This salad is bursting with savory, umami flavors, just like a classic Caesar salad! It has creaminess from a homemade vegan cashew Caesar dressing and makes a well-balanced meal with roasted chickpeas and cashew parmesan.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Add chickpeas to a medium baking sheet. Pat chickpeas dry with a paper towel or kitchen towel. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Use clean hands to combine.
Roast at 400F on the middle oven rack for 30 minutes total. Halfway through the 30 minutes, remove from the oven and stir to promote even cooking. At this point you can add the croutons to the sheet pan. Return to oven and roast until golden and mostly dried out.
Tear or cut bread into 1 inch pieces. You need a total of 3 cups of torn bread. In a small bowl, whisk together the miso and melted vegan butter. Add bread pieces to a large bowl and drizzle the melted butter/miso over the bread, tossing to combine.
Add croutons to the pan with the chickpeas. Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes, or until dried out and golden.
I recommend making this before you make the Caesar dressing because you want your blender to be completely dry. Add the cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder and coarse salt to your blender.
Pulse until the cashews are just broken down. You want them to be very tiny pieces like Parmesan from a jar/can. Set aside.
Cashew Caesar Dressing
Combine the cashews, olive oil, mustard, garlic cloves, nutritional yeast, Worcestershire sauce, salt, water and lemon juice in a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. This will take anywhere from 1-2 minutes depending on the power level of your blender. Set aside.
If using a head of lettuce, rinse individual leaves and slice into bite size pieces. Let air dry before using to prevent the salad from getting soggy.
For one large salad: Add romaine to a large salad bowl. Drizzle with all of the Caesar dressing, tossing to coat. Add the croutons, chickpeas and a sprinkle of the cashew Parmesan. Garnish each serving with additional cashew parm and a lemon wedge.
For individual salads: Assemble salads as you are ready to eat them. Garnish each with a lemon wedge. See below for storage instructions for individual components.
Cashews: Soaking the cashews softens them and makes them easier to blend. Soak cashews in very hot water from a kettle for an hour or in cool water overnight or up to 24 hours. The longer they are soaked the easier they will be to blend.
Leftovers: I recommend assembling the salads as you are ready to eat them to prevent the lettuce from getting soggy. The dressing keeps for up to a week. The cashew parm keeps for up to 2 weeks and crispy chickpeas and croutons are best if eaten in 3-4 days. Store the parm, chickpeas and croutons at room temp.
Time-saving tips: Use pre-cut romaine lettuce and store bought croutons to cut down on time. Crispy chickpeas and cashew dressing can be made 1-2 days in advance of serving. Cashew Parmesan can be made 3-4 days in advance.