This crunchy superfood vegan kale Caesar salad recipe uses sunflower seed butter for the dressing and includes a walnut-based vegan parmesan “cheese.” Top with sweet and spicy roasted almonds for one epic salad!
Happy almost 4th of July! What are your plans? I’m up in Lake Tahoe, doing my trail running/beach lazying/wine drinking thang, and the way I see it, we need FOOD! I’ve been super into salad the last few weeks (because: no heat), so it’s what I’m feeling we need to complete our Independence Day feast.
Caesar salad recipes have bobbed and weaved their way through this site over the years (hint: this Spicy Kale Caesar Salad with Roasted Garlic is still one of my favorites, even 2.5 years later), because I feel passion for them. While I was in Maui a couple weeks ago, I ate a couple vegan kale caesar salads and enjoyed the experience so much I decided to re-create it at home. I had never made a vegan kale Caesar, you see, and I have to say, of all the Cesars I’ve done at home, zis one’s my favorite.
The vegan Caesar salad dressing is just the craziest! I made it using sunflower seed butter, although I’ve also seen recipes for vegan Caesar dressing that call for soaked cashews. You can replace the sunflower seed butter in this recipe with ½ cup soaked cashews, or ⅓ cup cashew butter. I added kalamata olives and coconut aminos (you can also use liquid aminos or soy sauce) to the dressing to give it that brininess you’d normally be getting from the sardines. It just works!
There will be extra dressing, “parmesan” cheese and roasted almonds for you to make an additional kale caesar, so you should be able to get two large salads that feed 4 out of it!
I’ve been using the vegan “parmesan” and the vegan Caesar dressing for other purposes besides salad, if you can believe it. For instance, I sprinkled the vegan parmesan on salmon and on my morning scrambled eggs, and used the dressing for flavoring a stir fry. The two have such delightful flavor, they can be put to good use elsewhere!
I topped the salad with roasted sweet and spicy almonds – you can replace the almonds with raw or roasted chickpeas if you’d prefer.
You guys are probably going to look at the ingredient list and be all, “NOPE!” – it is, indeed, forever long. Much longer than most of the recipes I post on this site! The upside is the majority of the ingredients probably already exist in your pantry or refrigerator, so it’s just a matter of pulling them out. I pinky promise the salad is worth it!
Hail the kale Caesar!
Vegan Kale Caesar Salad
Vegan Caesar Salad Dressing:
- 1/3 cup sunflower butter see note*
- 3 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons stone ground mustard
- 1 small clove garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons coconut aminos see note**
- 4 kalamata olives pitted, see note***
Vegan Parmesan Cheese
- 1/2 cup raw walnuts
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons hemp hearts
- 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Sweet & Spicy Roasted Almonds
For the Salad
- 2 heads lacinato kale destemmed and chopped
- 2 Romain hearts chopped
Prepare the Caesar Dressing:
Add ingredients for the dressing to a small blender. Blend until completely smooth. Set aside until ready to use (Note: dressing will thicken in the refrigerator, so stir in 1 tbl water if needed before using).
Prepare the Vegan Parmesan
Add ingredients the raw walnuts to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add remaining ingredients and process to combine until small couscous-sized bits form.
Prepare the Roasted Almonds
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Toss together all ingredients for the roasted almonds in a mixing bowl until everything is well coated. Spread almonds on a large baking sheet in a single layer. Bake in the preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden-brown and crispy.
Prepare the Caesar Salad
Add the chopped kale and romaine to a large mixing bowl. Add desired amount of vegan caesar salad dressing (I use 4 to 5 tablespoons). Toss well until greens are well-coated. Add vegan parmesan cheese and toss again to combine. Serve salad with roasted almonds on top.
*You can replace the sunflower butter with 1/2 cup raw cashews that have been soaked overnight, or 1/3 cup cashew butter.
**You can also use regular liquid aminos or vegan Worcestershire sauce.
***Replace kalamata olives with 2 tbl capers