Vegan Kale Caesar with Chickpea Croutons

I have to admit I’ve been really tired and bored of kale these days. BUT, every once in awhile I will eat this delicious, creamy vegan Caesar salad. When I discovered garnishing the salad with a generous amount of crunchy roasted chickpea croutons and a nut & seed parmesan cheese that sold it for me. 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed 
  • 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
For the Roasted Chickpea Croutons:

Tahini Caesar Dressing

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 to 1 1/2 lemons)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Freshly ground black pepper
For the Nut and Seed Parmesan Cheese:
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 2 tablespoons hulled hemp seeds
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • fine grain sea salt, to taste
For the lettuce:
  • 1 small/medium bunch lacinato kale, destemmed (5 cups chopped)
  • 2 small heads romaine lettuce (10 cups chopped
  1. Soak cashews in a bowl of water overnight, or for at least a few hours. Drain and rinse.
  2. Roast chickpea croutons: Preheat oven to 400Β°F. Drain and rinse chickpeas. Place chickpeas in a tea towel and rub dry (it’s okay if some skins fall off). Place onto large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle on oil and roll around to coat. Sprinkle on the garlic powder, salt, and optional cayenne. Toss to coat. Roast for 20 minutes at 400Β°F, then gently roll the chickpeas around in the baking sheet. Roast for another 10 to 20 minutes, until lightly golden. They will firm up as they cool.
  3. To make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, mustard, and salt. Whisk until blended, then add the water and whisk until you have a smooth, blended tahini sauce. Season generously with black pepper (about 10 twists). The dressing should be tangy, like classic Caesar dressings. If it’s overwhelmingly tart or too thick to pour, whisk in an additional tablespoon of water.
  4. Prepare the Parmesan cheese: Add cashews and garlic into a mini food processor and process until finely chopped. Now add in the rest of the ingredients and pulse until the mixture is combined. Salt to taste.
  5. Prepare the lettuce: Destem the kale and then finely chop the leaves. Wash and dry in a salad spinner. Place into extra large bowl. Chop up the romaine into bite-sized pieces. Rinse and then spin dry. Place into bowl along with kale. You should have roughly 5 cups chopped kale and 10 cups chopped romaine.
  6. Assemble: Add dressing onto lettuce and toss until fully coated. Season with a pinch of salt and mix again. Now sprinkle on the roasted chickpeas, gluten free vegan crackers and the Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.