I wasn’t always huge on Caesar salads…even before I went vegan. I enjoyed a Caesar chicken salad wrap as a tasty lunch a few times, sure. But when I ditched meat and dairy, it wasn’t high on the (actually short) list of things I missed.
So for me, this lightened up vegan caesar salad recipe is actually more just a damn good salad, and not necessarily a way to compensate for anything. For some though, who perhaps loved the dish, it will be. Thanks to a deliciously creamy, zingy dressing, the garlicky crunch of the chickpea ‘croutons’ and the startlingly convincing nut & seed parmesan ‘cheese’, I don’t doubt that it’ll serve as a pleasant substitute for an old favourite.
Not only that – I feel Caesar salad is just a classic dish that should be available to everyone. With just a few small tweaks of the original, this version is a darn good alternative that carries all the flavours, but is much more nutritious, and nourishes your body from the inside out.
Easy, Satiating, Delicious
This list of ingredients might look a bit long at first sight, but many ingredients are used more than once for various components of the salad. The basic ingredients are greens, chickpeas, garlic powder, cashews and pumpkin seeds. the rest is basically seasonings.
What I love about this recipe is that it uses all wholesome, nourishing ingredients. You’ve got romaine lettuce and kale for vitamins; roasted chickpeas for protein, iron and that much-needed crunch, and healthy fats, zinc and protein from the nut & seed parmesan cheese.
Though the dressing TASTES really rich and creamy, it’s actually kept incredibly light thanks to its base ingredient – plain organic soy yoghurt. Soy yoghurt delivers a healthy dose of calcium, protein and those treasured probiotics we all need more of in our diet. It makes this salad taste like an indulgent meal, when actually its very healthy! If you don’t eat soy, some plain almond yoghurt would also work.
All of the ingredients in this salad are super simple and available at any grocery store. I will say though that the two ingredients you SHOULDN’T skimp on are the nutritional yeast (available from any health food store) and the Worcester sauce. The nutritional yeast is what gives a cheesy flavour to the parmesan ‘cheese’, whilst the Worcester sauce gives that salty zinginess to the dressing – much like anchovies in conventional Caesar dressing. Just be sure to use vegan-friendly Worcester sauce – I have mentioned my favourite brand below.
Ready to eat? Let’s get started!
Low Fat Vegan Caesar Salad Recipe
For the salad:
1 small-medium bunch kale, washed, dried and chopped
2 small heads romaine lettuce, washed, dried & chopped
For the chickpea ‘croutons’:
1 x 400g can cooked chickpeas
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Good grating of sea salt
Good grating of black pepper
For the dressing:
1/2 cup plain soy yoghurt*
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp vegan-friendly Worcester sauce (I like Biona)
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 tsp capers (optional)
*Be sure your yoghurt contains no added sugar or sweeteners, as this may affect the flavour of the dressing. You want the base to be as neutral as possible so choose yoghurt with only probiotics added. I buy Sojade brand.
If you’re not vegan, then any plain yoghurt or creme fraiche will work.
For the nut & seed parmesan ‘cheese’:
1/3 cup raw cashews
2 tbsp hulled hemp seeds OR pumpkin seeds
1 small clove garlic (or 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (I like Engevita)
Sea salt, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Drain, rinse and dry the chickpeas, then season with the garlic, salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 30 mins, stopping to shake halfway through.
- As the chickpeas cook, make the dressing by combining all the dressing ingredients and blending in a blender. Taste and adjust any seasonings as required.
- Prepare the parmesan cheese by blending together the cashews, hemp/pumpkin seeds, garlic and nutritional yeast. At first it will look floury, but blend for a little longer until the nuts start to release their natural oils and the mix slightly clumps together.
- Place the chopped leaves in a large bowl and toss well with the dressing to coat. (You can always reserve a bit of the dressing for drizzling over later.)
- Sprinkle on the roasted chickpeas and the parmesan cheese, with a grating of salt and pepper, if required.
Serve immediately and enjoy!
Big thanks to Angela Liddon from Oh She Glows, who provided the inspiration for this recipe.
Have you guys tried this? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!