My name is Mary.  I love cooking healthy food for family & friends, making specialty coffee, wine tasting, finding great beauty products, traveling, and organizing everything. I document it all here! xo

kale caesar salad with roasted chickpeas {vegan, gf}

kale caesar salad with roasted chickpeas {vegan, gf}

{vegan, gluten free, dairy free, soy free}

kale caesar salad with roasted chickpeas {vegan, gf}

**Remember to soak cashews ahead of time or see the notes section below**

Living away from California for the time being, I've come to appreciate the availability and quality of fresh produce (not to mention the weather!) all year long, every day of the week.  The farmers' markets around Los Angeles are always stocked with a plethora of fruits, vegetables and delicious fare. While there are countless restaurants with accolades and organic markets here New York, there is an element of freshness in California cuisine that seems to effortlessly meet the needs of one's (my) vegetable intake requirements. 

kale caesar salad with roasted chickpeas {vegan, gf}
kale caesar salad with roasted chickpeas {vegan, gf}

It's so cold here that it's hard not to want hearty, warm meals that fill the belly and warm the heart. But after a few weeks it's taken a toll and I've felt the need to actively incorporate more seasonal fresh greens and produce into my diet.  Enter: kale caesar salad with roasted chickpeas...

kale caesar salad with roasted chickpeas {vegan, gf}
kale caesar salad with roasted chickpeas {vegan, gf}

This salad is hearty enough for winter, but also tends to that quality of freshness I've been craving.  The cashew-based dressing combined with the saltiness of the capers, nods to a traditional caesar salad recipe, mimicking the saltiness of sardines and the creaminess of an  egg combined with the oil.  And, the nutritional yeast replaces the cheesy flavor you would normally achieve from freshly grated parmesan (which you could also use if you prefer; however, grate it on top of the salad to finish rather than mixing it into the dressing). 

kale caesar salad with roasted chickpeas {vegan, gf}

The roasted chickpeas act as the gluten-free croutons.  I added some spices to the mix--turmeric, cumin and coriander--which is not traditional, and if you prefer, you can leave them out and simply season the chickpeas with salt, pepper and a little olive oil.  I made a brazil-nut parmesan to serve with the salad, but you could just as easily use some nutritional yeast and hemp seeds for a quick, no frills vegan parmesan. 

kale caesar salad with roasted chickpeas {vegan, gf}

I served this salad with some mushroom toast (recipe to come!), but if you want to beef up the salad a bit, you could toss in some roasted root vegetables or a sliced avocado (added just before serving).  This salad is just as delicious the next day, as the kale is able to hold its structure, and it can certainly be prepared a few hours in advance. The cashew-based dressing does tend to thicken over time, so add additional water as needed to achieve your desired consistency.  Just remember to re-taste if doing so.

Bon appetit!

kale caesar salad with roasted chickpeas {vegan, gf}
kale caesar salad with roasted chickpeas {vegan, gf}
kale caesar salad with roasted chickpeas {vegan, gf}

Total: *1 hr | Active Time: 15 min. | Cook: 30 min. | Rest: 15 min. | Serves 4 as a side, 2  as a main



sheet pan

parchment paper

optional salad spinner

immersion blender or standard blender

large salad bowl

measuring cups and spoons



Roasted chickpeas

1 15-ounce can of chickpeas

1 tablespoon olive oil

optional 1/2 teaspoon cumin

optional 1/4 teaspoon coriander

optional 1/4 teaspoon turmeric

salt and pepper to taste (a lot of canned beans are salted, so be sure to check!)


Caesar Salad

1 large bunch of curly kale, about 8 cups

1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in filtered water for at least 4-12 hours, then rinsed and drained (I soaked the cashews in the a.m. and then made the dressing when I was preparing dinner.  Alternatively, you can do a *quick soak)

**3/4 cup filtered water (add more to achieve desired consistency & adjust seasonings to taste)

2 tablespoons high quality olive oil

1/2 meyer or regular lemon juice, about 2-3 tablespoons

1 teaspoon lemon zest, about half a lemon (preferably from a meyer lemon)

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 1/2 tablespoons capers (don't be afraid to get some of the brine in there!)

1 heaping tablespoon nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper, plus more to taste

optional red pepper flakes for added heat

***salt to taste or use a few teaspoons of the brine from the capers, but be careful, the capers add a hit of salt


Brazil nut parmesan or a combination of nutritional yeast and hemp seeds for an easy vegan parm

optional additional whole capers

fresh ground pepper to taste



Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Drain and rinse the chickpeas.  Place them on a clean dish towel and gently pat them dry (if you have time, allow them to sit out and dry ahead of time).  In a small mixing bowl, combine the chickpeas, olive oil, spices, salt and pepper.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and pour chickpea mix evening into the pan.  Once the oven is preheated, cook the chickpeas for 35-45 minutes (depending on how hot your oven cooks, check periodically); rotate and shake pan halfway through to turn over the chickpeas. Remove the chickpeas from the oven and allow them to cool for 15 minutes.  

Meanwhile, wash, de-stem and thoroughly dry the kale using a salad spinner or kitchen towel.  Cut the kale into thin slices (like a coleslaw) and place into a large salad bowl. 

Next, combine the ingredients for the salad dressing into a blender (or use an immersion blender).  Pulse until the dressing is smooth.  Add a bit of water if the dressing is to thick (the dressing will thicken over time).  Taste and adjust seasoning with caper brine, or salt, and pepper.    Pour dressing over kale and massage with your hands for about a minute.  Stir in the roasted chickpeas and garnish with brazil nut parmesan, or a parmesan of your choice, additional capers if desired, finishing salt and pepper to taste.



*Time does not include soaking the cashews which should be soaked 4-12 hours in filtered water.  If you forgot, just boil some filtered water, place the cashews into a bowl, and pour the boiling water over the cashews and allow them to soak for 20 minutes while the chickpeas are roasting. 

**Depending on how much water you use, you may need to adjust the seasonings.  In the pictures, I used about 1/2 cup water and the dressing was fairly thick.  The second time around I used 3/4 cup water to achieve a thinner, albeit still creamy, consistency.  The dressing will thicken over time. 

***I added about two teaspoons of caper brine; do this after all the ingredients are combined as to not over salt. Always taste, taste taste before adding!

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