capers, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl; stir to combine. Gradually whisk in 2 to 3 Tbsp. water until the dressing is creamy and smooth.
  • Assemble Salad:
    Place kale in a large bowl and add 2 tsp. olive oil and 1/4 tsp. salt. Use your hands to massage the oil into the kale leaves until they start to soften, about 30 to 60 seconds. 
    Add blueberries, almonds, and 3/4 of the Tahini Caesar Dressing; toss to combine. Scatter crispy roasted chickpeas overtop, and drizzle with remaining dressing. 

Notes

Make-Ahead: Prep the dressing up to 3 days in advance and store in an airtight jar in the fridge.
Store: Store salad and chickpeas separately so the chickpeas don't get soggy. Refrigerate leftover salad for up to 2 days, and store chickpeas at room temperature for 3 days. (The chickpeas will inevitably lose their crisp, however their flavor remains sharp.)

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 325kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 830mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 8g

I calculate these values by hand to ensure accuracy, however expect up to a 10% variable depending on food brands.

If you love this recipe, please leave a star rating and review below!

 

 

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18 Comments

  1. Teri says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious!!

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Teri! Thank you for taking time to leave a review!

      1. Mary says:

        5 stars
        This dressing is perfect! I love the richness and the creaminess and quite frankly, I think it would be good on cardboard! Thank you.

  2. Michelle R says:

    5 stars
    Loved the mix of sweet and savory flavors in this recipe! I used nutritional yeast in the dressing to make it vegan, and it was delicious!

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      Hi Michelle – I’m so glad the recipe was a hit! Thank you for coming back and leaving a review!

  3. Lauren says:

    Looks amazing!! If you use anchovies, how many would you use?

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      Hi Lauren – I’d start with 1/2-1 tsp depending on flavor preferance!

  4. PAMELA I MANDE says:

    can’t wait to try it tomorrow 🙂

    1. Pamela Mande says:

      I finally made the salad tonight and I’m happy to report that there was no leftovers 🙈 I ate everything in one sitting. I’m consoled by the fact its a healthy salad with wholesome ingredients

      1. Jamie Vespa says:

        Yes, YES! I’m so happy the recipe was a hit, Pamela! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!

    2. Jamie Vespa says:

      You’ll have to let me know what you think!!

  5. Melody says:

    5 stars
    This has become my new go-to dressing!!

  6. Nutrition a la Natalie says:

    This looks so amazing!

    1. dishingouthealth says:

      Thank you, Natalie! I’ve been LOVING it this week!

    2. Katie says:

      5 stars
      Omg, the best salad ever! This is everything I want in a salad… the chickpeas are the warm and comforting part with the fresh blueberries and kale, and the dressing. So good! Thank you.

      1. Katie says:

        5 stars
        Forgot to add that I didn’t have Dijon on hand and was already committed to making this, I know you say it’s a must so I’ll try it next time, but I used regular mustard and it was still amazing.

  7. Amy says:

    Looks delish!

    1. dishingouthealth says:

      Thank you, Amy! It’s been the perfect send-off to summer salads!