Summer is (luckily) getting closer and closer, which means so do salads for summer bodies. But please, it shouldn’t be about the way you look but the way you feel! For me plantbased or veggie heavy dishes always make me feel the best, give me tons of vitamins, a lot of energy, make my sleep be that best it could possibly be and just shine grin the inside and out.
But I know for a lot of people when they read „salad“ they either think of rabbit food (as my brother likes to say :)) or some green leaves underneath a ton of dressing. So today, we are doing none of those. Neither super boring and leaving us hungry, nor drenched in a fat heavy dressing. No. We a re doing a super delicious vegan and healthy version of the super popular ceasar salad. Still a little cheesy, with self dried tomatoes (best thing ever!) and crispy pan fried rosemary chickpeas. Sounds like a pretty solid dish to me and it definitely is!
That’s super simple: to switch things up. As good as Romain lettuce is sometimes, it is good to change things every now and then. And kale is a true superfood. Super high in fiber, minerals, vitamins, iron, antioxidants, and all of that other healthy stuff. And no, it’s not the raw one that is hard to chew but we are steaming it so it is softer, easier to digest and tastier. I know that there are a lot of people that absolutely can’t stand kale at all, no matter in which form, then I would recommend using spinach or lambs lettuce as this would work best for this. Also a mix with arugula would be great!
That’s a good question. Where to start? The oven roasted tomatoes, the incredible dressing, the crispy chickpeas or the croutons?
One after the other. So what else is super typical for ceasar salad are the croutons. No normal croutons here but whole wheat garlic ones. You heard me right. A little healthier but so good! Pan fried with fresh garlic and a little olive oil, it’s the best add in (to any salad actually).
Homemade dried tomatoes
Next up; oven roasted tomatoes. If you have never made this before, you sure missed out on something and spent way too much money on store bought ones before. It is essentially 3 steps: cut the tomatoes, place them in the oven, take them out. Oh, yeah and eat them of course! That’s how easy it is. You just leave them in the oven for an hour and go take a bath in the meantime. After an hour they are going to be somewhat I like to call semi-dried. They are dried, but still a little juice and not tough like leather.
Best crispy chickpeas
Next up, the crispy chickpeas. That’s THE way to do crispy chickpeas. So good you drain them from the can and rinse them. After tap them dry (this is important bc otherwise they are not gonna be crispy) with a kitchen paper. In a pan we add olive oil, garlic and rosemary and let them fry for 2 minutes to infuse the water. Rosemary and garlic out, chickpeas in and crisp them up for 5-10 minutes with some smoked paprika powder and sea salt. If you like the fried garlic and rosemary, go ahead and add them to your salad, otherwise don’t.
You can make those chickpeas ahead of time and just keep in a jar to snack on every now and then. A life changer.
And lastly to top it all off, the star of the show: the vegan Caesar dressing. Yep. Vegan. No cheese and no sardines. No mayo. Good and good. Instead of Parmesan cheese (not that Parmesan wouldn’t be good, it’s delicious, but sometimes it’s better not to have too much cheese) we are using nutritional yeast (German: Hefeflocken)! You can get those in your local health store (Reformhaus) or in some organic shops. It is made out of yeast, high in protein and really resembles the taste of cheese. The base of the dressing are cashews. Ideally we soak them a few hours or the night before so they get softer and easier to blend. They will ensure everything to get really creamy and add a really nice flavor. We also have some Dijon mustard and capers in it, to replace the sardines, a little vinegar and that’s it. It actually is not super difficult but tastes amazing!
So now, it’s just left to be mixed up! Nothing more nothing less! The steamed kale, the oven dried tomatoes, the croutons, and the dressing. Toss it all and enjoy!
If you want to meal prep this, make sure to leave the chickpeas aside to keep the crunch. You can already toss the salad in the dressing because when using kale, it doesn’t really matter, since the kale then absorbs the flavor and gets softer!
Katie // Une Petite Cuisiniere
Vegan Ceasar Salad with Crispy Chickpeas
A vegan twist on the classic and it is so good! Super delicious dressing, best ever chickpeas, oven roasted tomatoes and homemade croutons.
What you will need
For the salad:
- 4 handful kale off the stem
- 15 cherry tomatoes
- 1 slice bread
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 120 g chickpeas
For the dressing:
- 25 g cashews
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 2 tsp capers
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 2 tbsp plant milk
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
That is how it works:
Soak the cashews for about 2 hours to overnight in water.
Preheat the oven to 100*C. Slice the tomatoes in half and lay them on a baking tray lines with parchment paper. Bake them in the oven for an hour.
In the meantime bring a pot with water to a boil. Take a sieve and place the kale leaves, that have been removed from the stem in there. Let them steam for 2-3 minutes. After remove them and drain under cold water. This will ensure the color to stay and the kale to cool down quicker.
Take the bread and cut it into 1 cm cubes. Press out or grate 2 garlic cloves and combine them with the olive oil. Toss the bread cubes in the oil mixture and then fry them in a pan for about 2 minutes until crispy.
Take the chickpeas out of the can. Drain and rinse them to get rid of the liquid around them because this would make you go gasy. Tap them dry with some kitchen paper. In a pan heat up the olive oil. Once hot add the garlic and rosemary and fry for about 2 minutes, then take them out. After, you throw the chickpeas along with the sea salt and smoked paprika in and let them fry on medium high for about 5-10 minutes until super crispy.
Drain the cashews from the water. Add them to a food processor and add the nutritional yeast, Dijon mustard, capers, salt, pepper, water and plant milk. Blend until smooth. If too thick, add some more water, if too thin, some more cashews!
Place the kale in a bowl and mix with the dressing. Separate it into bowl. Take the tomatoes out of the oven and add them into the bowls with the croutons. Top with the chickpeas and if you like it, the fried garlic.
Serve and enjoy!