This Vegan Caesar Salad is easy to make with fresh lettuce, kale, avocados and a creamy homemade dressing and is the ultimate healthy side dish. It’s topped off with crunchy nuts and seeds for a restaurant-worthy salad that’s done in 20 minutes! Gluten-free, low carb, paleo, keto and Whole30 compliant.
An Easy and Healthy Vegan Caesar Salad Recipe
Caesar salad will always be a classic when it comes to healthy sides. But what if you need a dish that’s vegan, gluten-free, Keto, low-carb or Whole30? Well, that’s where this easy salad recipe comes in! It has all the amazing flavors of a traditional Caesar salad, but it caters to your dietary restrictions.
The salad itself is only 5 ingredients, and the flavorful dressing is as simple as turning on your blender. To top it all off, this salad is sprinkled with toasted pine nuts and a mixture of your favorite seeds. The creamy, crunchy freshness in this salad is to die for!
The ingredient lineup here is simple – just a few items for the salad, a couple more for the dressing, and finally, your lovely toppings.
For the Salad
- Romaine Lettuce: Washed, dried and torn into bite-sized chunks.
- Chopped Kale: I use Tuscan kale, but you can use any variety you like.
- Chopped Lettuce: Chop up another cup of lettuce for good measure.
- Avocado Oil: Olive oil would work just as well.
- Avocados: You’ll need about two whole avocados, peeled and cored.
For the Vegan Caesar Dressing
- Cashews: I’m obsessed with the nutty flavor that the cashews bring to this dressing!
- Water: For consistency purposes.
- Lemon Juice: I recommend using fresh lemon juice whenever possible.
- Dijon Mustard: Just a teaspoon!
- Nutritional Yeast: This adds a savory flavor and a creamy texture to the dressing.
- Garlic: You’ll need one clove.
- Capers: This classic dressing ingredient provides some saltiness without adding a ton of sodium.
- Salt: Just a pinch.
For the Topping
- Mixed Seeds: We use a combination of sesame, sunflower and poppy seeds, but you can use whichever seeds you desire.
- Vegan Parmesan: Can also sub with regular parmesan. Omit for Whole30 and Paleo.
- Protein of Choice: Crispy tofu, grilled chicken(if not plant-based) or crispy chickpeas.
How to Make Vegan Caesar Salad
This salad is incredibly quick and simple, dressing and all. Here’s how to put it all together!
For the Salad
- Massage Kale with Oil: Place the rinsed and chopped kale in a bowl with the oil. Massage for a few minutes in your hands until darkened in color and soft.
- Cut Avocados: Cut the avocados into large chunks and set aside.
For the Dressing
- Blend Ingredients: Place all the dressing ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Dressing: Add the dressing to the salad, along with the sliced avocados, and mix well.
For the Topping
- Add Nuts & Seeds: Top the salad with toasted pine nuts and your desired seeds and serve!
Tips for the Best Kale Caesar Salad
Want to make sure your Caesar salad is as tasty as possible? Follow these tips, and you can’t go wrong.
- Adjust Dressing Consistency: If your dressing comes out too thick, add a few drops of water and mix to thin it out. Add more water, a little bit at a time, and continue mixing until your dressing reaches the perfect consistency.
- Mix Well: In order to get a good coat of dressing on your salad, be sure to mix it well before serving.
- Add Vegan Cheese: Instead of topping this dish with nuts and seeds (or in addition to it), feel free to garnish your salad with vegan parmesan cheese.
Can I Make This Vegan Salad Ahead?
This salad is a great make-ahead recipe if you store it properly. To make it in advance, gather all your salad ingredients in a container or bowl, cover and refrigerate them. Then, make your dressing and place it in the fridge in a separate container. Put your salad together and enjoy within 5 days, for best results.
There’s a reason Caesar salad is such an iconic side dish. It goes well with everything! Particularly, I like to serve it with the following dishes.
- Pair with Stuffed Peppers: These Vegan Stuffed Peppers are another spectacular dish that happens to go great with this salad. They’re also low-carb, gluten-free, Whole30 and Keto-friendly!
- Serve with Wings: If you want a spicy dish to balance out the cool and creamy flavors of this salad, try serving it with these addicting Buffalo Cauliflower Wings.
- Veggie Burgers: Burgers and salad just make sense togther. Serve this vegan salad with your favorite veggie burger!
How to Store Leftover Vegan Salad
Leftover Caesar salad should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. It will stay fresh for up to 3 days.
If you know you want to save some of your salad, set aside the amount of salad and dressing you want to store and refrigerate them separately. This way, it’ll stay good for up to 5 days. I don’t recommend freezing this salad.
More Healthy Salad Ideas
Need more healthy salad recipes in your life? We’ve got you covered!
- This Creamy Broccoli Salad is jam-packed with flavor and nutrients.
- Made sweet and savory with the addition of peaches and blueberries, you’ll fall in love with this Arugula Salad Recipe.
- Our Easy Avocado Tuna Salad is such a fun side dish or light lunch!
This Vegan Caesar Salad is easy to make with fresh lettuce, kale, avocados and a creamy homemade dressing and is the ultimate healthy side dish. It's topped off with crunchy nuts and seeds for a restaurant-worthy salad that's done in 20 minutes! Gluten-free, low carb, paleo, keto and Whole30 compliant.
- 4 cups chopped kale
- 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce or lettuce of choice
- 1 tbsp avocado oil or olive oil
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup tahini
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp capers can also sub with 2 tsp white miso paste - for a savory umami flavor
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 tsp kosher or sea salt plus more to taste
- Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- water only as needed to thin out the sauce
- Dressing: Place all the ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Add water (a little bit at a time, only as needed for a creamy dressing consistency.
- Assemble: Place the kale in a large bowl. Drizzle with 1 tbsp lemon juice and 1 tbsp oil and massage with hands for a few minutes (about 3-5) until the kale softens and darkens in color. Add the lettuce to the bowl on one side. Add dressing amount as desired and toss to coat.
- Top with crispy chickpeas, avocado, sunflower seeds, chopped herbs and grated parmesan. Serve and enjoy.