Kale Caesar is the salad to make for your friend who says she hates kale. The creamy, cheesy dressing is enough to get even an avowed kale hater to finish her plate. I almost died from excitement when I first tasted this Caesar dressing made from cauliflower. It is so rich and decadent, even kale salad critics will approve.
For the Caesar dressing: Bring an inch of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Place the florets in a steamer basket set over the boiling water. Cover and steam for about 5 to 7 minutes, until they're easily pierced with a fork.
In a high-powdered blender, combine the cooked cauliflower with the Parmesan, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper. Blend on high speed for 2 minutes, until the dressing is completely smooth and combined. If needed, add water, about 2 to 3 tablespoons at a time, until the dressing is pourable. The dressing will be warm because of the steamed cauliflower. Transfer the dressing to an airtight container and refrigerate for an hour.
While the dressing is chilling, make the croutons: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment.
In a large bowl, combine the chickpeas with the olive oil, garlic powder, smoked paprika and salt. Toss until coated. Spread the chickpeas out on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes until they are golden brown and crispy. Check on the chickpeas after 10 minutes and shake the pan to toss or stir to ensure even cooking.
For the salad: Place the chopped kale in a large bowl. Drizzle with the Caesar dressing and toss until the kale leaves are completely coated. Top with the chickpea croutons and shaved Parmesan. Enjoy immediately.
Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.