Crowd-Pleasing Vegan Caesar Salad

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on November 24, 2014

veganCaesarsalad-2905

My dad is coming to visit this week. This means two very important things are on my “what to make dad” menu. 1) Chili, always and 2) Caesar salad. Those are essential food groups for the guy. Anything else is icing on the cake. Plus, I always welcome the opportunity to use my huge bamboo salad bowl that we received as a wedding gift from our friends. When this bowl comes out, it’s something special!

Even though Caesar salad isn’t traditional holiday fare, I totally think you can serve it as part of a holiday menu. I love an unexpected twist on the table personally. Do you have any non-traditional dishes that are go-to’s for your family? My mother-in-law used to always serve Caesar salad as part of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner and I swear it was one of the things that went the fastest, next to her famous croquettes. And my dad, well…let’s just say his famous Caesar salad and chili make an appearance at every Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve gathering.

I’ve made a couple vegan Caesar salad recipes over the years (one of which is in my cookbook), but I think this version is my best rendition yet. Recipes are always works in progress for me and I find each time I make it, I’m always trying new things. In addition to a new dressing, I also added roasted chickpea croutons and a nut and seed based parmesan cheese. I used a blend of traditional romaine lettuce with non-traditional Lacinato kale (destemmed of course). This way you have the classic flavour of romaine with the nutritional boost of the kale, without scaring anyone away (ahem, dad). I love the two tone greens in the bowl too. It’s a great make ahead salad because you can prep everything the day before (except for the roasted chickpeas) and then just mix it up the day of your event!

The first time I made this dressing, I actually used double the quantities you’ll see in the recipe below. However, I found that it made way too much (I had half leftover after mixing the salad), so I cut the dressing ingredients in half and it still worked out fine in the blender. I’m just mentioning this in case you are wondering about making a larger batch for a crowd – this dressing doubles beautifully!

I had a lot of fun with the photoshoot for this recipe, so I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking.

And in case I’m not back again this week, I’d like to wish my American readers a lovely Thanksgiving! Thank you for coming here each week and eagerly trying out so many of the recipes I share. If you’re looking for my favourite Thanksgiving recipes, you can find them here. Also check out my 3 Course Step-by-Step Vegan and Gluten-Free Holiday Menu.

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Crowd-Pleasing Vegan Caesar Salad

Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, no bake/raw, refined sugar-free

By

This is a delicious, creamy vegan Caesar salad that will wow any crowd! Everyone who’s tried it goes absolutely nuts over it, and it’s my most popular salad recipe on the blog. To take it over the top, I garnish the salad with a generous amount of crunchy Roasted Chickpea Croutons and a delectable Nut and Seed Parmesan Cheese for the ultimate vegan Caesar salad. The dressing recipe easily doubles for a larger group and it’ll keep in the fridge in a sealed container for a few days so you can make it in advance. Dressing adapted from My Vega.

Yield
6 small bowls
Prep time
Cook time

Ingredients:

For the Roasted Chickpea Croutons:
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (or 1 1/2 cups cooked), drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
For the Caesar Dressing (makes 3/4-1 cup):
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 small garlic clove (you can add another if you like it super potent)
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce (I use Wizard's gluten-free brand)
  • 2 teaspoons capers
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt and pepper, or to taste
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)

Directions:

  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 400°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 400°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. Prepare the dressing: Add the cashews and all other dressing ingredients (except salt) into a high-speed blender, and blend on high until the dressing is super smooth. You can add a splash of water if necessary to get it blending. Add salt to taste and adjust other seasonings, if desired. Set aside.
  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 and the Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size 1 of 6 bowls | Calories 310 calories | Total Fat 17 grams
Saturated Fat 2.5 grams | Sodium 460 milligrams | Total Carbohydrates 29 grams
Fiber 9 grams | Sugar 4 grams | Protein 12 grams
* Nutrition data is approximate and is for informational purposes only.

Tips:

  • Be sure to check the label to ensure your Worcestershire Sauce is gluten-free (if necessary) as not many are. I use Wizard`s Gluten-Free Organic Worcestershire Sauce.
  • The dressing thickens when chilled, so be sure to leave it at room temperature to soften before using.

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

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Becca January 28, 2018 at 9:35 pm

Can you tell me the nutrition for the ceaser dressing and the cheese?

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) September 15, 2018 at 9:03 am

Hey Becca, Just wanted to let you know the nutritional info is now included in the recipe (just hit the + sign to drop it down). Hope this helps!

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Jules January 30, 2018 at 1:39 pm

I just made this recipe for lunch, and I can’t thank you enough! It was genuinely amazing, and I followed the recipe to a “T.” I have never been a huge fan of Caesar Dressing bc the store bought ones are always so tangy and “mustardy” tasting. Your dressing blended perfectly and I didn’t mind the Dijon mustard at all. Next time I’ll add some tomatoes and avocados, bc there will for sure be a next time. Thank you again!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 30, 2018 at 2:38 pm

Jules, I’m so happy to hear the vegan Caesar surpassed your expectations! I love your idea of adding tomatoes and avocado next time. Sometimes I like to make a Caesar wrap stuffed with this salad and my Crispy Breaded Tofu Strips (sometimes I add some BBQ sauce for a kick); it’s really out of this world!

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Sophie February 5, 2018 at 3:19 pm

Hi! I am late to the party here but planning to make this over the weekend. Just wanted to clarify: do all the cashews need to be soaked or just the ones for the dressing? I’m guessing the latter, and that the ones for the Parmesan do not need to be soaked. Thanks!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 6, 2018 at 8:23 am

Hey Sophie, Thanks for clarifying! You only have to soak the cashews for the dressing. I hope you love the salad as much as we do!

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Sophie February 6, 2018 at 1:34 pm

Thanks so much, Angela!

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Kandiss Powell February 6, 2018 at 10:52 pm

Urban Remedy definitely uses this recipe for their vegan Caesar salad. I hope they paid you !!

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) February 7, 2018 at 8:18 am

Thanks for the heads up! I haven’t heard of them before so they haven’t reached out to me.

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Sarah April 6, 2018 at 8:12 pm

Help please! Made the dressing as per measurements, and for my it taste I found it tastes too much like the dijon mustard..like it’s all I can really taste. How can I fix this? I don’t want to waste the whole batch of dressing. Cashews are expensive :( The parmesan came out perfectly and so did my chickpeas. I’m just having trouble with the dressing. Thank you in advance!

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) April 9, 2018 at 7:41 am

Hey Sarah, I’m sorry to hear about the dressing not suiting your tastebuds! I would probably add a touch of water to see if that helps lessen the flavour a bit. Also, I find that salad dressings mellow out once mixed into the greens, so you may find this too. So glad you loved the parm and chickpeas! :)

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Shannon April 10, 2018 at 12:02 am
Recipe Rating:

Thanks for the recipe! This was simple and absolutely delicious!! Will definitely be making again!! I ended up adding more lemon and spicing it up a bit because it seemed to plain/cashew-y at first, but with a few adjustments it was amazing how close to the real thing it tasted!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 16, 2018 at 7:51 am

Good call on ramping up the lemon/seasonings…I’ve been doing that too. So glad you loved it!

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Sue Leroy April 24, 2018 at 6:22 pm

hi Angela since jan dairy free egg free wheat free and many more since my food sensitivity test. I wish I could have nutritional yeast as well. but was told thats under brewers yeast which was on my list as well. :(
question is as first time soaking nuts, do I soak in a specific amount of water overnight? do I use the water in the recipe or does that water actually go in the dressing when making it?
thanks a bunch. I’m trying to soak them now If anyone else knows the answer please share :)
sue

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) April 25, 2018 at 1:12 pm

Hey Sue, Thanks for your question! Happy to help :) And so glad you’re trying this out…I hope I’m not too late!
I don’t measure the amount of water I soak nuts or seeds in…I just make sure to cover the nuts/seeds by about an inch of water as they’ll expand/plump a bit when they soak. After soaking, I always rinse the nuts/seeds and then drain the water off before proceeding with the recipe. I hope this helps and please let me know how the Caesar dressing goes!

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Cindy April 24, 2018 at 8:09 pm
Recipe Rating:

Wow, this salad was fantastic! My vegan daughter found the recipe and I made it the next day. Everyone loved it, even the non-vegans! I omitted the hemp seeds and it still turned out perfect. Many thanks!

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) April 25, 2018 at 6:13 am

Hey Cindy, Such great news that you all loved it so much…thanks for your review!

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Chavonne Stuhlemmer June 1, 2018 at 6:30 am

I am not one to normally leave reviews but I had to on this recipe! I’ve been vegan for 19 months and my favorite salad before going vegan was Caesar. I’ve tried at vegan food places to find something that would satisfy the craving but nothing was the same … UNTIL THIS! Omg I could have cried when I tasted that dressing. Thank you!!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 2, 2018 at 11:19 am

Aww Chavonne, thank you so much! Your comment made my day.

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Jennifer June 15, 2018 at 9:32 pm
Recipe Rating:

Really wasn’t sure whether this would be able to live up to my standards (I LOVE Caesar salad) but this is pretty great. Was really happy with the result and would definitely recommend others give this a try. The Caesar dressing recipe is really great!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 18, 2018 at 7:54 am

So glad it was a hit, Jennifer! Thanks for your review.

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Daniella August 10, 2018 at 7:31 pm

I love this dressing, not much of a salad person but I am with this dressing. Wanted to know though, how long is the dressing good for if it’s in a sealed container in the fridge?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) August 12, 2018 at 6:05 am

Hey Daniella, So glad this salad won you over :) The dressing should keep in the fridge for 5-7 days.

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Shannon August 19, 2018 at 7:12 pm

This was so damned delicious that I literally dreamt about it after having it for dinner. I made more for lunch today!! I used roasted cashews – briefly soaked – but then pulverized the heck out of them in the vitamix. It worked well 🤤😋

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) August 20, 2018 at 5:35 am

Thank you Shannon! So glad you loved it!

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Amy August 22, 2018 at 5:25 pm

Hi! I’m so excited to have found this recipe, but am a little frustrated with my results :( I’ve tried this recipe twice now, soaking the cashews 8 hours on the first try and 12 hours on the second. I use. Vitamin and don’t typically have any issue with blending cashews to a smooth texture. Both times I’ve tried though, my dressing comes out gritty and the cashews won’t blend fully, even after 5 minutes of blending time. The flavour is great but the texture isn’t right. What can I do?! Please help!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 5, 2018 at 9:00 am

Hi Amy, I’m sorry for the delay in reply! I had replied to your comment when I first saw it, but now I see that it never went through. I’m so sorry you are not having ideal results with the dressing! I was going to ask if you are using a Vitamix and it looks like you are. I find I have to also use the tamper stick while blending to get the mixture to blend as it’s a thick sauce! Are you using the tamper by chance? That would be my best tip…otherwise I’m not quite sure what is going on. I hope you still enjoyed the sauce even if it wasn’t as smooth as you hoped. :)

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Jamie September 14, 2018 at 10:23 am

Could this recipe be made with almonds or another alternative to the cashews? I’m allergic and every vegan Caesar dressing recipe I’ve tried hasn’t been great so I really want to try this one! I’ve heard amazing things about it.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 15, 2018 at 9:05 am

Hey Jamie, I’ve been meaning to try this with soaked blanched almonds or even soaked sunflower seeds, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet! I think if you do try almonds it’s important to soak them to soften and use blanched (skinless) almonds so the dressing is smooth and not gritty. I’d love to hear how it goes if you try it out!

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Brigitte September 17, 2018 at 4:00 pm

After the 10th time of making this recipe I just had to tell you how much I love it! It’s my favorite salad dressing, and turns out perfect every time. I normally tweak recipes but for this one, I don’t change a thing! My husband devours it every time and it’s pretty much the only salad he’s happy to eat as “dinner”. We aren’t vegan (but I’m DF and GF) so I sometimes put salmon or chicken on it, and it’s amazing. Thank you! (Typing as I enjoy a bowl!)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 18, 2018 at 7:50 am

Hey Brigitte, thank you so much! I’m so glad you and your husband enjoy the Vegan Caesar Salad…it’s definitely one of my family’s favourites too. :)

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Janelle Kuhn Fox October 10, 2018 at 8:06 pm
Recipe Rating:

I could eat this salad every day-it’s sooooooo delicious! I usually use more kale and add avocados sometimes too. Thanks!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 12, 2018 at 6:32 am

I love adding avocado sometimes too…extra creaminess is never a bad thing. *heart eyes*

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Stephanie Castonguay October 13, 2018 at 8:47 pm
Recipe Rating:

Hi! I am a new vegan and loving your recipes (I have both oh she glows books as my go-to on my counter).. I have not made this yet but I am curious about storage- would this freeze well? I was thinking of doubling the batch and freezing in an ice cube tray so I can pop one into salads in the mornings and have it ready to eat by lunch time? any thoughts? thanks!!

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) October 15, 2018 at 8:33 am

Hi Stephanie, That is such a fun idea!! I love it. To be honest, I haven’t tried freezing the dressing yet so I’m not sure. My suggestion would be to try freezing just a small amount (maybe 1 “ice cube”!) and thawing it to see how it is. I’d love to hear how it goes :)

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