Creamy Kale Caesar Salad & Cashew Croutons

I'm not new to the world of a kale caesar salad. In fact I've been making them for years now. I love the tangy-ness of the anchovies and lemon along with tons of garlic and sea salt. But this version is anchovy free ❤️ 👏🏼. And instead of an oil base it's creamy from the addition of cashews [of course]. We get the tangy flavor from capers and apple cider vinegar. But the key to this dressing: toasted nutrition yeast. 

Creamy Vegan Kale Caesar Style Salad. Cashew Croutons & Crispy Leeks.

I even added crispy leeks on top as well as "garlicy" cashew croutons. Talk about gourmet! This salad will wow those non vegans as well. It's a very unique and easy to make salad. The addition of kale to the romaine not only adds a variety of texture but it adds a boost of nutrition as well. 

Creamy Kale Caesar Salad with Cashew Croutons and Crispy Leeks. Recipe and photos via PureKitchen Blog
Creamy Kale Caesar Salad with Cashew Croutons and Crispy Leeks. Recipe and photos via PureKitchen Blog

This salad has loads of protein, healthy fats and cheesy, creamy flavors without the use of dairy, eggs, mayonnaise or anchovies. 

In my opinion romaine lettuce doesn't get enough nutritional credit. It's full of dietary fiber, manganese, potassium, copper, iron and vitamin C and is a good source of vitamin B2, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B6, phosphorus, chromium, magnesium, calcium and pantothenic acid. Phew. That's a long list. 

Kale is a super food and on trend. I almost feel like it's almost pointless to list the health benefits at this point in its career 😜. But here goes...in addition to it also being high in fiber, it has zero fat. One cup of kale has only 36 calories. It is great for aiding in digestion and elimination. It's also filled with so many nutrients, vitamins, folate, magnesium and more. It's dark green leaves are proof of its intense nutrient content. 

Creamy Kale Caesar Salad with Cashew Croutons and Crispy Leeks. Recipe and photos via PureKitchen Blog

Just look at that photo! I swear that salad just screams healthy! Am I right?

Creamy Kale Caesar Salad with Cashew Croutons and Crispy Leeks. Recipe and photos via PureKitchen Blog

Lately I have heard a lot of my friends and colleagues who are avid meat eaters say things like "beans bloat me" or "raw veggies make me feel bloated" or "I can't eat too much salad or I get super bloated". And that makes total sense. Sometimes I think that many people aren't used to eating so much fiber. I also don't think that people are used to going number 2 once or twice a day. ICK!!! I know. But I just thought that I had to talk about this today. 

Meat has no fiber and either does cheese. A lot of my high protein or even Paleo friends (paleo friends tend to eat a lot of veggies so I hesitate to mention them) might have low bloat stomachs but is that good for us? Are they thinking they are "bloated" or is this just a reaction to having more fiber in the diet? I'm open to a discussion because I don't have the answer, but this is the first thing that comes to mind. No pooping often is not a good thing, that's one thing I learned while studying nutrition. 

But on the other hand I don't have conversation with friends about their 💩 everyday so I can't really say for sure that this is the case. Thoughts? I bet you have officially lost your appetite now. 

But in case you do get our appetite back soon or you do feel like maybe you need more fiber in your diet - the recipe for my kale caesar is below.  

Creamy Kale Caesar Salad with Cashew Croutons and Crispy Leeks. Recipe and photos via PureKitchen Blog

Creamy Kale Caesar Salad

Yields approx 2 dinner salads

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

  • 2 x cookie sheet or baking pan
  • Blender
  • Salad Bowl
  • Small Frying Pan

DRESSING

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for an hour
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp capers
  • 1 Tbsp (vegan) worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

DIRECTIONS

  1. On a stovetop in a small frying pan add nutritional yeast. Heat on medium. Stir so that it doesn't burn. Get it nice and toasty and fragrant. 
  2. Blend nutritional yeast and all the rest of the ingredients up in a high speed blender until creamy and smooth. 
  3. Set aside. 

CROUTONS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt 
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F.
  2. On a baking sheet add cashews, oil, sea salt and spices. Using your hands coat them well. 
  3. Bake for about 10-12 minutes until toasted. Set aside and let cool.  
  4. Leave oven on for the leeks. 

"FRIED LEEKS"

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups chopped or thinly sliced leeks 
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt 
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp butter (vegan butter)
  • 1 clove garlic

DIRECTIONS

  1. On a baking sheet add all of the ingredients. Using your hands coat them well. 
  2. Bake for about 10-12 minutes until browned toasted. 
  3. Keep checking on them so they don't burn. Toss them if they seem to be cooking unevenly. 
  4. Set aside and let cool.  

SALAD ARRANGEMENT

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups kale (1 head will be fine), thinly sliced/chopped
  • 9 oz (about 5 cups) baby romaine lettuce, thinly/finely chopped

DIRECTIONS

  1. De-stem the kale. Chop into super thin strips. 
  2. Thinly chop the romaine into pieces. Combine in a bowl with kale. 
  3. Top lettuce with dressing, croutons and crispy leeks. 
  4. Serve immediately. 
  5. Salt and pepper to taste if need be. 
Creamy Kale Caesar Salad with Cashew Croutons and Crispy Leeks. Recipe and photos via PureKitchen Blog

Recipe Inspiration From: Oh She Glows