Kale & Brussels Sprout Caesar Slaw with Pine Nut “Parm”

Created by Laura Wright
5 from 1 vote

Vegan kale and brussels sprout caesar slaw is a hearty and delicious take on the classic that's appropriate for fall and winter entertaining.

Brussels Sprout Caesar Slaw with Kale, Chickpeas & Pine Nut "Parm"
Brussels Sprout Caesar Slaw with Kale, Chickpeas & Pine Nut "Parm"


I tend to not enjoy leafy/water-heavy salads so much this time of year. I just feel cold in that unshakeable damp way after I eat a big romaine salad or something similar in the winter. The same principle goes for smoothies, but I still have them often because some days are just a little too crazy to not blend-a-meal, you know? This brussels sprout Caesar slaw helps me cover my salad bases all year.

I don’t mind some more delicate greens here and there, like arugula or baby spinach, but I prefer them topped with warm roasted veg, some cooked grains, and a little heat-spice worked in. I still almost always get my greens in though–either sautéed with chili and lemon, or roasted for crisp edges, very simply steamed, or sliced really thin with some other vegetables for a tangled-up slaw.

And obviously I know a slaw is technically a cold salad, but it just doesn’t feel as cold. The vegetables suited to this application generally have a lower water content, so that seems to help. But I also enjoy piling a slaw on top of some warm/roasted/sautéed foods often, so the cool aspect seems to fade out as things are inevitably mixed/lightly wilted in the bowl. It helps that I generally serve this kind of thing at room temperature too.

To further my shaved salad-loving point here, I’ve been repeatedly making a winner of a kale slaw from Amy Chaplin’s book since I got it a few months ago. It has fennel, cabbage, a sweet + creamy mustard cider dressing, a few other bits. I always add a shaved apple or pear to it as well. It’s been my go-to for potlucks and other dinner occasions that need some green. Everyone loves it–I think people are more open to different veg if the cuts are small.

But this slaw here. It’s kind of a classic example of what I like to do with food when I’m cooking for people in real time: take a proven flavour profile, tuck in some sort of seasonal element, and re-package it in a way that is surprising but delicious. Caesar dressing is intense, thick and fatty on the palette. A sturdier, more robust green than romaine is a natural pairing for when the days are cold and our bellies need just a little bit more. I wanted to make a slaw with all of those elements and even more cruciferous veggies.

So we have Brussels sprout Caesar slaw with a bit more crunch from the cabbage. The dressing is sunflower seed-based because I appreciate how affordable it is. The seeds’ ability to get surprisingly creamy when soaked and blended up is pretty wild. There’s a touch of maple syrup in the dressing to evoke that sweetness from roasted garlic–because I was sort of in a hurry and maybe didn’t have time to roast a bulb.

I crisped up chickpeas in the oven with some bacon-suggestive ingredients like smoked paprika and tamari. After a quick roast, the chickpeas even have a chewy and meaty texture–just perfect for this. Here’s some more cold weather salad inspiration for you: broccoli and quinoa salad with horseradish, loaded Brussels sprout salad with apples and creamy hemp dressing, and a broccoli rabe and kale harvest salad with cranberry dressing.

Gonna close by keeping it light, breezy, and green today. I finally get my upper kitchen shelves installed this week, and nothing in the world can bring me down from that. Shelfies are in my future! ;) Big hugs, all. xo

Brussels Sprout Caesar Slaw with Kale, Chickpeas & Pine Nut "Parm"
Brussels Sprout Caesar Slaw with Kale, Chickpeas & Pine Nut "Parm"

Kale & Brussels Sprout Caesar Slaw with Pine Nut “Parm”

Vegan kale and brussels sprout caesar slaw is a hearty and delicious take on the classic that's appropriate for fall and winter entertaining.
5 from 1 vote
Kale and Brussels Sprout Caesar Slaw
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

DRESSING

  • ½ cup raw sunflower seeds (soaked for at least 2 hours)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • ¼ teaspoons tamari soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons tahini
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup water, plus extra

PINE NUT "PARM"

  • ½ cup raw pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

SMOKY CHICKPEAS

  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon tamari soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon maple syrup

SALAD

  • 1 large bunch lacinato kale
  • ½ lb brussels sprouts
  • ¼ head of green cabbage

Notes

  • There will be extra dressing, but I’m sure you could find some creative ways to use it up. It totally holds up as a great veggie dip.
  • Also, if you love that super creamy, almost fatty kind of texture in a creamy dressing, feel free to use soaked raw cashews in place of the sunflower seeds.

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
  • Drain the sunflower seeds and place them in an upright blender. Add the lemon juice, nutritional yeast, tamari, tahini, dijon, garlic, olive oil, maple syrup, salt, pepper, and 1/4 cup of water. Blend on high until you have a smooth mixture. Slowly add more water by the teaspoon until you have a dressing that will run off the back of a spoon. Scrape the dressing into a sealable container and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • For the pine nut “parm”, in a food processor or dry ingredient-friendly blender pitcher, combine the pine nuts, sesame seeds, lemon zest, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper. Blend/Pulse until you have a crumbly mixture. Check it for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Set aside.
  • Towel dry the cooked chickpeas and place them on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the smoked paprika, tamari, maple syrup, salt, and pepper over top. Toss chickpeas lightly to coat and slide the tray into the oven. Roast chickpeas until slightly crispy, about 20 minutes, making sure to stir them around once or twice. Set aside.
  • While chickpeas are roasting, slice kale, brussels sprouts, and cabbage into slaw-appropriate shreds. I knifed the kale and mandolin-sliced the brussels sprouts and cabbage. Place all veggie shreds in a large bowl and toss with about half of the caesar dressing, a little extra lemon juice, some salt, and pepper. Sprinkle the pine nut “parm” and smoky chickpeas on top to finish and serve immediately.
14/01/2015 (Last Updated 09/02/2023)
Posted in: autumn, chickpeas, creamy, earthy, gluten free, kale, quick, refined sugar-free, salad, salty, side dish, tahini, vegan, winter

47 comments

Recipe Rating




  • Angelina Perry

    hey! for this recipe can you use hulled sunflower seeds? and if so, do you still have to soak them! please lmk!

    • Laura

      Yes, you want sunflower seeds without the hull! You will soak them for the same amount of time.
      -L

  • Christy

    I have roasted sunflower seeds – will that work?

    • Laura

      Hi Christy,
      They will work, but they will give the dressing a more toasted flavour. You may want to adjust the finished dressing with more lemon juice or perhaps a touch of sweetness to balance it out.
      -L

  • Sara

    Love your recipes! I made this one (along with Veganomicon’s Lemony Roasted Potatoes) for my partner’s family and they declared it the best salad ever. I’ll definitely be making it again soon. Thanks for all the inspiration!

  • Maria Angela Yanita

    I tried your recipe and the dressing sauce just beyond good. Though I will put more garlic since I’m a garlic person. It’s amazing. I think I will use it a lot. Thanks for sharing!

  • Phyllis

    I don’t have lacinato/dino kale. Can I use any kale? How much in ounces would you estimate 2 bunches to be?

    • Laura

      Any type of kale is fine and you want 4 packed cups of sliced kale total.
      -L

  • Sarah | Well and Full

    #ForYourHealth – Dr. Steve Brule ;)

  • Jenny

    Hi Laura –
    Just made the dressing and pine nut crumble for a party this weekend. I was wondering how you store the crumble?
    Thanks!
    Jenny

    • Laura

      Hi Jenny, I just place the pine nut parm in a tupperware and refrigerate it if I have some leftover or I’m prepping it in advance.
      -L

  • Anna

    Hi Laura, This was absolutely delicious!! I subbed the garbanzos for polenta croutons which were out of this world. The vegan cheesiness game is strong here–amazing flavors. What a treat. This definitely gets saved for a remake! Thanks :) Anna

  • David

    Wonderful blog

  • thefolia

    Beautifully described, magnificently captured…happy feasting!

  • elanan

    This is on my must-make list this weekend! Wondering how long the dressing would hold up for if refrigerated, having a batch on hand would make week night salads so much more appealing!

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Elenan, I kept my dressing in the fridge for about 4 days. I had it in a tupperware and put a layer of saran wrap directly onto the surface of the dressing before I put the lid on the container. This was just an extra cautionary kind of move against any skin forming on the surface.
      -L

  • cynthia

    Dude. YES. You’ve just put what I couldn’t articulate into words — it’s the water content! Water-heavy salads just feel so not-right this time of year. There’s something so much more satisfying about hefty, toothsome kale and collards these days. This slaw looks a-mazing — I can just imagine the satisfying crunch and the creaminess of it all. Totally perfect.

  • Lindsey @ hart & garnet

    Couldn’t agree more! All winter long I keep churning out “a warm salad”, or something tossed in “a warm vinaigrette” not realizing how much I’m avoiding the New York chill. I can’t even handle cold condiments these days, put everything at room temperature! My bones are chilly! Great recipe, especially the chickpeas!

  • Hannah Siegmund @ ThisVeganWhimsy

    All I have to say is YUM!! I don’t like a lot of cold salad much in the winter either, but this looks just delicious.

  • kristie {birch and wild}

    The photos drew me in, the ingredients made me super interested in making this salad right now. Damn, you always make me want to up my game.

  • Millie l Add A Little

    This looks so amazing!! I love how hearty and delicious this looks Laura!

  • Yoanna

    Lovely!

  • The VegHog

    This is a very good and healthy looking dish, a salad after my own heart.

    the-veghog.blogspot.co.uk

  • Heather

    Laura, I got so excited about this I changed up the salad I was bringing over to a friend’s house last night to make this! (well, just the parm and dressing because I already had a mega-pack of baby greens in the fridge). I scaled back the number of garlic cloves to 1 large one because I’m sensitive to raw garlic, and used a heaping tablespoon of sesame seeds because somehow (gasp!) I was out of tahini. This may be the only caesar dressing I eat for the rest of my life. Everyone at my friends’ house loved it so much they were mad I didn’t make a bigger salad. I can’t wait to make the full blown recipe for my man this weekend :) Thanks for sharing your talents with the world!

  • Jessica DeMarra

    Love this dish, from the salad to the bowl itself. Sometimes to eat a huge bowl of raw veggies in the dead of winter, you just need a really good dressing and I think this one sounds wonderful. I am jealous of all your beautiful sunlight photos. If I were to take a shot like these the photo would just be bright orange (I am on the sunset side of my building). Just all so lovely!

  • Jenny Griffith

    Your photos are so beautiful! Do you use lightroom or photoshop to edit your photos?

    Jenny

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Jenny, I use Lightroom mostly. And I’ll add that I have VSCO film installed into Lightroom and play around with that quite a bit too. Thanks! :)
      -L

  • Deryn @ Running on Real Food

    Wow, that is one beautiful, stunning salad! It’s going on my must-make-very-soon list! Thank you!!

  • Jodi

    I don’t think there is ever such a thing as too many vegan kale ceasar recipes! And girl, yours looks absolutely divine! Gorgeous as always xx

  • sarah b.

    First time I ever had a kale caesar was at a fun little spot in nyc back in the day, it had roasted chickpeas like this and it was such a memorable one. You are a salad goddess Laura! This looks SO delicious, super inspired to use up my big bag of costco pine nuts now, seriously! Loving that first shot too. Cheers babe!

  • dana

    Major DROOL! WANT WANT WANT!

  • Sarah from Soymilk + Honey

    This looks fantastic! Yes please to anything with kale and brussels sprouts. Beautiful photos!

  • erin {yummy supper}

    Oh my Laura, of course I’m always drawn in by your photos, and today once I read your description of this tasty ceasar/slaw action and I found myself drooling. Seriously lady. Drooling.
    xoxox to you,
    E

  • Caitlin

    i love the way you write about food. this salad looks fabulous. i completely agree with you on salads this time of year. they just don’t fill the warmth that soups, stews, and roasted veggies do.

  • Brian @ Kitchen Domination

    This slaw looks like something I need to get into, particularly if I want to improve my veg game this year. Do you think that substituting ground up raw cashews for the nutritional yeast would work?

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Brian, the nutritional yeast has a really distinctive, cheesy, well-rounded flavour that I don’t think can be replicated by anything other than real-deal cheese. If you can’t get a hold of some nutritional yeast, you might have better luck replacing the it with some chopped up olives instead.
      -L

  • Sini | My Blue&White Kitchen

    Ceasar slaw? Damn, girl! I actually think that it’s hard to find a really good Ceasar salad as they’re often too heavy with dressing that doesn’t even taste that good. So normally I’m quite careful with where I order one. This slaw, however, looks heavenly! What a comforting, good-to-you winter salad. I’ve never eaten nutritional yeast; maybe I should give it a try? Or I use parmesan instead. Anyway, I love this. I seriously do, Laura.

    Hope you have a great week,
    Sini

  • Jessie Snyder | Faring Well

    Goodness these photos are gorgeous. And Scott is going to be ECSTATIC about this recipe, caesar salads are his fave. Thanks for the awesome creativity and spruce you gave an otherwise typically boring recipe to me! I love all the ingredients, especially those sunflower seeds. And congrats on getting shelves! Woot woot!

  • Abby @ The Frosted Vegan

    That parm! (heart eye emojis times 100!) Also, that dressing looks beyond amazing and I could get down with this salad in the winter. There is something about salads with lots of toppings and creamy dressing that makes them feel juuuust a bit hearty, ya dig?

  • Lindsey

    Yes, girl! Salads with bits of warmth and heart dressings/sauces is totally the way to go this time of year! Love how you found such a lovely balance between pine nuts + sesame seeds for your parm, and lemon zest mixed in there sounds so so good! (can’t wait to make it!) And I meant to tell you last week, your new gal sounds like an absolute gem! We’re celebrating a year with our little guy soon, and it’s been the absolute best having him around, so I can just imagine the feelings you’re basking in! xo!

  • Grace

    Cruciferous slaw for the win! The ultimate winter salad right here – everything my body/tastebuds needs/want. ;)

  • valentina | sweet kabocha

    I’va just eaten a lacinato kale salad :) I usually massage it with lemon juice, a pinch of salt and flaxseed oil..
    Btw : I totally agree with you about salads in winter and I will try your recipe for parmesan – I make mine with cashews, wheat germ, nutritional yeast and a pinch of salt ^_^
    xo

  • Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness

    This is dang prettiest slaw that I ever did see!! I love that you used so much different greenery and a little cabbage for the crunch!
    Seriously though. Still oogling these photos!
    Pinned :)

  • lynsey | lynseylovesfood

    Heart-eyes emoji indeed! xo

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    Such a stunning salad!! Craving every piece of this!

  • Kathryn

    Yes! Absolutely with you on the need for a little warmth at this time of year but still wanting to find ways to get enough of those leafy greens into my body. This sounds like the prefect compromise + that pine nut “parm” is totally inspired.