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An overhead shot of a composed salad in bright, outdoor light. Salad is photographed on a link plate and includes: halved cherry tomatoes, kale, sliced cucumber, sliced avocado, chickpeas, toasted almond "bacon", sliced red onion, and bits of crumbled vegan cheese.
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Vegan Kale Cobb Salad

This vegan kale Cobb salad is a hearty main course with seriously flavourful add-ins like smoky almond "bacon" bits, homemade red wine vinaigrette, chickpeas, avocado, crunchy vegetables, and crumbled vegan cheese.
Cuisine American
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword agave nectar, Almonds, avocado, avocado oil, cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, cucumber, kale, liquid smoke, maple syrup, red onion, red wine vinegar, sliced almonds, smoked paprika, vegan bacon, vegan cheese, vegan worcestershire sauce
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

Vegan Almond “Bacon” Bits

  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons avocado oil
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon tamari soy sauce
  • 1-2 drops liquid smoke (optional)

Red Wine Vinaigrette (makes extra)

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced or grated with a Microplane
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon maple syrup
  • ½ cup avocado or other neutral-tasting oil

Salad

  • 4 cups chopped kale, packed (about 110 grams total)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small red onion, sliced into thin half moons
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small avocado, pitted, peeled & sliced
  • 2 oz vegan cheese of choice, crumbled

Instructions

Make the almond “bacon” bits.

  • Preheat the oven to 300°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place the almonds on top of the parchment. In a small bowl, whisk together the smoked paprika, onion powder, salt, avocado oil, maple syrup, tamari, and liquid smoke (if using). Once combined, pour the mixture over the almonds and toss thoroughly to coat. Spread the coated almonds out in a single layer and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until deep golden brown, stirring the almonds at the halfway mark.
  • Let the almonds cool thoroughly. They will crisp up as they cool. Set aside.

Make the red wine vinaigrette.

  • In a sealable jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the red wine vinegar, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, garlic, thyme, Worcestershire, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, and avocado oil. Close the lid on top and give it a good shake. Taste the dressing and adjust seasoning if necessary. Set aside.

Make the salad.

  • Transfer kale to a large bowl. Pour about half of the dressing on top of the kale and season generously with salt and pepper. Massage the dressing into the kale for at least a minute, or until the leaves feel a bit more tender.
  • Transfer the dressed kale to your serving platter. Top the kale with the almond “bacon” bits, cherry tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, chickpeas, avocado, and vegan cheese. Spoon a bit more dressing over the chopped vegetables, chickpeas, and avocado. Give the top of the salad one more sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

Notes

  • To make this salad nut-free, substitute the almond "bacon" with my coconut "bacon" recipe! Find it here.
  • I use Lord Sandy's vegetarian Worcestershire sauce.
  • My favourite vegan cheese for crumbling onto a salad like this is by VegNature, which is a Canadian brand. 
  • I really recommend massaging the kale with the dressing for at least a minute. It tenderizes the leaves and eliminates some of that bitter flavour that kale has sometimes.