At my company’s Christmas dinner this year, a co-worker asked me candidly, “Does anyone REALLY like the taste of kale? Or do you just tolerate it because it’s healthy?” It’s true that kale can be a bit of an acquired taste, especially if you don’t dress it properly. Thats why I’m excited to share this vegan kale caesar salad recipe.
It comes from my friend Tess’s new book, The Perfect Blend, which is out in book stores now. All gluten-free and vegan, Tess (a.k.a. “The Blender Girl”) separates her recipes into 12 chapters, all categorized by health goals. For example, you can make recipes to gain energy, optimize protein intake, boost immunity, lose weight, lower carbs, combine foods for optimal digestion, and more.
Featuring an assortment of smoothies, sides, entrees, and desserts, The Perfect Blend also serves as a nutritional guide, arming you with information about the health benefits of each recipe. More of Tess’s tempting recipes include:
- Lick-Your-Plate Lasagna
- Nosh-On-‘Em Nachos
- Carrot Cake Crush
- Pistachio Ice Cream
- BBQ Mushroom & Bean Burgers
- Life-Changing Chocolate Pudding
I hope you’ll enjoy this new Kale Caesar recipe below. Unlike most creamy vegan dressings, I love that this one doesn’t use cashews as the base– instead it uses a combination of sunflower seeds, pine nuts, and miso for creaminess. As always, feel free to modify, leaving out the tempeh croutons or adding in your favorite optional boosters, as desired.
Vegan Kale Caesar Salad
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil (in liquid form), plus more as needed
- 8 ounces (227g) tempeh, cut into very thin slices
- ½ cup (130g) hulled raw sesame seeds
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast , plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder , plus more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon natural salt , plus more to taste
- ½ cup (120ml) filtered water
- ½ cup (120ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 ⁄4 cup (60ml) fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
- 1 ⁄4 cup (40g) raw pine nuts, soaked
- 1 ⁄4 cup (40g) raw sunflower seeds, soaked
- 1½ tablespoons white miso paste
- 1 tablespoon capers , drained
- 1½ teaspoons gluten-free vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
- ½ teaspoon natural salt , plus more to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 10 cups (500g) romaine hearts cut into ribbons (about 5 hearts)
- 5 cups (150g) lacinato kale cut into ribbons (1 large bunch, stalks removed)
- 2 cups (320g) shelled raw edamame
- 2 cups (160g) shaved brussels sprouts 1 cup (130g) raw sprouted watermelon seeds 1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced
- To make the croutons, heat the coconut oil in a very large skillet over medium heat and add the tempeh pieces, arranging them in one layer without crowding. You may have to do this in two batches. Fry, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Turn the pieces over and brown the other side, about 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels, blotting with additional paper towels. Crumble into small pieces.
- To make the seed cheeze, throw the seed cheeze ingredients into a food processor and process until the seeds have broken up and the texture resembles Parmesan cheese. Tweak the nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and salt to taste.
- To make the dressing, throw all of the dressing ingredients into your blender and blast on high for about 1 minute, until smooth and creamy. Tweak the lemon juice and salt to taste.
- In a large salad bowl, mix together the romaine lettuce, kale, edamame, the brussels sprout and watermelon seed boosters, and the dressing. Toss in the croutons and three-quarters of the seed cheeze. Sprinkle with the remaining seed cheeze and top with slices of avocado.
Reprinted with permission from The Perfect Blend, copyright 2016 Tess Masters. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Photography copyright 2016 by Anson Smart
Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite way to eat kale?