Kale Caesar Salad with Qunoa

Kale Caesar Salad with Quinoa

I love this salad because it lasts for days. I can make it ahead to eat for lunches during the week or make it ahead of an event. The kale holds up well to the dressing and actually tastes better as it marinades over time. If you intend for the salad to last be sure to use very fresh kale. The addition of the quinoa adds protein to the meal and gives the salad a nice texture.

This recipe has gluten-free bread croutons and air-fried or roasted chickpeas. It is also or alternatively delicious with air-fried or roasted potato “croutons”.

kale Ceasar salad ingredients
kale Caesar salad ingredients

With the recent popularity of air-fryers and given how affordable they are I recently purchased one. I had my doubts about how I would like it or how often I would use it. I’m surprised to admit that I love it so much that it now occupies a permanent place on our countertop. Both Brian and I use it nearly every day. We both like to use it over using the oven to roast things like potatoes and chickpeas because it is faster than the oven and there is no preheating involved. We are experiencing a heat wave here in Northern California right now and with triple digit temperatures the last thing I want to do is heat up our oven. I like the way the air-fryer browns smaller foods with or without oil. Another reason that we use the air-fryer so much is because we both like reheating leftovers in it. Foods like pizza, lasagna, scalloped potatoes, muffins and breads heat up nicely without getting squishy as the microwave tend to do to these foods.

This kale version of the classic Caesar salad is dairy-free, gluten-free and you don’t need to give up any flavor. Enjoy!

Kale Caesar Salad with Quinoa

4 from 11 votes
Recipe by Jackie’s Veggie Kitchen Course: Lunch, DinnerDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (I added 1 Tbs. Earth Balance Vegan Butter to the pot while cooking)

  • 2 slices gluten-free bread

  • 2 Tbs. garlic infused oil or olive oil with 1 clove crushed garlic (divided)

  • 1 15oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

  • 6 cups kale

  • 1 cup chopped freshly picked tomatoes or cherry tomatoes cut in half

  • 1/4 cup Sunflower seed butter

  • 1/2 cup White wine vinegar

  • 1/3 cup plant milk (I like Oatly Creamer or Oatly full fat Milk)

  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard

  • 2-3 cloves garlic

  • salt and pepper


  • Cool quinoa to just warm.
  • Brown chickpeas:
    Drain chickpeas and rinse. Place chickpeas in a small bowl. Add 1 Tbs. of the garlic oil to the bowl with 1/2 tsp. salt. Toss chickpeas until evenly coated with oil. Place chickpeas into basket of air-fryer and brown at 400 degrees until just beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. You will want to shake the air-fryer basket at about 5 minutes. (Or place chickpeas onto a cookie sheet and brown in a 400 degree oven until just brown or 15 minutes. Turn the chickpeas at half way through.) Set chickpeas aside when browned.
  • Make Croutons:
    Brush bread on both sides with garlic oil. Cut bread into 1/4″ squares. Place croutons into a medium-hot skillet. Brown on all sides using a fork or tongs to turn them. Season with salt and smoked paprika to taste (optional). Set aside
  • Prepare Kale Salad:
    Remove the center stock from the Kale with a sharp knife and discard. Cut the Kale into bite sized pieces. Place kale in a salad bowl and then massage the Kale until the pieces have softened slightly. I usually massage for about 30 seconds or so.
    Cut the tomatoes into 1/4 inch square pieces. If using cherry tomatoes cut them in half.
    Combine cooked quinoa, tomatoes and chickpeas in bowl with Kale.
  • Make Caesar Dressing:
    In blender combine sunflower seed butter, vinegar, plant milk, mustard, and garlic process until mixed well, about 30 seconds. Salt to taste, blend again.
  • Assemble and Serve:
    Pour about 1/2 of the dressing over the kale salad; toss to coat. Salt and Pepper salad to taste. Top with croutons and serve with remaining dressing on the side.


  • Parmesan cheese (vegan or dairy according to diet preference) is delicious added to the salad prior to dressing.
  • For added protein or as an alternative to the chickpeas try adding pan-fried tempeh croutons (brown all sides in olive oil, lemon and salt)

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  1. This salad is so so good! I absolutely love the dressing, and the crunch is amazing! Will be sharing this recipe with friends – thank you Jackie!

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