Chickpea Caesar Salad (30 Minutes!)

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Wooden bowl of Chickpea Kale Caesar Salad topped with tandoori chickpeas

Behold: The 30-Minute Chickpea Caesar Salad with vibrant kale, tangy 5-minute Caesar dressing, crispy baked chickpeas, and so much flavor we can hardly contain ourselves.

Let me show you how it’s done!

Ingredients for making our Chickpea Kale Caesar Salad recipe

Start this 30-minute recipe with the dressing: a simple blend of raw cashews (soaking optional, but not necessary!) mustard, garlic, lemon juice, capers, salt, pepper, a little miso paste, maple syrup, and olive oil.

While we love our 5-Minute Caesar Dressing made with hummus, this creamier version wins on flavor and texture by a landslide.

Using our hands to massage a bowl of kale for Chickpea Kale Caesar Salad

If serving with crispy baked chickpeas, prep your kale as the chickpeas bake by massaging it with a little olive oil and lemon juice.

Why massage kale? It softens the sometimes tough texture, removes a little bitterness, and primes the greens for the dressing. In other words, less chewing, better flavor, more enjoyable salad.

All that’s left to do is add your Caesar dressing and crispy chickpeas!

Drizzling chickpea caesar salad dressing onto chopped kale

We hope you LOVE this salad! It’s:

Crunchy
Fresh
Flavorful
Satisfying
Customizable
& Incredibly delicious

This would make the perfect side to just about any main, especially our Garlic White Wine Pasta with Brussels Sprouts, Roasted Red Pepper Pasta, Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Pasta, Garlic Chili Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, and Creamy Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes.

Into salads? Be sure to check out our Loaded Kale Salad, Easy (Oil-Free) Ranch Dressing, Savory Breakfast Salad, Apple Pecan Arugula Salad, and Herbed Green Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette!

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Using wooden salad spoons to toss a bowl of Chickpea Kale Salad topped with tandoori chickpeas

Chickpea Caesar Salad

This Chickpea Caesar Salad is ready in just 30 minutes! Kale provides a hearty base while the zesty cashew Caesar dressing brings the whole dish to life. The perfect side to any main!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Using salad tongs to pick up a serving of our delicious Kale Caesar Salad with Crispy Chickpeas
4.9 from 28 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 (Servings)
Course Salad
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Italian-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 3-4 Days

Ingredients

SALAD

  • 1 batch Tandoori Spiced Chickpeas
  • 2 large bundles lacinato or curly kale, chopped or torn (2 large bundles equals ~16 ounces | 554 g)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup vegan parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp hemp seeds (optional)

DRESSING

  • 1 cup raw cashews (option to soak overnight in cool water, or in hot water for 1 hour)
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp each sea salt and black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 8-12 medium cloves fresh garlic, chopped
  • 4 tsp capers in brine
  • 2 tsp brine juice from capers
  • 6 Tbsp lemon juice (2 large lemons yield ~6 Tbsp or 90 ml)
  • 3-4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup hot water (plus more to thin)
  • 1 tsp chickpea (or soy) miso paste
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup (or sub Stevia to taste)

Instructions

  • If serving with crispy chickpeas, prepare at this time (see link above).
  • To prepare dressing, add raw cashews, dijon mustard, salt, pepper, garlic, capers, brine juice (from capers), lemon juice, olive oil, hot water, miso paste, and maple syrup to a small or high-speed blender. Blend until creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Add enough water to thin until pourable.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more lemon or mustard for zing, salt or capers for saltiness, olive oil for creaminess, maple syrup to sweeten, or miso for more depth of flavor. Set aside.
  • Add kale to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp (15 ml) each olive oil and lemon juice as recipe is written. Massage by hand to remove some of the bitterness and soften the texture (see photo).
  • Add desired amount of dressing, plus vegan parmesan cheese and hemp seeds (both optional). Toss to coat and top with crispy chickpeas. Serve immediately. There may be leftover dressing, which will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 7-10 days. Not freezer friendly.

Video

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with lesser amount of garlic and olive oil and without optional ingredients.
*Recipe adapted from our Kale Caesar Salad from Minimalist Baker's Everyday Cooking.

Nutrition (1 of 6 servings)

Serving: 1 servings Calories: 253 Carbohydrates: 17.4 g Protein: 7.8 g Fat: 19.3 g Saturated Fat: 3 g Sodium: 334 mg Potassium: 561 mg Fiber: 3.9 g Sugar: 4.5 g

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Reader Interactions

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My Rating:




  1. Anna says

    LOVED the dressing! I simply made the dressing and tossed it through cooked chickpeas, chopped lettuce and cucumber and it was amazing! Will definitely make again!

  2. Tessa says

    This is one of my favorite meals! Sometimes I add crispy tofu on top and I often make the tandoori chickpeas for a snack. As I think someone else mentioned about the dressing, if you are sensitive to garlic or just prefer less of a garlicky flavor I would scale way back. I used 2 cloves and it was amazing. 8-10 and I would not have been able to eat it. But otherwise I love this dressing and make it all the time!

      • Olivia says

        Incredible! I used the sauce in a “chicken” Caesar wrap. I only used 4 cloves of garlic because 8-12 would make me sh*t myself, I omitted miso, but added vegan Worcestershire and it was perfect. Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe!

  3. Mary C says

    This recipe was so bomb! Full of flavor and all the creamy deliciousness I have been missing in my life. My grocer was all out of miso paste but I still found the flavor well balanced. I will definitely add this recipe into my list of go tos. Also added roasted brussels sprouts and tomatoes to the salad.

  4. May says

    SO great! My carnivore boyfriend (although he added chicken with masala to his portion) & I made this and WOW. He immediately asked me to send him the recipe so he could bookmark it. We made as written although we used dark miso, half the kale, and were out of tandoori masala so used gram masala with a few spices mixed in (as suggested on google). As other say a bit more dressing then we needed (again we halted the kale but not the dressing so no surprise here). Thank you Dana for the hit!

  5. Sara says

    So excited to make this! Do you think it would be okay to sub greek yogurt in place of cashews for the dressing?

  6. Mary says

    Delicious! I made this without crispy chickpeas or parm because of a time crunch and it was still tasty with just the dressing and the lettuce! I didn’t have to chop the garlic at all. Just popped it in my vitamix and it blended in great. I have plenty of dressing leftover and am looking forward to using it on everything. So. Good.

  7. Amanda says

    Made the salad dressing only and it was wonderful. Used all of the garlic but roasted it. Omitted miso because I didn’t have it and it was still fabulous.

  8. Olga says

    Thank you for this delicious recipe, the whole family loved it! Like one reader below I used 4 fresh cloves of garlic in the sauce and it was plenty. I made this recipe two days in a row, and on the second day I had to prepare the tandoori chickpeas a bit more quickly so I pan-fried them and added a dash of soy sauce at the end, it turned out very nice. I will definitely be making this recipe again, thank you Dana!

  9. Anna says

    Cesar dressing is the thing I miss a lot after adopting a vegan diet. This was delicious! Didn’t have miso paste which turned out not to be a problem. I added 2 more tablespoons of lemon for more zing!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Anna. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  10. Stephanie Cogen says

    I only made the dressing, which was great, but I will use less garlic. I was skeptical of the 8-12 cloves, so I used 4 large ones, and it was still overwhelming. But otherwise fantastic.

  11. Bree says

    Loved this recipe! My husband who loves traditional caesar dressing stated that this was the best one he’d ever had. Made the crispy chickpeas and just seasoned with some garlic powder, onion powder and red pepper flakes. I also had some jalapeno olive oil so used half of that in the dressing along with regular olive oil. Added a nice bit of spiciness to the dressing.

    Will definitely be making this again!

  12. Emily says

    This was amazing! The dressing was the best caesar dressing I’ve ever had (vegan or not)! It was also really easy to put together. So excited to make this again!

  13. Katie says

    AMAZING! This recipe has become my staple lunch/dinner option – it’s a great go-to for a quick and hearty meal. I’ve probably made it at least twice a week for the past couple months and it never disappoints.

    In an attempt to become more conscious about my oil consumption, I just tried a modification to the original dressing recipe that omits the olive oil and water, and replaced with 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk. This modification yielded less of a ‘Caesar’ taste but still produced a creamy garlic dressing that I enjoyed just as much as the original version.

    Thanks for the delicious recipe, Dana! I am obsessed! :)

  14. Katie Michiels says

    Made this recipe for the first time at a dinner party last night with a few friends – it was a MASSIVE hit. It was only supposed to be the side but turned out to be the star of the party. I wasn’t allowed to take the leftovers home because the hosts wanted to keep the rest. But that’s okay – the dressing made enough for two batches that I can now re-create it today for myself & my partner. And it felt awesome to know all of the ingredients in this from scratch :)

    Also – I had the same issue as others – pulsed the vegan parmesan too long and it turned out clumpy. Just put it in the oven as another comment recommended with some more nutritional yeast stirred in and it flaked up a bit again. After the oven, I just broke it up with a fork and you couldn’t tell the difference once it was mixed in with the full salad :)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Cat, it makes them easier to blend and gets the dressing more creamy. Hope that helps!

  15. Caroline from GreenEatalia says

    Just made this for dinner and it was a big hit! Omitted capers because I didn’t have any, and it still came out great. Definitely adding into my dinner rotation!

  16. Shawna Johnston says

    Just simply amazing! I added your yeast free Parmesan as well. I can’t. Stop. Eating. It.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Shawna. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! xo

  17. Cass says

    Can’t wait to try this recipe! It looks amazing!

    Can I substitute cashew with other seeds or nuts (almond, hemp,…)?
    Thanks! :)

  18. B says

    So, sO, SOOO GOOOD!!! I followed all directions as written (9 raw cloves garlic) and found this salad to be EXTRA extraordinaire!!! The creamy textures mixing with the crunch, the salty tang mixing with the slight sweetness …MMMMM!!! THANK YOU for your MAGIC!!!

  19. Tia says

    Just wow! This dressing was so easy to put together and made an amazing dinner salad. That being said, the recipe made close to 2 cups which was WAY more than we needed and we are trying to figure out how to get through so much dressing in the next 7 days. I think I will halve this recipe the next time I make it.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Tia, so glad you enjoyed it! The reason for the quantity of dressing is that making a half batch in a large blender is difficult because the blades don’t get covered and then it doesn’t mix. If you have a small blender such as this one, a half batch will work better!

  20. Erin says

    I only made the dressing portion of this recipe and OMG IT IS AMAZING! (Even just on a simple bowl of romaine/cucumbers). This will 100% be a staple in my house from now on. I plan to try the whole recipe in the near future!

  21. Leni Fleming says

    I followed the recipe exactly and loved it, loved it, LOVED it. To me, the best classic Caesar salads are garlicky, and I found the amount here just right. I couldn’t believe how flavorful this dressing was. The capers and brine were a great idea. I actually like it more than traditional Caesar dressings! It is so good on kale or Romaine. After I made it I found myself wanting big salads every day – it really elevated them.
    Definitely a new favorite.

  22. Kim says

    I made a variation of this recipe the other day and it was great! Today I made it exactly to the recipe. I love garlic, but the 8 cloves I used was way overpowering. When I make it again I will use only 4 cloves of garlic!

    • kim says

      BTW I only gave it 3 stars because of the overpowering garlic. When I make it again with half the amount it will be 5 star category!

      • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

        Thanks for the feedback, Kim! Is it possible that your garlic cloves are on the larger size?

  23. Amanda says

    This salad is delicious! My 4-year-old caper-loving (but salad averse) daughter even ate some. I used a tip from another comment and roasted the garlic with the chickpeas. We will definitely keep this in rotation!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Capers can be omitted here, but they do add that “fishy” ocean flavor that sardines typically provide. If you try it without, let us know how it goes!

  24. Christie says

    Oh dangggg, girl! You worked your magic on this dressing – it is so good! I’ve made your spiced chickpeas before and this combination is just heavenly. You keep doing that good work. (I omitted the maple syrup and added vegan parm!)

  25. M Lynne Jordan says

    Yum! Made this tonight and it was soooo good! Added some tomatoes (even though they are not traditional for Caesar Salad) and avocado on the side. The dressing is amazing.. I used 1/2 raw 1/2 roasted garlic like another commenter. This will definitely go in my recipe rotation!

  26. Nicola says

    Made this tonight for the first time, a definite win. The dressing is amazing and even pleased my teenage daughter!

  27. Estelle says

    Oh my the colors here are making my mouth water. I was caught at chickpea Caesar but then you went and added kale!! I can’t wait to try this!

  28. Michelle says

    OMG, this is now my favourite salad. I’m eating it right now. It’s a meal in itself. I made the dressing before I flipped to the chickpea recipe, so I did add the garlic clove to the chick peas but as I had already added a lot of garlic to the dressing, i just threw the roasted cloves into the salad. Beautiful. Best dressing ever!!