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A Few Swaps To Turn A Classic Caesar Salad Into A Protein-Packed Meal

Eliza Sullivan
Food Writer By Eliza Sullivan
Food Writer
Eliza Sullivan is a food writer and SEO editor at mindbodygreen. She writes about food, recipes, and nutrition—among other things. She studied journalism at Boston University.
Kale Caesar Salad with Roasted Chickpeas
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We love kale as much as the next person (and, uh, maybe more), but making the perfect kale salad isn't as easy as it sounds. Luckily, there are plenty of amazing recipes to make sure your salad doesn't come out bland or worse, with chewy, tough pieces of kale. In her recent book Gather at Home, Monika Hibbs updates a Caesar salad with kale, homemade dressing, and one of our favorite vegan protein sources.

This recipe uses kale as a base in place of the traditional romaine lettuce, adding bonus vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that the lighter lettuce lacks and making it even easier to get your greens into a meal. Thanks to careful directions from Hibbs, you'll also remember to give your kale the spa treatment: a nice massage and some time to rest before finishing making the salad.

And while it includes the classic Caesar component of croutons, it also tosses roasted chickpeas on top for a bit of extra crunch and a bit of protein, and the best part is they (and the dressing) can be made in advance and stored in the fridge.

Kale Caesar Salad With Roasted Chickpeas & Croutons


Caesar Dressing

  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Roasted Chickpeas

  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon herbes de Provence


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups cubed French bread
  • Sea salt


  • 6 cups kale, ribs removed and chopped
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • ½ to ¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)
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  1. To make the Caesar dressing, add the cheese, lemon juice, mayonnaise, garlic, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper to the bowl of a food processor.
  2. Blend on high for 2 to 3 minutes, slowly pouring the olive oil through the top feed tube until fully incorporated. Pour the dressing into an airtight container or jar and store in the fridge until ready to use.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. To make the roasted chickpeas, drain the chickpeas and rinse them thoroughly under cold running water. Pour them onto a clean tea towel and dry well.
  5. Transfer to a medium bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Add the salt, paprika, and herbes de Provence and toss to coat evenly.
  6. Spread the chickpeas in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown, shaking the pan once or twice during cooking to ensure that they brown evenly. Leftover chickpeas can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
  7. To make the croutons, add the olive oil to a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add the bread and sauté until all the sides are golden brown, then sprinkle with the sea salt.
  8. To assemble the salad, place the chopped kale in a large bowl. Pour the caesar dressing over top. In our house, we like to use about ¾ cup for a salad this size.
  9. Massage the kale with your hands for about 1 minute to help break down and tenderize the greens. Then let the dressed kale sit for 5 minutes to tenderize even further.
  10. Sprinkle in an additional ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese, if you prefer a cheesier salad. Top with the roasted chickpeas and croutons, and toss to combine. To dress up the salad when serving guests, use a vegetable peeler to shave pretty ribbons of Parmesan cheese on top and serve lemon wedges on the side. Serve immediately.


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Some tips from the author: Try serving this salad with grilled chicken for a hearty dinner, or roll it up in a wrap for a fun lunch! Any leftover dressing will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.

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