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Healthy vegan Caesar salad with crispy spiced chickpeas, dairy-free parmesan, and creamy vegan cashew dressing is a crunchy, flavorful, and light dish for lunch or dinner.
I love coming up with healthy salad recipes that aren't totally boring. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a basic chopped salad with a simple oil and vinegar dressing, but sometimes you just need...more! More crunch, more flavor, more creaminess, more texture. And definitely more protein to make it a meal.
That's why this Caesar salad recipe is one of my favorites. Every bite is complete with crunchy homemade croutons, delicious spiced chickpeas, super creamy caesar dressing, and "parmesan cheese".
This is a classic Caesar recipe with a plant-based twist to make smooth cashew-based dressing. The result is every bit as flavorful, creamy, and addicting as regular Caesar dressing. I think you'll love it as much as I do. Reminder: You can find the printable, detailed recipe in the recipe card below.
- Romaine lettuce. This is a must-have for crunch, fresh Caesar. Chop it into bite-sized pieces for easier eating.
- Chickpeas. This is how I love to add extra crunch and protein to my Caesar salad to make it a vegan meal.
- Garlic powder. Adds just the right amount of savory flavor to crispy spiced chickpeas.
- Dried parsley. This is the key to adding a fresh, herby flavor to your chickpeas.
- Cashews. You'll need these to make your own quick and easy vegan parmesan. You can also use store-bought parmesan. My favorite is by Follow Your Heart.
- Nutritional yeast. A go-to flavor enhancer to add nutty, cheesy flavor without any dairy.
- Garlic croutons. Because no Caesar salad is complete without plenty of crunchy croutons!
- Vegan caesar salad dressing. This is what really brings your salad to life!
After dressing, the salad should be enjoyed right away. You can store the dressing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.
Keep the croutons and crispy chickpeas in an airtight container on the counter for up to one week. If they lose any of their crispiness, dry them ut in a 350°F oven until they're crunchy again.
Substitutions & Swaps
- Gluten-free. Substitute gluten-free bread or pre-made croutons.
- Other proteins. Use Crispy Pan-Fried Tofu, tempeh, or seitan for another plant-based protein option.
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Vegan Caesar Salad Recipe
- 1-2 teaspoons oil - - ex. grape seed or olive oil
- ⅓ cup chickpeas
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp dried parsley
- pepper to taste
- ¼ cup cashews
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- Spiced chickpeas: Add oil and chickpeas to a skillet. Mix in salt, garlic powder, parsley, and pepper. Heat on medium until warm and browned, about 5 minutes.
- Vegan Parmesan: Blend together cashews and nutritional yeast until it becomes the texture of traditional parmesan cheese. A spice grinder is perfect for this, but a regular blender or food processor will also work.
- In a bowl, toss the chickpeas, vegan parmesan, and romaine lettuce with the croutons and the amount of salad dressing you prefer. Add more vegan parmesan on top if you wish! This recipe makes 2 big salads or about 4 if served as a side salad.
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