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Table of Contents
  1. Ingredients in Kale Caesar Salad
  2. How to Make Kale Caesar Salad
  3. Salad Prep Tips
  4. Kale Caesar Salad Recipe
  5. Common Questions

If you shy away from salads because you find yourself hungry 45 minutes after eating one, you aren’t alone. This Kale Caesar Salad is not your average salad. It’s actually filling, creamy and crunchy. Plus, this is a vegan salad, so no bloating, cramping or bathroom runs from a dairy-filled lunch.

Salad isn’t always a filling lunch option, yet I find myself full and satisfied after sitting down to this fun dish. Dress it up to your preference and get ready to enjoy a truly tasty creation.

bed of shredded kale in glass bowl next to a small white bowls of pumpkin seeds,. vegan parmesan, chickpeas, garlic aioli, sea salt and olive oil.

Ingredients in Kale Caesar Salad

I’ve got two drool-worthy secrets to making this kale caesar salad vegan AND enjoying it even more.

  1. I smother the whole creation with my Garlic Lemon Aioli. It is seriously good and super easy to make. If you forget to soak the cashews ahead of time then just pour some hot water over them and let them sit for 10 minutes before draining and using.

    The Garlic Lemon Aioli is super easy to make, remember to give your cashews time to soak. If you forget to soak them ahead of time, pour hot water over them and let them sit for 10-15 minutes. The drain and add to the recipe.
  2. I use my Vegan Parmesan Cheese recipe that totally tastes like the real deal and yet is completely dairy-free AND packed with protein. Book! I keep a jar of this wonderful creation on hand at all times since it goes with almost everything.

Vegan doesn’t have to be gross, less flavorful or boring. This kale caesar salad still has the creamy dressing and the crunch. It fills me up and doesn’t give me the uncomfortable side effects that dairy does.

garlic lemon aioli in a glass jar on a black towel.

How to Make Kale Caesar Salad

  • Massage the kale: Squeezing the kale with oil helps soften the hard fibers and aids in digestion. It’ll feel strange the first time you do it, but after the first bite you’ll be sold. If kale isn’t your thing, then swap for dark romaine or do half romaine, half kale and enjoy!
  • Puree the dressing: I like to do this in my Vitamix Ascent A3500 blender because I get the best results. Yet you can also make the cashew aioli in a food processor or other high-speed blender. You might want to double the dressing to have it easier for the blades to puree everything.
  • Add toppings: What you put on top of your salad is what makes it memorable. Try adding garlic baked chickpeas to create more of a crunchy crouton result. And don’t miss out on the Vegan Parmesan Cheese— it’ll become a staple. Toast the pepitas for a soften crunch and a deeper flavor

Salad Prep Tips

You can make kale caesar salad a day or three ahead! I like to prepare the kale, toppings and dressing in separate containers until ready to eat. That way it’s not soggy and all I have to do it mix it together to eat it. Should last 4 to 5 days in the fridge this way.

vegan caesar salad in white bowl next to black utensils.
4.68 from 198 votes

Kale Caesar Salad

This simple kale caesar salad is the perfect filling lunch. It's made with 100% plants and is both creamy and filling. I love the flavor and bit of the kale paired with the creamy aioli.
Prep: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes
Author: Jen Hansard
Course: Entree, Salad
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 2


  • 4 cups kale stems removed and thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juiced
  • ½ cup chickpeas canned, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp pepitas raw
  • dash sea salt
  • dash ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp vegan parmesan cheese

Garlic Lemon Aioli

  • ¼ cup raw cashews soaked
  • 1 garlic clove peeled
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp lemon squeeze of juice
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  • In a food processor or high-speed blender (small container), puree the Garlic Lemon Aioli ingredients until creamy. If needed, add a few tablespoons of water. The mixture should be thick and creamy.
  • Place the kale in a large serving bowl and drizzle it with oil. With clean hands, gently massage the kale until tenderized (5 minutes, at most). Squeeze the lemon juice over the top.
  • Mix in the chickpeas and Cashew Garlic Aioli until well combined.
  • Serve with pepitas and Vegan Parmesan Cheese.



  • Soaking the cashews for 2+ hours helps get the aioli creamy. If you’re short on time, flash soak in boiling water or just blend them raw. Yet you won’t get as creamy of a dressing.
  • Massaging the kale helps relax the leaves as well as takes out some of the bitterness. 
  • If you don’t have kale on hand, swap with spinach or romaine lettuce.
  • Kale does have a bite, so if you’re new to kale then use half kale, half romaine to start.
  • Toasting the chickpeas slightly before adding gives them a crouton-like texture. 


Calories: 328kcal, Carbohydrates: 23g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 1g, Sodium: 56mg, Potassium: 592mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 6708IU, Vitamin C: 68mg, Calcium: 211mg, Iron: 5mg
Tried this recipe? Show me!Mention @SimpleGreenSmoothies or tag #SimpleGreenSmoothies!

Common Questions

Is kale caesar salad good for you?

It depends on what’s in it. The one you get at a restaurant, drowning in dressing and covered in croutons probably isn’t. Yet my version is 100% plant-based, creamy and filling.

What is in a vegan caesar salad?

This Kale Caesar salad omits the cheese and dairy-based dressing, replacing them with vegan ingredients. My salad has a vegan cheese sprinkle (that’s wonderful!) as well as a dairy-free dressing that you might need to double because it’s so good.

Why is kale caesar dressing not vegan?

Caesar dressing is dairy-based, which makes it vegetarian yet not vegan. My Kale Caesar salad has a cashew garlic aioli that is super creamy and flavorful and 100% vegan.

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  1. 5 stars
    This salad jump started my love affair with Kale. Gotta do the massage. Makes all the difference.

  2. 5 stars
    This is such a nice balanced salad. I loved all the flavors and how well they all mixed together. So easy to fix!

  3. 5 stars
    This salad taught me that massaging the kale is worth the extra time. It’s a nice lighter caesar salad than the traditional.

  4. 5 stars
    Kale is king and the dressing is an incredibly innovative wholesome twist on a popular unhealthy Caesar

  5. 4 stars
    Good, but not a favorite. I did not roast the chickpeas and pepitas, but definitely would try that next time.

  6. 5 stars
    This salad surprised me! I normally pass on Caesar salad since I like veggie toppings but this came together well. Also, combining pepitas with chick peas makes them so much easier and enjoyable to eat on a salad due to the balance of texture with the seed crunch. The dressing was pretty good, but after tasting it I added a bit of Worcestershire sauce to give it more of a true Caesar flavor (I know, not vegan, but delicious!). The extra lemon used in the kale prior to mixing in the main sauce also really helped. I admit to not massaging my kale, but I purposely bought baby kale to avoid that and it made this salad come together very quickly. This will get made often, as long as I have cashews on hand.

  7. 5 stars
    A quick and easy salad with an amazing dressing. Great as a side or healthy snack.

  8. 5 stars
    This is my favorite salad of the challenge! I’ve always enjoyed kale; however, I have never tried massaging it with olive oil before and I think that made a huge difference in the flavor. The sprinkles and the cashew AIOLI really added flavor that tasted faintly of a real Caesar salad dressing. It is definitely a keeper!

  9. 5 stars
    Really enjoyed this salad. I don’t think the topping tasted like cheese but it was good. Took me awhile to get the aioli creamy in my small food processor but it was very tasty. It’s a keeper.

  10. 3 stars
    Not one of my favorites. I love the real Caesar salad, even though it’s not as healthy and I’m not a fan of kale.

  11. 4 stars
    I liked the flavor of this salad ! I love new recipes for kale. I can grow kale!

  12. 5 stars
    Kale me more. I live ceaser salad. It is my go-to lunch salad. I will be making this one more often.

  13. 5 stars
    This is the first time I enjoyed a fully kale salad. I love cooked kale and kale chips. I usually mix it with other greens because it has such a tough texture when it’s raw. I never knew massaging it works so well. The dressing is very good. This challenge is the first time I have ever made my own dressings using nuts. The recipes are all so easy to follow.