For those days when you need a lazy go-to salad recipe.
AKA everyday at lunch, basically.
This crunchy mix is super fresh, light and zesty with a creamy (but healthy) dressing. If that doesn’t sound intriguing enough, let me tell you the best part about this re-make of a classic caesar salad. It just so happens to be:
- nut-free (that’s right – no cashews)
- mayo-free (because, gross)
- amazing (had to, ha)
And of course, if you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you would know ALL of my recipes are vegan 🙂 which means this Zesty Kale Cucumber Caesar Salad is flawless in the eyes of anyone following a healthy lifestyle and free of anchovies because they seem to lurk in classic caesar salads, in case you didn’t know (check out my vegan starter guide and cleanse for more vegan info).
Not that I’m any kind of expert or chef in the kitchen, but I’ve thrown together a fair number of salads in my day, especially over the past few years. I’ve even become the designated girl who brings salad to our family parties. Does that mean I’m a real adult now? I sure hope not.
Luckily, I love plants and green stuff. My salad-making skills are really starting to pay off, ya kno? LOL.
So yesterday, my body was craving a salad (isn’t that the best feeling tho?!). My pure laziness was telling me it had to be simple but my tastebuds were telling me it had to be new and tasty. I had curly kale and romaine hearts in the fridge, so I de-stemmed the kale, which is much easier than it sounds, see? Just unzip and tear it into pieces.
Kale is much more appealing once that darn stem is removed. Then I roughly chopped the romaine hearts and into the big bowl the greens went. I was feeling some cucumber too, so I chopped up 2/3 of a fresh cucumber and tossed it in for good crunch and hydration.
I add hemp seeds to literally everything because they are little nutrition powerhouses with plenty of plant protein, omega’s and endless minerals, plus I’m always looking for extra superfood goodness. (I buy this brand of hemp seeds).
Next up was the creamy dressing… and it had to be something other than my usual dressing of: lemon juice, tahini, maple syrup + apple cider vinegar. I’ve never been a caesar salad kind of girl – something about the anchovies literally freaked me out and I knew that the caesar dressing sold in stores and served in restaurants defeated the entire purpose of eating a salad, so I never ordered them.
But why not revamp caesar dressing into my own, much healthier version?! One without anchovies that I could feel good about?!
With a base of hemp seeds (they add the perfect creaminess when blended up) fresh lemon, dijon, garlic and a handful of other ingredients – you have a tangy dressing that pulls the salad together in no time. Adding a handful of sliced green olives at the end was the best touch of saltiness for more depth of flavor. YUM. Go make this right now and add it to your weekly salad menu.
Feel free to add some crumbled tempeh to make it more filling!
And yes, it tastes even better by the second day. Check out my Kale Caesar Pasta Salad too, for a yummy summer dish.
- 3-4 curly kale leaves, de-stemmed and torn into pieces
- 1 bunch of romaine hearts, chopped
- 2/3 cucumber, quartered
- 1/4 cup green olives, sliced
- 1/4 cup hemp seeds
- optional add-ins: capers, pine nuts, crumbled tempeh
- 1/3 cup hemp seeds
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1/2 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup (or agave nectar)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for the salad and mix.
- Using a hand immersion blender or food processor, combine all ingredients for the caesar salad dressing and blend until smooth and creamy. Makes 1 cup worth. Pour dressing over salad (or keep separate if you planned for leftovers).
- If you combined the salad and the dressing, it will keep in the refrigerator for 1-2 days but any longer than that and the romaine will get soggy. If you want to use all kale (which is a heartier green) the salad will keep 3 days.
- If you keep the dressing separate, the salad will last 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Just add the dressing as needed and enjoy!