Vegan Kale Caesar Salad with Garlic Roasted Chickpeas

This post is sponsored by USA Pulses & Pulse Canada.

bowl of vegan kale salad with garlic roasted chickpeas

I don’t know about you, but I don’t always get excited about eating kale.

Sure, it’s a nutritional powerhouse loaded with iron, vitamin K, and antioxidants, but its chewy texture and dark-leafy-green-flavor can sometimes be a bit intimidating. That’s why I’m so excited to share this Vegan Kale Caesar Salad with Garlic Roasted Chickpeas, because it’s making me crave kale on a near-daily basis. 

This untraditional Caesar dressing gets its creaminess from raw tahini, a paste made of ground raw sesame seeds (in most cases, no oil is added). Sesame seeds are naturally high in calcium, and their mild flavor blends seamlessly into this garlicky dressing. Paired with fresh garlic, a splash of lemon juice, and a hefty pinch of salt and pepper, this dressing can be stirred together in minutes and compliments the flavor of raw kale perfectly.

two bowls with kale and salad dressing

Of course, what’s a Caesar salad without croutons?

In this case, we’re giving this salad another nutritional upgrade by using garlic roasted chickpeas as a grain-free swap for bread-based croutons. Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, are packed with plant-based protein and fiber, which can help keep your blood sugar levels stable and aid in weight loss. Chickpeas, like many other pulses, are also thought to help balance cholesterol levels and protect again heart disease, while providing essential nutrients like iron, zinc, folate, and B vitamins.

roasted chickpeas on a pan

Though the chickpeas take 45 minutes to roast to crispy perfection, they take only a few minutes of hands-on preparation so you won’t have to spend too much time in your kitchen. Just toss in a bit of olive oil and garlic, pour them into a pan, and bake! You can make them as soft or as crunchy as you like. (Start checking on them around the 30-minute mark if you don’t want them to be too crisp.)

Half Cup Habit

This is the perfect time to dig-in to this salad, since June 21st kicks off a new challenge called the Half Cup Habit. This 4-week challenge encourages readers to add 1/2 cup serving of pulses (beans, lentils, chickpeas, or dry peas) to their diets three times a week. In other words, you simply have to eat 1 1/2 cups of cooked pulses a week. By participating, users will receive free recipes, pulses cooking tips and more.

Click here to join me in taking the Half-Cup Habit today!

pouring roasted chickpeas over kale salad

5 from 6 votes
Vegan Kale Caesar Salad is made with a dairy-free tahini dressing and topped with Garlic Roasted Croutons in bowl
Vegan Kale Caesar Salad with Garlic Roasted Chickpeas
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
55 mins

This Vegan Kale Caesar Salad is tossed with a creamy garlic tahini dressing, and topped with Roasted Chickpeas as a healthy grain-free crouton alternative. 

Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: vegan kale caesar salad
Servings: 3 servings
Calories: 237 kcal
Author: Megan Gilmore
Garlic Roasted Chickpeas
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one 15-ounce can, drained)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
Kale Caesar Salad
  • 1/4 cup raw tahini
  • 4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch kale (any variety)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. To prepare the Garlic Roasted Chickpeas, toss the cooked chickpeas with olive oil, garlic, and salt in a large bowl, then pour them into a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange them into a single layer, then bake until crisp, about 45 minutes. 

  2. While the chickpeas are baking, prepare the dressing. Stir together the tahini, lemon juice, water, garlic, mustard, salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Stir until smooth and adjust any seasonings as you like.

  3. To assemble the salad, remove the tough stems from the kale leaves and use your hands or a sharp knife to rip the kale into small pieces. Toss the leaves with the dressing and let them marinate in the fridge while you wait for the chickpeas to be done. 

  4. When the chickpeas are done roasting, remove the pan from the oven and let them cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle them generously over the kale salad and serve. Leftovers can be stored separately in an aitigt container in the fridge for up to 4 days. (The chickpeas do soften with time, but you can toast them in the oven again to re-crisp.) 

 Substitution Notes:

  • If you don’t have raw tahini on hand, you might want to try using a mild nut butter such as cashew butter instead.
  • As always, if you make a substitution please leave a comment below letting us know what you tried so we can all benefit from your experience.

For more healthy recipes made with protein-packed pulses, like dry peas, chickpeas, lentils and beans, be sure to visit

bowl of vegan kale salad with roasted chickpeas

Reader Feedback: Do you eat some variety of pulses each week? 

Disclosure: I developed this recipe as part of my ongoing sponsorship with USA Pulses and Pulse Canada. I love having an extra excuse to experiment with pulses!

instant pot lentil curry, vegan flourless black bean brownies, and lentil potluck salad

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Laura ~ Raise Your Garden

Looks fantastic! Really seeking out nutritious options this summer and I am so struggling to loose the baby fat after having my 3rd 6 weeks ago. I’m nursing and want to ensure my new son is getting healthy food and I’m getting little sleep so I know eating healthy food (yes Kale!) is that much more important to fuel my weary bones these days. Thanks!


Made this tonight. I thought I had chickpeas but discovered, too late, that I only had cannellini. It worked very well (though the cannellini beans didn’t need to cook as long)! Whoa, whoa, whoa, this recipe is SO GOOD, and the dressing is simply perfect. I browned a handful small pieces of bread to make croutons for some added crunch. Thank you so much for your amazing and SIMPLE recipes. I think I’ve made 5 by now and they have all been hits. Without fail, they elicit an enthusiastic, “tasty”! from my husband, without him knowing beforehand that they come from you. You’ve made my nights easier + better. 🙂


Looks so good! Question, how much kale is typically in a bunch?

    Megan Gilmore

    I just put one on my food scale and it’s about 1/2 pound. 🙂


      Ok, thank you!

      Joey Moore

      Thank you so much for that! We grow our own kale and it is much larger than store bought. This was tremendously helpful especially since I plan to double the recipe

Sarah Oliver Ladd

I am so impressed with how spot on this dressing is. Great recipe!


Just made this tonight for dinner- delicious! the dressing and chickpeas were perfect (though i did add extra garlic as 2 cloves was not enough for my personal taste)! will definitely be making this again and recommend!


This looks amazing! As its only me at home I like to prep ahead for the week. When I make this can I add the dressing to the kale and then store for a few days or is it better to keep them separate?

    Megan Gilmore

    I think it’s a little better if you keep the dressing and kale separate. The kale is pretty sturdy, but I think it gets a little slimy if it sits in dressing for more than a day or so.


This is an excellent salad.! Creamy and full of flavor. The roasted chickpeas add a wonderful crunch to replace croutons.

Farrah V.

I realized I didn’t have dijon mustard when I started to make this, so I subsituted Herbal Gatherings Mustard, and it was awesome. It gave the dressing a little kick; if you like a little heat in your food, like I do, you will love it. I also added radishes and an avocado. YUM!


Hi there megan
this is a wonderful recipe and i think you’re a fantastic chef (tried other recipes too from your site).
I just wondered though -how many grams of tahini is it that you’re adding. according to my uk 1/4 cup measurement it’s approx 57g, however the calories on my fitness pal for the recipe come out higher per portion. it’s the tahini that seems to be the most calorific.
hope to hear from you.
thanks so much.

    Megan Gilmore

    I’ll have to weigh the tahini the next time I make it! Online nutritional calculators can vary wildly, so it’s possible that could account for differences in calories, too.


Made it for dinner tonight. Even my husband liked it. I didn’t have tahini so I checked on line and used natural peanut butter mixed with sesame oil as a substitute. It was delicious.


Ok so I don’t love kale and the last time I used tahini in a recipe I swore never again but I decided to give this a try and I am OBSESSED!! It all works together so well. I love it even more the next day after the kale has softened in the dressing a bit. I keep the chickpeas separate so the stay crunchy. Such a quick and easy meal I will make over and over again!!!

Monique Jackson

Love your site!!! And so does my family!! They aren’t Vegan like me, yet, but your recipes have garnished lots of enthusiasm to eat like mom! Thank you! Quick question on the Tahini, can I use store bought Tahini, is that what is meant by “Raw Tahini”?

Michelle Masser

I love this recipe. It’s a great flavor combination.


Hi! Can you make the dressing a few days ahead?

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