Baby Kale Caesar Salad with Crispy Chickpeas

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Jump to Recipekale salad topped with chickpeas and pumpkin seeds in a white bowl on a wooden background

This baby kale caesar salad is perfect when you need a light yet satisfying salad. You can use this as your main dish, pair it with a bowl of soup, or add it to the side of any meal.

I use baby kale in this recipe but you can also use regular kale, just make sure to chop it up. You could also substitute spinach or romaine lettuce.

What is baby kale?

Baby kale is just young leaves of the kale plant. These leaves are typically more tender. Most kale varieties can be eaten at this stage.

I typically find baby kale in the bagged lettuce area near the spinach. Sometimes you can get it by itself, but it can also be bought in a salad mix.

ingredients such as baby kale, dressing, chickpeas, and pumpkin seeds sitting on a table

How to make crispy chickpeas

Crispy chickpeas are probably one of my favorite salad toppers. It gives a perfect crunch to a salad. Chickpeas are also a great way to add a little protein and fiber to your salad. Just one serving of chickpeas can have 10g of protein.

To make crispy chickpeas, you need to add your drained chickpeas, oil, and salt to a baking sheet. Bake at 425° F for 16-20 minutes. I like to move them around halfway through the cooking process to make sure they all get crispy.

In this recipe, I add a little bit of red chili flakes to the chickpeas when cooking. It gives it a nice heat, but if you don’t like spice, I would remove it.

crispy chickpeas on a baking tray after coming out of the oven

How to make the caesar dressing?

Let’s talk dressing. This is a full recipe of the Vegan Caesar Salad Dressing. You won’t need the whole dressing amount. You only need about 1/4-1/2 cup for this recipe so feel free to cut the recipe in half if you need.

If you make the full recipe, you can store the leftovers in an airtight jar in your fridge for about one week.

Baby Kale Caesar Salad with Crispy Chickpeas

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Dressing (Makes 1 cup)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ⅓ cup (50g) sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup (50g) cashews
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • Juice form ½ lemon
  • ¾ cup water
  • A pinch of salt (about 1/8 tsp)


  • 6oz baby kale
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Optional Toppings: pepitas, crotons, parmesan


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Place the cashews and sunflower seeds in a bowl with hot water. Let soak for 20 minutes.
  3. While those are soaking, prep the chickpeas. Drain a can of chickpeas and add to a baking tray. Drizzle over 2 tbsps of olive oil and 1/2 tsp of salt. Place in oven for 16-20 minutes.
  4. While the chickpeas are in the oven, make the dressing: Add drained sunflower seeds and cashews to the blender and blend for about 30 seconds. Then add the rest of the dressing ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth. About 1 minute.
  5. Add the kale to a bowl with the chickpeas, dressing, and any additional toppings.


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