The most incredible blueberry kale caesar salad made with wholesome ingredients and topped with smoky roasted chickpeas. A plant-based, gluten free meal, snack or side dish that is nutritious, filling and undeniably delicious. Guys. I KALE EVEN.
If I were to be reincarnated as a salad, I would surely want to come back as this beauty. Unbelievably creamy vegan caesar dressing coating earthy kale, plump blueberries and crispy chickpeas. GAH! It just speaks my language.
I’ve always adored everything about Caesar salads. From their briny, tangy and robust garlicky flavor to their crunchy, crisp texture, they’re just constant palate-pleasers. Kale is the KING of leafy greens and one of the most nutrient-dense foods you could eat. Not only is kale brimming with a multitude of vitamins and minerals, but it’s also packed with powerful antioxidants and can actually help lower cholesterol. One serving of kale contains 3 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber and roughly 35 calories. Talk about major nutritional bang for your buck!
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 dishes.
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! Speaking of, can we talk about this DREAMY DRESSING?! Gah! Ok, it does require a teeny bit of prep work in advance, so it’s not something you could throw together on a whim, per say, however it is VERY simple to make. All you have to do ahead of time is soak the cashews in a water bath to soften them up. I like to soak mine overnight or during the day while I’m at work.
The dressing recipe makes more than enough so you can get creative with the leftovers. I like to spread it on sandwiches or wraps, drizzle it over roasted veggies or mix it in quinoa salads. In place of croutons as a crunchy topping, we are using the most delicious SMOKY chickpeas that I swear came straight out of my dreams. 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. Crispy chickpeas for president!
This salad is hearty and filling enough to stand on its own, though also pairs especially well with hummus and pita. 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 would ever believe it’s vegan. Black magic, I tell ya. So let’s summarize this kale-tastic party:
- Nutrient-loaded, fiber-rich kale
- Creamy, garlicky caesar dressing made with wholesome, raw ingredients
- Plump, juicy blueberries
- Crispy, smoky chickpeas
- YOUR FORK, YOUR FACE
Ready. Set. Go kale-razy!If you make this recipe, be sure to tag #dishingouthealth so I can see your beautiful creations!
- 1 cup raw cashews (unsalted)
- 1 large bunch lacinato kale, loosely chopped or torn
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- ½ cup water
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Optional topping: hemp seeds, slivered almonds
- Add cashews to a bowl and fill with water. Allow cashews to soak for 7-9 hours (overnight preferably). Drain and rinse.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil.
- Drain and rinse chickpeas and spread them out on a paper towel. Use another layer of paper towels to lightly roll over the chickpeas to remove excess water and loose skins. Discard loose skins and transfer chickpeas to a large bowl. Add olive oil, smoked paprika, garlic powder and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Spread out evenly on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes, tossing once halfway through, until crispy and golden. Allow to cool while you prepare the salad.
- To a food processor, combine cashews, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, nutritional yeast, sea salt, black pepper and water. Blend until smooth and creamy. If dressing seems too thick, add 1-2 tsp more water.
- Place kale and half of dressing in a large bowl and toss to combine. Add more dressing until desired creaminess is achieved. If you have leftover dressing, cover and refrigerate for later use (see notes for other uses). Toss in blueberries and add additional toppings as desired. Serve!
If you’re looking for other vegan recipes, be sure to check out some of my favorites: