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Vegan Caesar Salad

by Capri Lilly

This crowd-pleasing Vegan Caesar Salad is light, refreshing, and flavorful. It’s filled with crunchy chickpeas, crisp romaine lettuce, sliced radishes, and a mouthwatering vegan caesar dressing made quickly and easily from scratch! Enjoy the classic Caesar flavor you love with this gluten-free, dairy-free salad that makes for a delicious lunch or side dish.

If you love creamy vegan salad dressings, you’ll have to check out our Vegan Ranch Dressing or Avocado Cilantro Dressing next!

close up view of salad in a bowl

The Vegan Caesar dressing is what takes this salad from your typical caesar salad to a phenomenal, drool-worthy salad that you’ll want to make again and again! Creating the salad dressing took a bit of experimenting, but I am happy to share that I completely nailed it, and the dressing is INCREDIBLE!

This homemade vegan Caesar dressing is rich, creamy, and tastes way better than that store-bought stuff! It has a silky consistency with all the savory, bright, earthy, salty flavors you love from regular Caesar salad dressing. What’s even better is that it’s so simple to make: simply add the ingredients into a blender and blend!

overhead view of vegan caesar salad with forks placed on either side of the bowl

Why is Caesar salad not vegan?

It’s easy to assume that most salads are vegan but Caesar salad is not. Traditional Caesar salad comes with shaved parmesan cheese. And that famous dressing is loaded with egg and Worcestershire sauce (made with anchovies). But luckily, there are ways to replicate the creamy, smoky, salty flavor of Caesar salad dressing while keeping it vegan!

You’ll love this Vegan Caesar Salad because it’s:

  • Healthy – With roasted chickpeas in place of croutons, and a dairy-free dressing, this is a plant-based version of your favorite salad.
  • Quick – This easy, simple recipe comes together in just minutes. And to save even more time, you can make the chickpeas and the salad dressing ahead.
  • Delicious – We’re not compromising on taste with this vegan Caesar salad recipe. Even the non-vegans will be scooping up this salad by the forkful!
view of half a bowl of salad, topped with chickpeas, sliced avocados and radishes

Ingredients You Will Need To Make This Salad

  • Crispy Chickpeas: This healthier alternative to croutons has a smoky savory flavor. It pairs perfectly with the salad for added protein and a nice crunch. Check out my Crispy Air Fryer Chickpea recipe that’s ready in just 15 minutes!
  • Romaine lettuce: This variety of lettuce is commonly used because it has a mild flavor that allows the dressing to shine. Use 2 large heads or 3 small heads of lettuce. Make sure the lettuce is completely dry so that the salad dressing will adhere.
  • Radishes: Slice them thin and add them in for a pop of color, a touch of peppery flavor, and more crunch.
  • Avocado: Get some healthy fats by adding creamy avocado.
  • Salt and black pepper: A classic Caesar salad is salty but you can add both seasonings to taste.
  • Fresh herbs: Herbs help bring this salad to life. Add fresh dill or even fresh basil!

Vegan Caesar Salad Dressing

IT IS PERFECT! It’s briny, creamy, garlicky, tangy, and tastes just like your typical Caesar dressing but it’s completely vegan + gluten-free!

overhead view of vegan ceasar dressing ingredients
  • Raw cashews, soaked then drained
  • Lemon juice
  • Dijon mustard
  • Garlic cloves
  • Capers
  • Caper brine
  • Olive oil
  • Water plus more to thin
  • Salt plus more to taste
  • Pepper plus more to taste

How to Make the Best Vegan Caesar Salad

  1. Soak the cashews: Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Once the water is boiling. Add the raw cashews. Turn off the heat and let the cashews soak for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Make the salad dressing: Carefully drain the cashews. Add all ingredients for the dressing to a high-powered blender and blend to the desired consistency. Add 1-2 tbsp of water to thin the dressing, as needed.
  3. Assemble the salad: Grab a large bowl or platter. Add the chopped romaine and half of the radishes and crunchy chickpeas. Pour half of the salad dressing and toss until the lettuce is well coated. Add the sliced avocado, remaining radishes, and chickpeas. Season generously with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh basil and more dressing if desired.
overhead view of salad dressing ingredients added to a blender
overhead view of blended salad dressing

Variations & Additions

  • Protein: If you aren’t vegan, throw in some extra protein like salmon or chicken. Alternatively, add crumbled tofu or tempeh bacon.
  • Cheese: If you just want a vegetarian Caesar salad, use Parmesan cheese. Or you can add a dairy-free alternative, like Violife’s Vegan Parmesan Cheese.
  • Vegetables: Instead of Romaine, you can use kale. It’s hearty and has a nice crunch to it too! Just remember to massage the kale with a bit of olive oil first so it’s tender. For added veggies, consider including tomatoes and cucumbers.
  • Nut-free: If you are allergic to nuts, you can make a vegan mayo-based Caesar salad dressing instead. Substitute cashews with plain, non-dairy yogurt or vegan mayonnaise.
close up of homemade dressing vegan and gluten-free

Storing the salad and dressing:

  • Store the vegan caesar dressing in an airtight container or mason jar in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Give it a good stir before using.
  • Store the salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Tips

  • Save even more time by making the chickpeas and dressing beforehand. Then, all that’s left to do is chop the Romaine lettuce and assemble the salad.
  • To avoid a soggy salad, serve immediately after adding the salad dressing.
  • If you think you’ll have leftovers, reserve some salad for later, and do not top it with dressing.
a bowl of dairy-free caesar salad

I hope you enjoy this Vegan Caesar Salad Recipe! 

If you try the recipe, don’t forget to rate the recipe, and let me know what you think in the comments below! Take pictures, tag #goodfoodbaddie, and share them with me on Instagram and Pinterest! I love seeing my recipes come to life in your kitchen.

More Delicious Healthy Salad Ideas!

bowl of salad with a fork in it

Vegan Caesar Salad

This crowd-pleasing Vegan Caesar Salad is light, refreshing, and flavorful, filled with crunchy chickpeas, crisp romaine lettuce, sliced radishes, and a mouthwatering vegan caesar dressing made quickly and easily from scratch! Enjoy the classic Caesar flavor you love with this gluten-free, dairy-free salad that makes for a delicious lunch or side dish.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Healthy Options, Vegan
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 378kcal
Author: Capri Lilly

Ingredients

  • 3 Heads Romain Lettuce, chopped about 10 cups
  • 1 ½ cups Crispy Chickpeas
  • cup Radishes sliced
  • 1 Avocado large
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Vegan Caesar Dressing

  • 1 cup Raw cashews soaked in boiled water, then drained
  • 1/3 cup Lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 Garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp Capers
  • 2 tbsp Caper brine (liquid from caper jar)
  • 3 tbsp Olive oil
  • 3 tbsp Water plus more to thin
  • 1/2 tsp Salt plus more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp Pepper plus more to taste

Instructions

  • Soak the cashews: Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Once the water is boiling. Add the raw cashews. Turn off the heat and let the cashews soak for at least 15 minutes.
  • Make the salad dressing: Carefully drain the cashews. Add all ingredients for the dressing to a high-powered blender and blend to the desired consistency. Add 1-2 tbsp of water to thin the dressing, as needed.
  • Assemble the salad: Grab a large bowl or platter. Add the chopped romaine and half of the radishes and crunchy chickpeas. Pour half of the salad dressing and toss until the lettuce is well coated. Add the sliced avocado, remaining radishes, and chickpeas. Season generously with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh basil and more dressing if desired.

Notes

Variations & Additions

  • Protein: If you aren’t vegan, throw in some extra protein like salmon or chicken. Alternatively, add crumbled tofu or tempeh bacon.
  • Cheese: Add 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese. Or you can add a dairy-free alternative, like Violife’s Vegan Parmesan Cheese.
  • Vegetables: Instead of Romaine, you can use kale. It’s hearty and has a nice crunch to it too! Just remember to massage the kale with a bit of olive oil first so it’s tender. For added veggies, consider including tomatoes and cucumbers.

Storing the salad and dressing:

  • Store the vegan caesar dressing in an airtight container or mason jar in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Give it a good stir before using.
  • Store the salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 378kcal | Protein: 16.6g | Fat: 18.8g | Saturated Fat: 3.3g | Sodium: 320mg | Potassium: 1554mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 10.4g | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 4mg

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