Best Vegan Kale Caesar Salad with Chickpea “Croutons” & Hemp “Parmesan”

VeganGluten-FreeNut-FreeSoy-FreeRefined Sugar-FreeVegetarianDairy Free

If there is one salad in need of a healthy recipe makeover, it is the classic Caesar salad. Loaded with raw egg, creamy dressing, croutons and a mound of Parmesan cheese, it can pack in a surprising amount of saturated fat, sodium and overall calories.

I wanted to create a vegan, gluten-free and nut-free healthy Caesar salad that everyone could enjoy.  This one leverages hemp seeds and nutritional yeast for the vegan and nut-free “parmesan cheese.”  I use white beans as the creamy base for the Caesar dressing.  The skillet chickpeas are optional but give a nice texture and gluten-free addition in place of croutons.  Instead of classic romaine, this salad uses shredded kale for added nutrients.  But you can certainly substitute romaine hearts instead.

If you prepare the hemp parmesan cheese and dressing ahead of time this salad comes together quickly.  You could even cook the skillet chickpeas ahead of time as they also taste great chilled on the salad.  If you make everything ahead of time you can simply toss everything together just before serving.

I hope you all enjoy this healthy and allergy-friendly spin on the classic Caesar salad.  If you give it a try, please snap a pic and tag #eatingbyelaine and @eatingbyelaine so I can see your awesome creations.

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Vegan Shredded Kale Caesar Salad with Skillet Chickpea “Croutons” & Hemp “Parmesan Cheese”

  • Author: Elaine Gordon
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 6 mins
  • Total Time: 21 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x


This healthy spin on the classic Caesar salad is a total crowd-pleaser that works for vegans or anyone avoiding gluten, soy or nuts. It is extremely filling with the Skillet Chickpea “croutons.” The dressing is creamy and flavorful. And the Hemp “Parmesan Cheese” adds an extra cheesy element that takes this salad over-the-top.


  • 1 large head of kale, rinsed and dried well with stems removed
  • Skillet Chickpea “Croutons”*
  • 1, 15 ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Simply Organics nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Caesar Dressing
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white beans
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (vegan and gluten free) (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons capers with brining juices (optional)
  • 12 tablespoon vegan mayo (optional for added creaminess)
  • 1 tablespoon Simply Organics nutritional yeast
  • Hemp “Parmesan Cheese”
  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts (or substitute cashews)
  • 2 tablespoon Simply Organics nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


  1. Shred the kale in a food processor. I typically pulse 10 times. Place kale in a large salad serving bowl.
  2. To prepare the Skillet Chickpea “Croutons” (optional but recommended for an added protein-boost and additional texture to the salad), place chickpeas and olive oil in a medium saute pan and saute on medium-low heat. Add nutritional yeast, maple syrup, smoked paprika and salt and stir to evenly coat. Allow chickpeas to brown in the pan for 4-6 minutes total and be sure to stir every minute or so. Once finished, set aside and allow to slightly cool while you prepare the dressing and parmesan cheese.
  3. To prepare the Cesar Dressing, place all Caesar dressing ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth and creamy. Pour on the kale.
  4. To prepare the Hemp “Parmesan Cheese” place all ingredients in a mini food processor and process for about 10 seconds until a fine powder is achieved. Sprinkle over the kale salad. If not using immediately, store in the refrigerator for up to several weeks.
  5. Add the skillet chickpeas to the kale salad if using and serve immediately.


* The skillet chickpea croutons are entirely optional in this recipe. They are inspired by part of a recipe from Healthy Happy Life.

  • Category: Entree Salad
  • Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Nut-Free, Dairy-Free, Refined Sugar-Free



This post is sponsored by Simply Organics.  Thank you for supporting the brands that I work with and love.

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