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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.

bowl of kale caesar salad with a blender full of dressing

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.

the perfect blend cookbook

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

recipes from the perfect blend cookbook

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.

kale caesar salad

Vegan Kale Caesar Salad

5 from 2 votes
This energizing green spin on a classic crowd-pleaser is rich, creamy, and every bit as delicious as its conventional counterpart. Shredding the kale is key to nipping any bitterness in the bud. Loaded with a variety of healthy carbohydrate and protein sources, rather than the usual cashews in a vegan caesar, this is a light but satisfying meal. Hail to the kale! kale! caesar
prep10 mins cook1 min total10 mins


Tempeh Croutons

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (in liquid form), plus more as needed
  • 8 ounces (227g) tempeh, cut into very thin slices

Seed Cheeze

  • 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

Caesar Dressing

  • 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
  • tablespoons white miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon capers , drained
  • teaspoons gluten-free vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 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

Optional Boosters

  • 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


Calories: 798kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 57g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Sodium: 687mg | Potassium: 648mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 11450IU | Vitamin C: 75.9mg | Calcium: 220mg | Iron: 6.1mg
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: kale caesar salad
Per Serving: Calories: 798, Fat: 57g, Carbohydrates: 48g, Fiber: 14g, Protein: 32g

Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite way to eat kale? 



Megan Gilmore leaning on her white countertop.

Megan Gilmore

Hi, I’m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned best-selling cookbook author. I create healthy recipes made with simple ingredients to make your life easier.

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  1. Misprint? It says ‘sesame seeds’ in the recipe but mentions ‘sunflower seeds’ in the recipe description. It must be sunflower seeds, right? That might be what is making it come out to 57 grams of fat per serving! That would be a somewhat unhealthy salad, IMHO.

    i would like to ask, if the calories on each recipe refer to 1 serving, or the whole amount of food.
    I find that preparing my meals in advance will help me stick to my schedhule, so thank you for these beautiful ideas!

    1. Yes, typically the calories are calculated automatically per serving. (I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the nutritional information, though– it’s an automated process, so I don’t actually do the math myself!)

  3. This looks delicious; however, I have a nursling that is allergic to dairy and soy. Is there a good substitute I could use for the white miso paste? I was thinking potentially tahini for the creaminess and some extra salt? Thank you! Also, thank you so much for all of the wonderful dairy free recipes! When I first found out my son was allergic, I was so sad about all of the things that I couldn’t eat, but with the majority of your recipes being dairy/soy free, it has really opened up my eyes to all of the things I CAN eat!

    1. I think I would try just leaving it out– you can always add more salt if needed! I don’t typically keep miso in my fridge, either, so that’s what I would do. 😉

      1. This turned out wonderful even without the Miso. We only had to add the tiniest bit of extra salt.

        Also, the Creamy Kale Salad in your exclusive preorder bonus has turned into a family favorite! Our 3 year old and 2 year old will happily devour a plateful whenever I make it! We have been adding in very thinly sliced brussel sprouts, dried cherries and slivered almonds, it is absolutely delicious!

  4. I love the everyday detox cookbook and use it often. Thanks Megan! This recipe looks amazing and I am printing out the ingredients as we speak. I will share a recipe with you too, if that’s ok. I found that when making any salads with kale- I always cut out the rib, then chop up the Kale into small pieces and massage it with evoo and salt. Takes the bitterness out of the kale, but you have to eat it that day. Thanks again! You are an amazing chef.

    1. This was absolutely delicious. I can’t believe how good the flavor of the dressing was. I found the white miso in the refrigerated section of my local Asian market but I think Whole Foods carries it too. Thanks again! Love it!

    1. Miso is a fermented soy paste– it’s found in natural food stores. I think it adds saltiness and creaminess, so you’ll just have to adjust the dressing to your taste if you decide to leave it out. 🙂

  5. Is it weird that I actually like the taste of kale?! But I will admit, it DOES taste better when properly dressed, like in this salad! It looks fantastic! 😀