I must confess, in creating this recipe I do feel like a bit of a “recipe hipster” (is that a thing?). Vegan Kale Caesar Salad with Coconut Bacon. It reads straight off the menu of a trendy NYC café with mismatched vintage seats, butchers-block-style long tables, recyclable everything, and kombucha on tap.
Two things then. (1) I love the sound of a place like that, hipster or not I would be there downing the kombucha and eating salad bowls everyday (and probably going broke in the process); and (2) this recipe kind of is loosely drawn from my experience of trendy NYC salad bars fitting that description. I went to a couple of really cute places when I visited earlier this year, and had some pretty epic vegan Caesar-style salads. They were incredibly delicious!
So, after a bit of kitchen experimentation, I am now totally pleased with my homemade version and can tick the “Vegan Kale Caesar Salad with Coconut Bacon” off my recipes-to-make list. This one is easy to make, packed full of flavour and also it’s a really versatile recipe. In the directions below, I’ve kept it pretty classic by sticking to a base of roughly shredded cos lettuce and then tossing through some massaged kale, but you could throw in whatever salad veggies you like and use them all up with this delicious vegan Caesar salad dressing.
My recommendation is to pair this salad with your favourite protein and then a side of crispy baked potato or sweet potato for a little nourishing carbohydrate, and create a balanced meal. For protein, to keep it vegan add some roasted chickpeas. Vegetarians, take it up to more of a classic Caesar salad and toss through a couple of sliced hard-boiled eggs. My meat-eaters, this would be so perfect with grilled or roasted chicken or a salmon fillet.
You can find my How to Make Vegan Coconut Bacon without Liquid Smoke in a separate post here. The coconut bacon recipe makes a big batch which you can keep for loads of other meals!
Vegan Kale Caesar Salad with Coconut Bacon
- 400 grams cos lettuce
- 120 grams kale
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 2/3 cup coconut bacon pieces
- 1/4 cup tahini, preferably hulled
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 tbsp capers in vinegar, drained (to taste)
- 1-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (to taste)
- 1-2 cloves garlic (to taste)
- salt and pepper to taste
- extra water or almond milk to thin to desired consistency
- Prepare the massaged kale leaves. Wash the kale, pat dry and then remove tough inner stalks. Roughly tear up the leaves and place in a bowl. Squeeze over juice of the lemon and add the tablespoon of olive oil. Then, use your fingers to massage the lemon and oil into the leaves. Set aside to soak up the flavours and soften while you prep the remainder of the salad.
- Make the dressing. You can do this with or without a food processor. (1) Food processor/blender: Place the tahini, olive oil, capers, garlic (peeled) and cider vinegar in processor. Add a splash of almond milk or water, then blend. Add more liquid until you reach desired consistency, and season with salt and pepper to taste. (2) Without: Finely chop peeled garlic and the capers. Place in a large bowl together with tahini, olive oil and cider vinegar. Add a splash of water/almond milk and whisk vigorously to combine, adding additional liquid as required. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Prepare the rest of the salad by rinsing and roughly chopping or shredding the cos leaves.
- Arrange the salad. Toss cos together with the massaged kale and a generous drizzle of salad dressing. Arrange into serving bowl/bowls, and then sprinkle over nutritional yeast and coconut bacon. Serve.