Vegan kale and brussels sprout caesar slaw is a hearty and delicious take on the classic that’s appropriate for fall and winter entertaining.
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
Kale & Brussels Sprout Caesar Slaw with Pine Nut “Parm”
- 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
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon tamari soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon maple syrup
- 1 large bunch lacinato kale
- ½ lb brussels sprouts
- ¼ head of green cabbage
- 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.
- 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.