Kale Salmon “Caesar” Salad with Crunchy Chickpeas

dressings & sauces mains recipes Feb 10, 2019

This past weekend, my boyfriend, Sam, and I went out for a fun date night dinner here in Austin. Par usual, he ordered a Caesar salad for a starter course. Typically, I’m not particularly jealous of his choice, but this was one GOOD looking Caesar.

I found myself snagging a bite here and there and woke up still thinking about the creamy, garlicky dish. So I made it my goal to recreate a recipe with several healthy tweaks.

The true key to a killer Caesar salad is the dressing, and given I avoid dairy as much as possible, I had to get creative. Cashews are my go-to base for a variety of dairy-free and vegan recipes, as they provide thickness and creaminess without an overwhelming flavor.

For this recipe, the raw cashews come together with some other pantry-staple ingredients to create a creamy, tangy Caesar dressing you’ll want to use on everything . This includes:

  • Lemon juice
  • Water
  • EVOO
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Dijon mustard
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Garlic
  • Salt & pepper

Another one of my favorite salad additions are these savory roasted chickpeas “croutons.” They’re incredibly simple to whip up and can be spiced any way you please! While I stayed in theme for this Caesar recipe with lemon zest, garlic powder, salt, pepper and cayenne for a little kick, the flavor options are endless.

The real key to getting your chickpeas just right is waiting until they’re finished roasting to add your spices, or else they won’t crisp up quite as much.

Kale not only adds a nutrient-packed punch to this dish, but it also holds up well when massaged with the creamy dressing. Throw on a piece of grilled salmon and sliced avocado, and this recipe is full of healthy fats, fiber and best of all–flavor!

This cleaned up version was exactly what I needed to satisfy my craving and has now become a part of my regular recipe rotation. Check out how I recently took this Kale Salmon Caesar to the next level (below) with some other delicious additions – details here!

Be sure to let me know what you think of this simple but flavor-packed recipe when you give it a try yourself  .


 YIELDS2 Servings
 PREP TIME30 mins COOK TIME40 mins TOTAL TIME1 hr 10 mins


  •  1  bunch Lacinto kale (Tuscan kale)
  •  1  avocado
Vegan Caesar Dressing (makes extra)
  •  1 cup raw cashews
  •  juice from about 2 lemons
  •  2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  •  1 cup water
  •  2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  •  ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  •  2 tbsp dijon mustard
  •  3  garlic cloves
  •  1 tsp ground pepper
  •  pinch of salt
Chickpea "Croutons"
  •  1  15 oz can chickpeas
  •  1 tbsp avocado oil (or other neutral flavored oil)
  •  Zest of 1 lemon
  •  ½ tsp black pepper
  •  ½ tsp Himalayan salt
  •  1 tsp garlic powder
  •  ½ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
Roasted Salmon
  •  2  filets Alaskan salmon
  •  2 tsp avocado oil (or any oil you have on hand)
  •  ½ tsp lemon pepper
  •  pinch of salt and pepper


For Chickpea "Croutons"
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Drain and dry chickpeas well. *Optional* remove skins from chickpeas by rubbing them in between a towel.
Add the chickpeas to a bowl with oil and salt. Mix well to coat. Do not add other spices until after they have baked.
Bake for 30 minutes, tossing halfway through.
Remove from oven and mix with spices while still warm. Let the chickpeas cool before serving.
For Vegan Caesar Dressing
Add all of the ingredients to a high speed blender. Blend until creamy and smooth.
Taste, and alter spices as needed. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.
For Roasted Salmon
Turn oven on broil.
Season salmon filets with oil, lemon pepper, salt and black pepper.
10 Broil for 12-14 minutes, depending on thickness.
For the finished product...
11 Rinse and de-rib the kale, tearing into bite sized pieces. Massage kale with dressing and divide onto two serving plates. Top each with chickpeas, salmon filet and avocado slices.


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