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Creamy Kale Caesar with Chickpea Croutons

Creamy Kale Caesar with Chickpea Croutons

  • Author: Emily Wilson
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes (includes roasting chickpeas)
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Cuisine: American


Classic gets an upgrade with my recipe for kale Caesar salad with crispy chickpeas and creamy anchovy dressing. All your favorite flavors of the original taken to the next level!



Chickpea Croutons:

  • 1 14-ounce can of chickpeas, strained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 2 egg yolks, large
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, about 2 lemons
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 46 anchovies, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra light tasting olive oil*


  • 810 cups of kale leaves, about 1 large bunch or 2 medium
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Additional anchovies filets for garnishing each salad, if desired


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Strain and rinse the chickpeas. Arrange them in a single layer on a plate lined with paper towels. Place more towels on top and gently rub to dry. Pick away any of the skins that come loose.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, onion powder and salt. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Transfer the chickpeas to the prepared sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with spiced cheese mixture and toss to coat evenly.
  4. Place chickpeas in the preheated oven and bake until golden and crisp. This should take about 30-40 minutes, but begin checking after about 25 minutes and keep a close watch. Remove from oven and let cool before adding to the salad.
  5. For the dressing, place the egg yolks, garlic, anchovy, Dijon, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a blender. Turn blender on high to mince the garlic and anchovy filets. With the motor running, begin adding the oil drop by drop. You need to add the oil slowly at first to start building the emulsion. So, drop….drop….drop.drop.drop…it will probably feel tedious, unless you are a patient person (unlike myself!). After the emulsion begins to take hold start to drizzle in a thin stream. Then, eventually, pour more quickly. Once all the oil is combined, you should have a thick, airy, mayo-like sauce. Basically, an aioli. Give it a taste and check seasoning. Add more salt and pepper, lemon juice or mustard if you want a more pronounced flavor, or feel free to add more anchovy. Blend quickly to incorporate any additional ingredients.
  6. To prep the salad, tear the kale leaves off the stems and roughly chop. I like bite size lettuce! Toss with some of the anchovy aioli dressing. If dressing is really thick, you can thin it out with a little water or more lemon juice. Once leaves are well coated, toss with Parmesan cheese and scatter the crispy chickpeas over the top. Finish with a few anchovy filets, if desired.


*I enjoy light tasting olive oil for making mayonnaise type sauces because of it’s very mild taste, however, in this case because we are making a dressing for salad, extra virgin olive oil also works well.