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Kale Caesar Salad with Crispy Chickpea Croutons

This fresh and crunchy kale Caesar salad is a plant-based twist on a classic! With crispy chickpeas “croutons” and a creamy homemade tahini dressing, this vegan salad recipe is flavor-packed, gluten-free, and delicious as a meal or side.

Overhead view of vegan kale Caesar salad in a white bowl topped with crispy chickpeas and tahini dressing, surrounded by salad ingredients.

Caesar salads are timeless for a reason. There’s something so perfect about the tangy, salty dressing, the crisp lettuce, and the crunch of the croutons. While a traditional Caesar salad is packed with eggs, cheese, anchovies, and bread, this kale Caesar salad is an easy and delicious plant-based recipe. It's vegan, gluten-free, and packed with flavor and crunch. Drizzled with a rich and creamy tahini dressing, if you ask me, it's better than the original!

For more satisfying vegan salad ideas, try my warm farro salad, this creamy kale quinoa salad, or my Thai superfood kale salad.

Why You'll Love This Kale Caesar Salad Recipe

  • Fresh and crunchy. Made with kale in place of romaine lettuce and pumpkin seeds for extra crunch, this salad is packed with greens and so delicious. If you’re craving a Caesar salad but want it to be vegan and gluten-free, this is the salad for you.
  • Chickpea croutons. The crispy chickpeas are the star of this recipe. Crunchy, garlicky, and 100% plant-based, chickpea croutons are the best alternative to the real deal!
  • Creamy dressing. The tahini dressing is also fantastic. Capers and caper juice give the dressing the briny, salty flavor of anchovies while nutritional yeast makes it rich, hearty, and cheesy.

Watch the Video

Check out this quick video showing how easy it is to make a fabulous vegan kale Caesar salad at home! You'll find more tips and details below.

Ingredients for vegan kale Caesar salad.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Here are some quick notes on what you’ll need to make this easy kale salad. Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for a printable ingredients list.

  • Chickpeas – Remember to drain and rinse canned chickpeas beforehand. You'll toss the chickpeas in garlic powder, salt, and pepper before roasting them to recreate the flavor and crunch of traditional croutons.
  • Coconut Oil – Or another cooking oil for roasting.
  • Tahini – I make a vegan Caesar salad dressing from creamy tahini. You can use store-bought or make your own homemade tahini.
  • Dressing Add-ins – Hemp seeds, nutritional yeast, capers (and juice), Dijon mustard, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and garlic.
  • Kale – Curly green kale is best for this recipe. You'll find kale in the produce section next to the other greens.
  • Pumpkin Seeds – You can substitute pumpkin seeds with sunflower seeds if you'd like.
  • Toppings – I like to sprinkle over some quinoa crispies for extra crunch. Feel free to choose your own toppings to make this Caesar salad your own!

How to Make a Kale Caesar Salad

Here’s a short step-by-step showing how to make this easy vegan salad. Don't forget to scroll to the recipe card for printable instructions.

  • Prepare the chickpeas. Drain and rinse the chickpeas, then toss them with oil and seasonings. Roast the chickpeas in the oven at 375ºF until they’re golden brown and crispy, about 40-45 minutes. 
  • Make the dressing. While the chickpeas bake, add all of the Caesar dressing ingredients to a blender (or food processor) and blend until smooth. 
  • Prepare the kale. Wash the kale and remove the stems. Tear the greens into bite-size pieces, and put them in a salad bowl. Pour the dressing over the kale, and massage it into the greens until the kale gets soft.
  • Add toppings. Top the kale with roasted chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, and quinoa crispies. Drizzle over some additional dressing if you'd like, and serve!
Vegan kale Caesar salad in a white bowl topped with crispy chickpeas and tahini dressing.

Tips for Success

Here are a few of my favorite tricks and tips for making this vegan kale Caesar salad. 

  • Don’t burn the chickpeas. You want to get a good crisp on the chickpeas, but it’s important not to burn them. To keep from burning the garbanzo beans, shake the pan every 10 minutes or so while they cook. Keep a close eye on the chickpeas, and remove from the oven right before they would start burning. 
  • Add a protein. If you want to turn this kale salad into a complete meal, top it with the protein of your choice. I recommend topping this Caesar salad with crispy tofu, but it’s also great with tempeh or a lean meat like chicken, if you eat meat. 
  • Thoroughly massage. Raw kale tends to be a little chewy, so it’s important to massage the kale for your Caesar salad. Massaging with your hands not only coats the greens in dressing, but it softens them, too. They should be almost wilting once you're done. See my massaged kale salad for details.
Overhead view of vegan kale Caesar salad in a white bowl topped with crispy chickpeas and tahini dressing.

What to Serve With Kale Caesar Salad

This kale Caesar salad is satisfying enough on its own! I also love it on the side with a delicious vegan entree, like these stuffed sweet potatoes, my curried chickpea carrot burgers, or these easy vegan meatballs. A fresh Caesar salad is also the perfect way to round out a pasta dinner, like this creamy walnut pasta or a creamy vegan mushroom Stroganoff.

Vegan kale Caesar salad in a white bowl topped with crispy chickpeas and tahini dressing, with a spoon for serving.

How to Store Leftovers

  • Refrigerate. Stored any leftover kale Caesar salad covered in the fridge for up to 4 days. The chickpeas will lose some of their crispiness, and the kale will get a little more wilted with time, but the flavors will still be delicious.
  • Freeze. I don’t recommend freezing this recipe. Salads do not freeze well, and the kale will be an odd texture after it thaws. 

More Kale Salad Recipes

Kale Caesar Salad with Crispy Chickpea Croutons

5 from 4 votes
This kale Caesar salad is a fresh take on a classic dish, made with tender greens, crispy chickpeas, and creamy tahini dressing. This salad recipe is rich, vegan, and gluten-free!
author: Alyssa
yield: 4 Servings
Overhead view of vegan Caesar kale salad in a white bowl topped with crispy chickpeas and tahini dressing.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 55 minutes


For the Crispy Chickpeas:

  • 1 15-ounce can organic chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 heaping teaspoon garlic powder, more or less to taste
  • Salt + pepper to taste

For the Vegan Caesar Dressing:

For the Salad:


  • Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  • Drain and rinse the chickpeas, then transfer them to a large bowl. Top with oil, garlic, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine. Transfer the chickpeas to a baking sheet and roast for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown and crispy, shaking the pan a few times to avoid burning.
  • While the chickpeas are cooking, prepare the dressing. Add all the dressing ingredients into a high-powered blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a container and set aside.
  • For the salad, wash the kale leaves thoroughly, then remove the stems. Tear the leaves into smaller pieces and put them in a large salad bowl.
  • When you're ready to assemble the salad, pour the dressing over the kale and begin to massage it with your hands until the leaves begin to soften. Transfer to serving dishes and top with chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, and the optional quinoa crispies.



  • If the chickpeas don't fully crisp up, leave them in the warm oven with the door propped open for 30-60 minutes.
  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days, though it won't be as good after the first day.
  • You can top the salad with the protein of your choice to create a complete meal.


Calories: 257kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 517mg | Potassium: 355mg | Fiber: 6g | Vitamin A: 1480IU | Vitamin C: 24.8mg | Calcium: 83mg | Iron: 3.4mg
cuisine: American
course: Salad

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