Kale Caesar with Roast Chickpeas

This kale Caesar salad with roasted chickpeas is a healthy riff on the classic Caesar salad. Kale and romaine are tossed with a creamy homemade dressing and topped with crunchy spiced chickpeas.

Two plates topped with kale caesar salad with roasted chickpeas on top and in a dish on the side.

This vegetarian take on a classic salad packs a great crunch without traditional croutons, has a tasty umami flavor, and is made without dairy. Add grilled chicken if you are not vegetarian and would like an extra protein punch.–Brittany Williams

Kale Caesar with Roasted Chickpeas

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 20 M
  • 40 M
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 1 reviews
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  • For the chickpea croutons
  • For the Caesar dressing
  • For the salad


Make the chickpea croutons

If using an air fryer, place the chickpeas in a 5.3-quart air-fryer basket and bake at 400°F (202°C) for 10 minutes. [If your air fryer can only heat to 390°F (198°C), that’s ok. It will still work.]

If using the oven method, preheat the oven to 400°F (202°C). Scatter the chickpeas on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

Tester tip: If using canned chickpeas, double the spice mixture and use the entire can of chickpeas. Any leftovers can be stashed at room temperature and noshed as a snack…though we seriously doubt there will be any left.

In a medium bowl, toss the chickpeas with the oil, salt, garlic powder, and chili powder. Stir well to combine.

If using an air fryer, return the chickpeas to the air-fryer basket and bake at 300°F (150°C) for 10 minutes. Let cool completely.

If using the oven method, return the chickpeas to the rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden and crunchy, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool completely.

Make the Caesar dressing

In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, oil, lemon juice, if using, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Whisk until smooth.

Make the salad

In a large bowl, toss together the kale and romaine. Add the dressing and hemp hearts, if using, and toss to combine.

Top with the crunchy chickpeas and serve immediately.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

We loved everything about this salad! We don’t often think of adding kale to our Caesar salads, but what a great addition it makes alongside romaine. The dressing was super quick to whip up and had that wonderfully characteristic umami flavor we expect in Caesar dressings. And the crunchy air fryer chickpeas propelled this salad into a class all its own. We didn’t expect to be blown away by this very “untraditional” take on a Caesar salad, but it’s become one of those recipes we can’t stop thinking about!

I’ve roasted chickpeas in the oven a number of times, but they just never got as crunchy as what the air fryer produced. I’m very sad I didn’t think to use it before. My Philips Air Fryer doesn't have a setting for 400°F (200°C), so I used 390°F (198°C) for the first 10 minutes, tossed them in the oil and seasonings, and then 300°F (150°C) for the second 10 minutes. I poured them out onto a foil lined sheet pan to cool while I readied the rest of the salad and had to stop myself from nibbling on those very tasty and crunchy chickpeas. So good!

We definitely didn’t miss the Parmesan shavings or the traditional croutons in this “Caesar” salad and I expect we’ll be deviating from the old classic more often. I didn't use the hemp hearts.

P.S. The leftover chickpeas were still crunchy and delicious the next day. I’m now inspired to do more with my air fryer to see what else I’ve been missing!

I loved the simplicity of this recipe, and even more so the tricks it contains that I will definitely be carrying over to other recipes. The method of first dry roasting (or air frying) the chickpeas before adding olive oil and spices results in crispy, toasty chickpeas. They tasted great with the salad, but I'll likely be using the method for a roasted chickpea snack.

I also loved the simple Caesar dressing in this recipe. I traditionally have avoided making Caesar myself because I never wanted to mess with anchovies, but the Worcestershire brings some great umami flavor and makes for a dressing that I will definitely be whipping up in the future.

When originally making the recipe, I was tempted to add more spices to the chickpeas while roasting, but in the end was pleasantly surprised with the spice level of the resulting chickpea croutons.


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  1. Made this for supper tonight, yummy! Served with a blackened chicken breast. I am calorie counting so am very aware of what I am eating these days. I found the salad super filling and so delicious! Thanks

    1. You’re welcome, Katie! We’re so pleased that you enjoyed it. Thank you for taking the time to let us know.

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