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.
Crowd-Pleasing Vegan Caesar Salad
6 small bowls
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.
For the Roasted Chickpea Croutons:
- 1 (14-ounce/398 mL) can chickpeas (or 1 1/2 cups cooked), drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) 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 (60 mL) water
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) lemon juice
- 1/2 tablespoon (7.5 mL) Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 small garlic clove (you can add another if you like it super potent)
- 1/2 tablespoon (7.5 mL) 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 (15 mL) 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)
- Soak cashews in a bowl of water overnight, or for at least a few hours. Drain and rinse.
- Roast chickpea croutons: Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). 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 (200°C), 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
This is my first time using one of your recipes and making a dressing from scratch. It was absolutely amazing! My un-vegan fiance was obsessed with it and said its better than the regular dairy-based dressing! I am not a fan of salads but after this,I’m going to try all of your salad recipes!
I haven’t had ceasar salad in a LONG time, but I used to love. I don’t make it simply because I don’t keep mayo around anymore. I try to make most of our condiments and mayo was one that went by the wayside.
This tasted like real dressing! I was really surprised. Both my bf and I really liked it. I realized halfway through throwing things in the blender that I didn’t have Worsh. sauce. But I read that you could sub 2 tsp of soy sauce/tamari and a pinch of lemon juice and sugar, so I did that. I’m not vegan, so I realized after I could have used anchovy, but it was great as is. I’d love to try it with roasted chickpeas.
Is there a reason you can’t make the roasted chickpeas the night before? I am traveling 2 hours on thanksgiving day and it would help me immensely if I could roast them the night before and put into a covered container for travel. I would like to get to my destination and just be able to assemble it without having to use the host’s oven.
Thank you so much for this amazing recipe. I made it as part of our Thanksgiving meal and everyone loved it. It looks so pretty too! My husband says it tastes like a “real” cesar salad from a fancy restaurant. I will be making it again!
Amazing. Made it two nights in a row. I love Caesar salad and this is by far the best one I ever had!
So very good! Will be making this often! :)
Fabulous!!! I was missing my old ceasar dressing! I substituted balsamic for the worcestershire. Highly recommend trying that modification as well. Thanks so much!
I made this as part of a vegan Thanksgiving, for my vegan daughter. The “fake cheese” was the big hit. We had plenty left over, since it was just the two of us, and we’ve found a dozen ways to use it. I’m back here not to leave a comment but to get the recipe again so we can make another batch. THANK YOU!
BEST Caesar dressing ever- vegan or no!
Omg! I made this tonight for a quick dinner and HOLY S#^+ was it amazing! I’m new to the vegan world and am still testing the waters, i.e. seeing what I can pass off as a non vegan dish to my husband, and this was perfect! He never new the difference and even thought thi was the best version yet. Thanks bunches!!
This salad lives up to its name! I made it for Thanksgiving and my non-vegan sister asked for the recipe. She made it for another holiday party for non-vegans and said everyone loved it! I plan on using this dressing for other salads as well – it is so creamy, filling and satisfying! Thanks for this amazing recipe.
Love love love this salad! I made it for Christmas dinner and everyone really enjoyed it. I’ve been eating it every day since. I can’t believe how much it tastes like regular caesar salad!
It seems like a main component – is there anything you can sub for cashews? (allergy!)
This is the bomb! It formed part of our Christmas lunch, and was truly crowd-pleasing. A new family favourite. :-)
First of all, this is amazing and truly a crowd pleaser. Vegetarians have the option to use parmesan instead of the nutrition yeast + nut mix, which we did.
If you don’t soak the cashews in advance, boil the cashews for 15 minutes and let them cool. They’ll be soft and ready for blending. I’ve used this trick on a few Oh She Glows recipes and it’s always worked beautifully. It avoids the “oh crap, I didn’t soak so I can’t make this” situation.
I just made the Chakra Caesar Salad from your book and we love it. I did find it really thick and wasn’t sure if that is as expected or if I needed to add more water. Now I see you have this new version that uses cashews rather than almonds. I have a few questions and if you or any of your followers are able to answer that would be fantastic.
1) Chakra Caesar Salad – is it supposed to be very thick (not runny at all)?
2) Between this posted version and the book version which one is better?
3) Both versions – how long can you store them in the fridge?
Thank you Angela. I absolutely love your cookbook and Ive tried about 15 recipes so far. Each one is a hit. We are not vegan but like to switch it up and look for more reasons to increase our vegetable intake.
This salad is AMAZING! Made last night, husband and 10-year-old daughter loved it! Even better today. :)
I’ve had this on my “To Make” list for quite some time and only got around to finally making it tonight for dinner. Oh my gosh… it is fantastic. I’m a huge caesar salad fan/connoisseur and I had my reservations, but this may be my new standard. Thank you so much for the recipe!! I’m so excited to make it for friends and family when they come over.
Absolutely amazing! I made this salad for Dinner tonight and the crowd went wide! Thank you for posting!
This is the best caesar salad I have ever eaten! My husband and I devoured it! I will definitely be making this again! Thanks!
Oh my goodness, this was absolutely delicious! This was my first attempt at a vegan caesar dressing and it was delicious! Everything about this salad was heavenly delicious. I made mine for a week of lunch meals and just kept the components separate in the fridge and combined each serving together each day. I was surprised at how well everything held up, even the chick pea croutons. They weren’t super crispy after a day or so, but were still delicious! I added some whole grain fusilli pasta and chopped roasted almonds to add a little more protein to the meal and it was so great. I think a pasta salad with this dressing would be amazing as well!
This looks so good – my mouth is watering! We love Caesar salads but haven’t had them in a long while because, well, too fattenimg. I’m going to try the chick pea croutons tonight! Thanks for the inspiration ??
I just made the caesar dressing, and I can’t believe how delicious it is! I was literally licking the spoon! It tastes just. like. caesar. dressing!
The only modifications I made were that I added 3 cloves of garlic instead of 1, I added white miso instead of vegan Worcestershire, and I doubled the quantity of water simply because I like my dressing on the runnier side.
The roasted chickpeas are in the oven right now. I’ve never been so excited to eat a salad! <3
Can you freeze the caeser dressing, to use again later?
Made this salad today, loved it! I wish it didn’t take so much time to make though, especially the chickpeas, but in the end I felt proud for making it all myself from scratch :P I used spinach and kale instead of lettuce and it was great
Your recipes have yet to disappoint this almost vegetarian family. This salad looks amazing and I’ll try it tonight. Have you considered doing meal plans with shopping lists based on all your recipes? I’m not the best planner when it comes to meal and find myself at the grocery store often to purchase the ingredients I need. HELP me plan! ;)
A major hit, and I haven’t even added the chickpea ‘croutons’ yet. I’m cooking for a family who is doing alot of vegan experimentation right now and one member is also celiac. A friend of mine mentioned her vegetarian friend cooked her alot of lovely things from the cookbook so I thought I’d try. I don’t yet have nutritional yeast and was short on time so didn’t do chickpeas, so I thought we’d just serve with real cheese (since we aren’t completely vegan yet) and toasted pepitas. The dressing is so good and flavorful that we ended up skipping the cheese altogether! We have a foodie family and I am very hard to impress as far as innovative and tasty new recipes, so I’m converted.
Hi Chloe, it’s so great to hear you and your family enjoyed the salad! It’s definitely a fav recipe around here. If you try anything else from the blog or cookbook, I hope you enjoy it just as well! :)
Did you change seed/parm recipe? It used to have sesame seeds right? And no fresh garlic? I had this page book marked for reference. I really liked it the way it was :(
Yes, the recipe has been slightly modified in recent weeks. Hopefully, if you give the new version a try, you’ll agree with me that this topping is even more flavourful!
Wowzers. This was truly crowd-pleasing! I took it to a potluck last night, and everyone loved it. When I told them that it was vegan, they were all shocked! So so good.
Glad to hear the recipe was a hit, Laura!
Angela, what a hit! I can not believe how delicious this caesar salad is. A new favorite in my house and with my friends. Made this today for Easter Brunch. Two thumbs up!
I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it. :) Happy Easter, Taryn!
Creative and delicious spin on the classic Caesar salad. I made this for our family Easter lunch. Everyone went back for seconds, even my brother-in-law who doesn’t like kale!
I’m glad to hear everyone enjoyed the recipe, Jade! :)
Hey! Thanks so much for your beautiful website, to-die-for cookbook and awesome blog posts. You rock! I’m wondering, since I’m a single lady, and often just cook for one, do you recommend only roasting the amount of chickpeas you want on the salad? They’re probably not great the following day, hey?
Hi Meg, sorry for the delayed response on this! You can definitely roast just a single serving of chickpeas. Or, if you make a full batch and end up with leftovers, you can let them cook completely and then pop them in a container in the freezer; they’ll keep well there for about 5-7 days. To reheat, simply place the frozen chickpeas on a baking sheet and roast them at 400 degrees F for 5-10 minutes. Hope this helps!
Why do t you put one teaspoon instead of half a tablespoon?
Hi Bridget, great question! Half a tablespoon is slightly larger than a teaspoon: there are 3 teaspoons in 1 tablespoon. Hope this helps!
Very Delicious!!! It’s a favorite of my non-vegan teenage daughter as she is requests this several times a week. I have brought it to Holiday family dinner parties and my omnivore dad loves it. Having been in the food business for many years, my dad is hard to please. I usually have to double the recipe to keep everyone happy :)
Aw, thanks for the awesome comment, Margaret. I love that your dad loves it so much!!
This was UNBELIEVABLE! It is my go-to salad now for parties. My non-vegan friends will eventually stop giving me grief and finally accept that plant-based eating is good for you AND delicious.
I’m so happy you enjoyed the recipe, Ann, and that it’s lived up to its name! :)
Thanks! My girlfriend and I just made this and we loved it! Looking forward to sharing it and having leftovers tomorrow. We don’t have a food processor so just made the cheese in the vitamix – it worked out fine. It’s now added to the rotation with the enchiladas and the chickpea salad!
I’m glad the recipe was a hit, Brendan! It’s definitely one of my favs (along with the other two recipes you mentioned – sounds like a great recipe rotation to me!). I hope you enjoy whatever you try next just as much.
This looks divine! Do you think I can substitute white beans for garbanzo? or possibly fava?
I’m allergic to garbanzos…. :(
Hi Laura, I haven’t tried it yet, but apparently you can roast other beans in lieu of chickpeas. If you try it out please let us know how it goes!
How long does the dressing keep in the fridge?
Hi Emma, I’m not 100% certain (we always eat it too fast! haha), but I would guess it would keep in the fridge for 5-7 days, possibly longer.
Can you recommend the best substitute for hemp in this recipe? It’s actually illegal to ingest it in Australia (crazy I know….)!!!!!!
You can still buy it from most health food stores everywhere in Australia
Yes I know Tanya, I own a organic good store and café. I can’t sell a meal made with hemp seeds as its illegal to ingest in Australia (despite everyone doing so), which is why I asked what might be a good alternative.
Hi Alecia, Since it’s only a couple tablespoons, I’d probably just swap it with a couple more tablespoons of cashews! Easy that way. :)
Did this recipe used to call for sesame seeds? Am I crazy or is it not listed as an ingredient anymore?
I just made this recipe the other day and it is Ahhhhh-MAZING! I intend to make it for my next dinner party. …and all the time in general!
This was excellent! Absolutely amazing Caeser. Will be included in my new repertoire!
So glad it was a hit, Jen!:)
This salad is DELICIOUS!!! I cannot get enough of it! I have eaten it for lunch almost every day for the last two weeks and again for dinner at least 5 times. It is so good! Bravo!!
I’m so happy you’re loving the Caesar Salad, Haley!! It’s a big favourite in our house, too. :)
Tried this last night! The other mouth I was feeding said it was up there in the top 3 salads he’s ever had! Yum. Can’t wait to eat leftovers for lunch and then make it again sometime soon
Hi Tanya, it’s great to hear the salad was a hit!! Enjoy those leftovers.
What an amazing, amazing salad! I made this over the weekend with your Butternut Squash Man ‘n’ Cheeze and it was quite the combo! First time my boyfriend has eaten kale so I was a little worried, but he loved it! I made the salad as it with no subs. He said the salad was so good and that he will definitely eat it again :) I am new to following your blog so have been so pleased with all of the recipes I have tried so far even though I’m not vegan/vegetarian.
Excellent! So good we had salads with this dressing two nights in a row.
I’m happy to hear it’s a winner, Bill! We definitely love the dressing too. :)
Caesar salad is one of my kids’ most favorite meals! I’m slowwwwwly transitioning them to a plant based diet, and this recipe is a life saver- the dressing is amazing and these kids will do anything for a roasted chickpea! Thank you so much for letting them keep Carsar salad in their lives :-)
I’m so happy your kids have been liking the recipe!! :)
I brought this salad to my sister’s wedding shower yesterday, and it was a HUGE hit. It’s certainly worthy of its “Crowd-Pleasing” title, and I can’t wait to make it again. As always, thank you for the wonderful recipe, Angela!
I see in the dressing and “parmesan” cheese you add both raw garlic and garlic powder. Please explain why the combination instead of one or the other. Thank you.