I am going to give you the recipe to this yummy, scrummy, garlicky Vegan Caesar salad with crunchy delicious chickpea croutons. This super delicious vegan salad recipe is an absolute FAVOURITE of mine. In fact, I make it again and again. It first made an appearance back in March 2018, when I wrote the below story about it. (Use the jump to buttons to skip the little story!)
📖My Original Post
..but first I have to tell you little story. (What . You can't wait? Well...the button there's a button right up there that will take you to the recipe)
Anyhooo... Vanessa & I were having a debate about which order to post a series of scrummy new recipes we've created. You see every couple of weeks we get together in The Vegan Larder test kitchen (aka my scruffy little cottage kitchen) and cook, laugh, debate, taste and photograph a whole lot of dishes that we're experimenting with.
Our in house tester (aka Louise's Husband) is used as a taste guinea pig, and he gives us valuable feedback to our dishes. We also sometimes take our creations out into the world and force feed our colleagues, our neighbors and our friends and beg for critiques. Any that have passed the muster then get photographed and we write up the recipe and accompanying notes, the ones that fail get sent back to the kitchen for re-think.
This means we have a selection of recipes pretty much nearly ready to go at any one time, however it also means that sometimes we can't decide which one to go up first. Usually this is decided by the weather, season or by what we have just posted or needs to be posted soon (we like to mix up what we give to you)
However, this time we had two equally delicious recipes, and both had a valid argument to be posted first, and so- I took the debate to Instagram stories and created a (not terribly scientific) poll between this recipe, and a delicious Chocolate & Pistachio Tart.
Guys- we REALLY thought the tart would win.
We were wrong. So very wrong.
75% of you wanted this Vegan Caesar salad with chickpea croutons recipe! - I mean. WOW.
75% of YOU, our readers want SALAD? Not chocolate?
I can't blame you really. I mean this salad is full of the good stuff. Smoked tofu that's been grilled, crunchy chickpea croutons, all backed up with the soft bite that comes with a good cos lettuce. Yum.!
🥗The Dressing (And why it is GREAT!)
The dressing for this vegan Ceasar Salad is just AMAZING!
Creamy from tahini, loads and loads of garlic. The tang of capers.. a hit of lemon..Whew. It's quite probably one of my fave dressings. Ever. It also happens to be naturally oil free, which is amazing!
Don't be scared by the raw garlic in this, it mellows out with the brine of the capers and lemon juice. Usually, a Caesar salad dressing would have anchovies in it, however we use capers for that delicious salty hit. We think they work just as well!
This recipe makes more dressing than you will probably need. But that's a very very good thing. Keep it in a jar in the fridge and use it to jazz up any other salad you can think of. Or dip leftover lettuce leaves in it while standing at the fridge door and scoff. (I did. I have no shame)
🌱Other Key Ingredients:
Chickpea Croutons: These yummy little bombs of flavour are essential for the overall crunch and texture of this salad. And go a long way to help keeping you full and feeling powered up for the rest of your day. They also ensure this recipe is gluten free! By all means use regular garlic croutons if you would like.
Cos or Little Gem Lettuce: This salad needs a robust lettuce leaf to hold up to all the dressing and salad additions. I find cos, or it's little cousin 'little gem' to be the best vehicle for the best scooping up of salad dressing action.
Smoked Tofu: Yummy, smokey tofu that gets cut up and griddled or fryed. The smoky flavour is perfectly balanced with the garlic heavy dressing. We love Taifun smoked tofu the best for here. Or you could make your own : check out how here : How to Tofu! Beginner Level- Basic Crispy Tofu (aka Facon!)
Nutritional Yeast: Traditional Caesar Salad would have parmesan cheese sprinkled all over it. We like to generously sprinkle nutritional yeast (aka Nooch) all over ours for that yummy, savoury, cheesy flavour! - We suggest getting one like this one with added B12 (affiliate link)
About a week in an airtight container
You could use some vegan 'chikn' chunks, or vegan 'facon' instead.
They only take about 20 minutes to make. Or use pre-made croutons from the supermarket instead. I've used garlic flavoured crisp breads when making this salad, which were delicious too.
💚Similar Recipes & Serving Ideas
This delicious vegan caesar salad is a meal in itself. We also like to serve it as a 'canape'. Layer a slice of tofu and some chickpeas onto a scoop shaped lettuce leaf. Drizzle with the dressing (so it forms a pool inside the leaf). Sprinkle some herbs and enjoy!
Or why not try some of our other favourite salads!
If you make our vegan Caesar Salad and love it, make sure to let us know in the comments! And share with all your friends too! x
Vegan Caesar Salad with Chickpea Croutons
For the Dressing
- 3 tbsp tahini
- 3 tbsp capers finely minced/smashed
- 1 tbsp Caper brine the liquid that the capers comes in!
- 2 tbsp lemon juice, (or to taste) around ½ lemon
- ½ tsp maple syrup (or coconut nectar)
- 3 tbsp fresh minced garlic 4-5 cloves
- warm water to thin as needed
For the Croutons
- 375 g cooked chickpeas drained (about 1 can)
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- pinch salt
For the Salad
- 500 g Cos Lettuce (About 1 head) Washed, dried & torn to bite size pieces
- 200 g smoked tofu sliced into 1cm slices (about 1 pack)
- 3-4 tbsp chives and parsley- chopped optional, but pretty and tasty
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
For the Chickpea Croutons
- Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas mark 4
- Drain the chickpeas and tip onto a baking tray
- Drizzle over the oil, paprika and garlic powder. Add a little salt. Mix them all around well so all the chickpeas are covered in the oil & seasoning.
- Bake for 20 mins, then stir and put back in the oven. Bake for a further 15 mins or until crispy. Depending on the day & your oven you might need to bake longer. Keep stirring until the chickpeas are crispy but avoid burning them.
For the Salad Dressing
- In a jar with a lid, mix together all the ingredients and shake well.
- Add a little water and mix- add more if needed so the dressing is creamy, yet pourable.
- Taste the dressing. Add more salt, lemon juice or maple syrup to balance the flavours as needed
For the Salad
- Brush a griddle or fry pan with a tiny bit of oil. Griddle or fry the tofu on each side
- Tear the lettuce. Then on a nice plate arrange the lettuce & tofu. Sprinkle with herbs. Drizzle over the dressing and toss some chickpea 'croutons' over.
- Serve with extra dressing on the side.