Vegan Caesar Salad with Crispy Chickpeas
This vegan Caesar salad is a delicious mix of crunchy chickpeas and creamy dressing. It’s hearty enough for a main dish but it also pairs well with your favorite pasta! Try this when you’re craving a satisfying salad. Thanks to OXO and California Olive Ranch for sponsoring this post.
It’s hard to beat a classic Caesar salad. Crunchy romaine, a tangy dressing, salty Parmesan, and crispy croutons are one of my favorite combinations. But since Caesar salad isn’t really known for being a healthy salad, I wanted to lighten things up!
How to Make Vegan Caesar Salad Dressing
This vegan Caesar salad has a creamy dressing made with extra virgin olive oil and cashews, meaning it’s full of healthy fats. For this recipe, I’m using California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil which is the olive oil that Alex and I have been using for years. The flavor is fruity and fresh, and it is so delicious in salad dressings.
To make the dressing, soak the cashews for 6 hours or overnight. No time to soak your cashews? Place the cashews in a large bowl. Cover with 2 cups of boiling water and cover the dish with a plate. Let sit for 30 minutes until cashews have softened. You’ll need a strong blender or food processor to achieve a smooth dressing with this shorter-soak method.
Add the soaked cashews, olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, and salt into a blender or food processor. Blend and drizzle the water in while blending. Add more water if needed to achieve the desired texture.
How to Make Chickpea Croutons
I swapped out the croutons for crispy chickpeas which give you the crunchiness but with the added benefits of fiber and protein. To make the chickpeas, drain and rinse them, then pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels.
Toss the chickpeas with olive oil and spices and spread them on a baking sheet. Roast until crispy.
The crispy chickpeas are best when they’re fresh out of the oven. I’ll usually let them cool for just a few minutes before tossing them on top of my salad. If you’re making them in advance, I’d recommend popping them back in the oven for a minute or two. They tend to get a little chewy once they’ve cooled.
How to Wash and Dry Your Lettuce
I like using a salad spinner to clean my lettuce because I can use the colander insert when I’m rinsing my greens. It makes it easy to be sure I’m cleaning things properly and the basin of the colander is big enough for just about any size salad. Then, of course, the actual spinner helps remove extra water from the leaves. I’m always amazed at how much water is drained after a few spins!
Drying the lettuce properly means my greens won’t get soggy and my dressing won’t be diluted. It may seem like an extra step, but it really does make a superior salad!
Once my dressing is made, my chickpeas are crispy, and my lettuce is washed, I’m ready to assemble my salad!
How to Store Leftovers
You can keep the leftover dressing in the fridge for up to 1 week. To keep the romaine fresh, store in a zipper top bag with a dry paper towel. The paper towel will help absorb moisture and keep the lettuce fresher for longer. The chickpeas are best served fresh, but if you have leftovers, you can reheat them in the oven or on the stovetop for a few minutes. I do not recommend reheating in a microwave, as they’ll get chewy.
If you’re looking for a spicy twist on a Caesar salad, try this Mexican Caesar Salad!Print
This vegan Caesar salad is a delicious mix of crunchy chickpeas and creamy dressing. It’s hearty enough for a main dish but it also pairs well with your favorite pasta!
For the Salad
- 1/2 cup cashews, soaked for 6 hours (see note for a shortcut)
- 1/4 cup California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons water (plus more if needed)
- 2 hearts of romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
- 1 15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. In a blender or food processor, combine the cashews, olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, salt, and water.
3. Blend for 30 seconds then scrape down the sides and continue to blend.
4. Add more water if needed. Add salt to taste.
5. In a large bowl, toss the chickpeas with the remaining olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt.
6. Spread onto a baking sheet in a single layer.
7. Bake for 15 minutes then stir them on the baking tray and continue to bake for 10-15 minutes or until browned and crispy.
8. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
9. Place the lettuce in a large bowl and drizzle with dressing.
10.Toss with crispy chickpeas and serve!
No time to soak your cashews? Place the cashews in a large bowl. Cover with 2 cups of boiling water and cover the dish with a plate. Let sit for 30 minutes until cashews have softened. You’ll need a strong blender or food processor to achieve a smooth dressing with this shorter-soak method.
More Salad Recipes
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of OXO and California Olive Ranch.