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A lot of the time, I draw recipe inspiration from non-vegan and non-keto dishes I see in a magazine or on a restaurant menu. This vegan keto kale Caesar salad is no exception. I saw a vegan Caesar salad at a restaurant the other day that featured crispy chickpeas and a cashew Caesar dressing. I would have ordered it, but this place also had Beyond burgers on the menu and sides of Buffalo Brussels sprouts…and I think you can probably guess what I ordered… But anyway, I went home and was still thinking about that Caesar. It just looked so good, and thought that it could probably be adapted to be low carb and keto-friendly pretty easily.
So, here we are. The key to the nutritional value of this salad is the dressing. Like with a lot of sauces and dressings, you’ll notice I used hemp seeds here. Not only are hemp seeds rich in quite a few minerals, but they’re also loaded with protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Hemp seeds also blend up really nicely to make a creamy dressing and don’t impart too much flavor on their own.
Okay, so it seems like kind of a lot of work for just a salad, but it’s really tasty and totally worth it. Plus, once you’ve made up the constituent parts (i.e., the dressing and “croutons”), you can whip up the actual salad part in no time flat. It’s even quicker if you buy the pre-washed and pre-chopped bagged kale, which I 100% do. If you make this vegan keto Caesar salad, I’d love to hear about it on social media or in the comments below!
Substitutions & Notes on Making Vegan Keto Kale Caesar Salad (gluten-free, nut-free, coconut-free)
- Hemp seeds can be subbed for sunflower seeds, cashews or sesame seeds. Keep in mind that cashews are higher in carbs, though! The sesame seeds do have a more distinct flavor, so if you don’t like tahini, I don’t recommend that substitution.
- For a protein boost, add on some baked tofu (or baked hemp tofu).
- To reduce the amount of carbs, you can use Romaine lettuce instead of kale – I really like kale, so that’s just what I use, but it is a bit higher in carbs than many lettuces.
- If you want a little more flavor on top, replace the nutritional yeast with the faux parm sprinkles from my Vegan Keto cookbook!
- To make this soy-free, substitute the soy sauce for coconut aminos and the lupini beans with roasted pepitas.
- If your blender doesn’t work with smaller batches of sauces, just double the dressing recipe and save some for later.
- If you’re storing this for more than one day in the fridge, I recommend keeping the lupini croutons separate, as they will get soggy if mixed in with everything else!
- While I strive to provide accurate nutrition information, different brands and varieties of ingredients have different nutritional values, so your calculations may vary.
Vegan Keto Kale Caesar Salad (gluten-free, nut-free, coconut-free)
For the Lupini Croutons
- 1/2 cup 83g lupini beans, drained
For the Dressing
- 1/2 cup 80g hemp hearts
- 1/2 cup 120ml water
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp mustard I like either Dijon or spicy brown here
- 1 tbsp soy sauce tamari or coconut aminos
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 clove garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
For the Salad
- 4 cups 10oz/283g chopped kale
- 1/4 cup 20g nutritional yeast
- To make the lupini croutons: Air-fry the beans at 375°F (190°C) for 15 minutes. Alternatively toss with 1 tsp olive oil and bake at 375°F (190°C) for around 45 minutes according to the directions here.
- To make the dressing: Process everything in your food processor or high speed blender until smooth.
- To assemble the salad: Toss the dressing and kale together and top with the croutons and nutritional yeast or faux parm sprinkles.