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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
    I love kale and usually cook it with onion and garlic. I have never prepared Kale this way! Cashews and a little massage. This was a hit with all 5 of us!

  2. 5 stars
    I love Kale and grow it in my garden all the time! I make another version of a Kale Caesar salad so I was excited to try this. I prepped the kale as I normally do that was easy. However I learned that I need to buy the VitaMix Bowl as I had a “fail” with making the dressing. Not to worry, it still tasted amazing! I loved the dijon and lemon mixed with the cashews! I will make this salad again and again and again just after I get the bowl mixer!

  3. 5 stars
    Absolutely LOVE this salad! The chickpea croutons are amazing and I love the flavor of the dressing. Will make again and again!

  4. 4 stars
    Kale Caesar Salad. Very good. Next time trying with the garlic baked chickpeas for extra zip.

  5. 5 stars
    My favorite! Loved the use of cashews in the garlic aioli. I roasted the chickpeas for extra crunch. I’ll definitely be making this again.

  6. 5 stars
    This Kale Caesar Salad was quick and easy to bring together. My kale was not very bitter and the dressing coated nicely. Good recipe!

  7. 5 stars
    This is a wonderful salad. It is one of my favorites. I have made it before with Cashew Cream as the base of the salad dressing. I especially liked the addition of the Vegan Parmesan Cheese. My husband wants to have this more often!!
    I will post picture tomorrow.

  8. 5 stars
    Delicious! I loved the contrast in taste and texture between the kale and toasted chickpeas. I will definitely be making this salad again, also the dressing, which will be great on other salads as well.

  9. 5 stars
    The perfect salad for chickpeas! This was my first time making a kale salad and massaging kale is something I’ve never heard of until now and I think it gave the greens a nice, soft texture. I can’t wait to eat this again!

  10. 5 stars
    This was a great salad! I’ve never massaged kale before, so that was a great pointer. Nice crunch and texture with the pepitas. My first time ever eating them. Will definitely make again!

  11. 3 stars
    I do like a kale salad! But I feel like this one was too simple. I wanted a few more toppings or something. I didn’t have any parmesan, vegan or otherwise, so that might have helped. I liked the texture and heft of the kale though!

  12. 5 stars
    I thought the Kale Caesar Salad was excellent. This is a great way to get kale into your diet in a tasty way. Very easy recipe.

  13. 3 stars
    I wanted to love this salad. However, I’m not a fan of regular Caesar salad so I’m not surprised that this wasn’t my favourite. The 3 stars are based on my flavour preference, not the quality. I would give this one 5 stars for creative use of ingredients and presentation!!! I didn’t use chickpeas because my husband doesn’t like them, but I may have enjoyed this more if I had added some to mine. I would still recommend this salad as an amazing vegan alternative to traditional Caesar salad. 🙂

  14. 5 stars
    This was easy to make, and it was delicious! I made it for my son and daughter-in-law who are hosting me this week, and they loved it! It had so many great flavors and we felt good eating it. I will definitely make it again (and my daughter-in-law has requested the recipe)