Kale & Crispy Chickpea Caesar Salad

I realize most people don’t read ‘kale salad’ and jump for joy. You aren’t alone because I normally wouldn’t either. But that’s only if it’s an ordinary kale salad and this kale & crispy chickpea caesar salad is anything but ordinary.

It has all of the elements of a really great salad: hearty greens that don’t get soggy, creamy dressing that’s a total flavor explosion, crispy, salty ‘croutons’ and cheese.

Yes, there’s cheese.

Kale & Crispy Chickpea Caesar Salad

Let’s start by addressing the kale. It can be a bit bitter when prepared certain ways, and it can be a bit too earthy and chewy when eaten raw.

But, when it’s prepared in ways that help minimize that trait, it can actually be quite enjoyable.

And it’s absolutely packed with brain-healthy nutrients (which is why it’s featured in my MIND diet cookbook).

To prepare the kale for a salad, I recommend giving it a rough chop, tossing and massaging it in olive oil and letting it sit for a few minutes.

This will cut down on the bitterness and make the texture more palatable. Now it’s ready to be dressed and topped.

Next, we’ll discuss the chickpeas. Holy chickpeas, you guys.

I’ve always loved them, but when they go in the oven for a 30 minute heat bath, they become roasty toasty and SO SUPER CRUNCHY.

And before they go in the oven, they just need to be patted dry with paper towel, coated in olive oil and sprinkled with salt and voila! The coolest and crispiest croutons ever.

Kale & Crispy Chickpeas and Caesar Dressing in bowls

Now for the dressing. I am so passionate about this dressing that I cannot possibly be dramatic enough to get my point across. I need to stand on the mountaintop and shout it so every single person can hear me.

For those of you who are traditionalists when it comes to Caesar salad, you may want to skip this part because it’s not traditional. But it’s SO GOOD and I don’t feel bad about it.

There’s olive oil (not usually an ingredient in Caesar dressing), mayonnaise (need that creaminess but only a little bit), so much garlic, so much black pepper, so much fresh Parmesan, a little squeeze of anchovy paste (don’t be scared), fresh lemon zest and juice and a dribble of Worcestershire sauce.

Oh, and a bit of salt and a tiny pinch of sugar to balance everything out. Whisk or shake it up and let it sit in the fridge for an hour and OH MY GAWD things get real. Just trust me and give it a try. You’ll wonder why we haven’t bottled this stuff.

So the last thing is putting it all together. The massaged kale gets a dip in the freaking fantastic Caesar dressing and is topped with the impossibly crispy chickpeas and topped with freshly shaved Parm.

This Kale & Crispy Chickpea Caesar Salad may be non-traditional, but it’s worth fighting for.

Now THIS is how you Caesar salad

Caesar salad on a white plate

Kale & Crispy Chickpea Caesar Salad

Kale & Crispy Chickpea Caesar Salad

A massaged kale salad with crispy roasted chickpeas and THE BEST Caesar dressing.

  • Author: Julie Andrews
  • Prep Time: 10-15 mins
  • Cook Time: 30-35 mins
  • Total Time: 40-50 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: No-Cook, Stove-Top
  • Cuisine: American



Crispy Chickpeas:

  • 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt

 Caesar Dressing:

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • ½ anchovy fillet, finely minced or 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest and juice
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Kale Salad:

  • 1 large bunch lacinato kale, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Lay paper towels out on a cutting board. Pour chickpeas onto the paper towels and pay them dry. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add olive oil and salt and toss to coat. Transfer mixture to a baking sheet and spread chickpeas in one even layer. Roast 30-35 minutes or until crispy, stirring halfway through. Remove and let cool.
  3. In the same bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Add kale and stir to thoroughly coat with dressing.
  4. Optional step: Place kale in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Massage the kale until it’s all coated with the olive oil. Let sit 5 minutes.
  5. When ready to serve, distribute dressed kale to large bowls and top with crispy chickpeas and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


  • Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
  • Calories: 326
  • Sugar: 8g
  • Sodium: 424mg
  • Fat: 29g
  • Saturated Fat: 5g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 24g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 12g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 6g
  • Cholesterol: 16mg

Keywords: easy, no cook, quick, healthy, simple, best, tasty

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