All kale Caesar! This quick and satisfying salad is perfect for a light lunch or paired with a veggie burger as a side dish. The cashew-based Caesar dressing comes together quickly and adds a luscious creaminess to a fresh mixture of hearty quinoa, earthy kale, and sweet tomatoes. Don’t forget the crunchy homemade croutons! (To make gluten-free, use certified gluten-free bread)

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By Nancy Macklin, RDN,

  • 508


  • ⅓ cup quinoa, rinsed and drained (1 cup cooked)
  • 2 slices whole-grain bread, cut into large cubes
  • 1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 6 oz. baby kale (6 cups)
  • 6 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved (1 cup)
  • ½ cup raw, unsalted cashews
  • ⅓ cup white wine vinegar
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened, unflavored plant-based milk
  • 1⅓ tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a saucepan over high heat, bring quinoa and ⅔ cup water to boiling. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool; fluff quinoa with a fork.
  • In a bowl, soak cashews in very hot water for 15 minutes. Drain the water and rinse nuts.
  • Bake bread crumbs on a baking sheet around 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • In a bowl, combine chickpeas, cooked quinoa, kale, and tomatoes.
  • In a high-powered blender (or food processor), combine soaked cashews, vinegar, plant milk, Dijon mustard, and garlic. Process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour about half the Caesar dressing over kale salad; toss to coat. Top with croutons and serve with remaining dressing on the side.

Comments (20)

(5 from 11 votes)

Recipe Rating

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Emily Legault

My dressing was way, WAY too vinegar-y with ghe 1/3 of vinegar. I would 1/2 the amt called for, or even just use 2 tablespoons, and then go up if more is desired. I will use Dreena Burton's recipe for cesar dressing next time.


Absolutely amazing!!! Added garbanzo beans! Definitely will add to the meal rotation.


Is it possible to add the "Add to Meal Planner" button for this recipe? Thanks!


One of my all time favorite crowd pleasing salads!


One of my fav salads! My friend makes it all the time, but today was the first time I made it myself! Took a tip from my friend and rubbed toasted bread with garlic to add flavour. Almost added noosh, but think it’s great without so for now, no noosh. Makes a huge amount, but I can eat a lot, so I am stoked! Highly recommend this recipe! Very yummy and very satisfying as a meal on it’s own!!!


I love this salad. I add whatever leftover veggies I have in the fridge to it, sometimes Tofu. The dressing is so good and it’s a good meal salad


This was easy to make and so delicious I think about it most days. Have shared and will make again!


This recipe is great, but it was SO MUCH kale. I couldn't finish it all. Next time, I'll cut the kale down to 4.8 oz (2.4 oz is one serving). I was pleasantly surprised by the dressing. I thought 1/3 c of white wine vinegar would be too much, but it brought the right amount of tang after it was mixed in with the other ingredients. I also added 1/2 tablespoon of nutritional yeast to the dressing, just to give it a cheesier taste.

Veronica S

why does this recipe not port over to the meal planner? I tried to search it directly and it doesn't show up in the planner itself, like many of them... But they have a button to place them in my recipe box. This one doesn't. Too bad, I really wanted to try it.

Megan Edwards

Hi Katie, It has a slightly different name in the meal planner, it's listed just as "Kale Caesar Salad." Sometimes the titles change slightly for the website version to help with search results in Google. Let us know if you're still having trouble finding it!


Could the dressing be made with macadamias or pine nuts for those with a cashew allergy??


Kale is not my favorite. The dressing is good but needs some oil so the salad isn’t so dry. The croutons should be seasoned before backing as they were tasteless.

Ann Marie

It's whole food, plant based, so we don't want to use oil.


One of my favorites. I make it over and over again!


Amazing My new favorite salad ❤️

Christine Kirsche

We really enjoyed this. The dressing will be made for other greens as well. A perfect side dish. We all enjoyed it.

Janice Carey

Do you ever include the nutritional information for your recipes? I need the total carbohydrates per serving and the serving size, please.


Janice--look at RealPlans dot com. They have a free version and you can import recipes fro websites.


I want to know if this refrigerates well for leftovers?

Wawi Joseph

Beautiful and simple

About the Author

Headshot of Nancy Macklin

About the Author

Nancy Macklin, RDN

Nancy Macklin has a bachelor of science in dietetics from Iowa State University and a Master of Science in health services administration from the University of Saint Francis. Macklin worked as a hospital-based clinical dietitian, providing counseling for diabetes, heart disease, and weight loss and as a food service director in health care dining sites. She now serves as a test kitchen dietitian, developing 500+ recipes per year. She is a member of the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics and International Association of Culinary Professionals. Find her on LinkedIn.
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