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Vegan Kale Caesar Salad with Cashew Dressing

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  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 40 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups dressing 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


This massaged kale caesar salad features a creamy, umami-packed vegan dressing and homemade croutons. (Adapted from the Compassionate Cuisine)



For the Dressing

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1 tablespoon white miso *(see note below)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (or brown mustard)
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • A generous amount of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup filtered water

For the Croutons + Kale

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 small slices sourdough bread, torn into bite-size bits
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small bunch curly kale, stemmed and torn into bite-size pieces


  1. Start the dressing: Place 1 cup cashews in a blender and add enough boiling water to cover by about an inch. Soak for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Drain the water and add 1/4 cup lemon juice, 2 tablespoons capers, 1 tablespoon miso, 1 tablespoon mustard, 1 small garlic clove, 1/4 teaspoon salt, a few grinds of pepper, and 1 cup filtered water. Blend until completely smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed (the dressing should have a strong tangy-salty flavor – it will mellow when you add the kale).
  3. To make the croutons, heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom. Add the bread and season with 1/4 teaspoon each smoked paprika and garlic powder, and pinches of salt and pepper. Toss to coat and toast, tossing occasionally, until the bread is golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes.
  4. To make the salad, place about half of the kale in a large mixing bowl. Add about 1/2 cup of the dressing and massage the kale for 1 to 2 minutes by squeezing it with your hands until softened and juicy. Incorporate more kale and dressing as it wilts. (Note: this recipe makes enough dressing for 2 salads). Then toss in the croutons. Serve immediately. (Store leftover dressing in the fridge for ~5 days).


If you avoid soy, substitute miso with nutritional yeast and compensate with an extra pinch of salt.


  • Serving Size: 1/6 of the recipe
  • Calories: 240
  • Fat: 13.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 25.8 g
  • Fiber: 2.4 g
  • Protein: 8.1 g