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Holiday Caesar Salad with Hemp Seed Dressing & Protein Croutons (vegan, gluten-free)

This festive caesar salad is far from ordinary. It's packed with superfoods (i.e., kale, hemp seeds, hemp oil, and pomegranate seeds), holiday flare, and a variety of textures to keep you and your guests coming back bite after bite.
Prep Time1 hr 15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time2 hrs
Servings: 8 -10 as a small side salad
Author: Ashley Melillo | Blissful Basil


For the Protein Croutons

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt

For the Hemp Seed Dressing

  • 1/2 cup Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Manitoba Harvest Hemp Oil
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Salad

  • 1 head romaine, chopped
  • 1 bunch of lacinato or curly kale, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups pomegranate seeds
  • 2 tablespoons Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts


To Make the Protein Croutons

  • Bring the water to a boil in a medium sauce pan.
  • Slowly pour in the chickpea flour while whisking continuously. Whisk in the garlic powder and sea salt, turn off heat, and whisk another minute or until smooth.
  • Stir in the hemp hearts and chopped rosemary.
  • Line a small (9x13) baking pan with parchment paper. Pour the mixture into the pan and use a spatula to spread it evenly across the pan. To make it easier to smooth out, spray both sides of a spatula with cooking spray or olive oil, and gently smooth out the batter.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  • Preheat oven to 425F.
  • Lift the parchment paper out of the pan, and slice the chickpea batter into equally-sized croutons. Spread the croutons out over a pan that has been lined with parchment paper. Drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and toss to coat.
  • Bake for 25-35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes until crispy and golden.

To Make the Dressing

  • Add the hemp hearts, water, lemon juice, hemp oil, nutritional yeast, white wine vinegar, garlic, dijon, sea salt, and black pepper to a high-powered blender. Blend on high for 1-2 minutes or until completely smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To Assemble the Salad

  • Add the romaine and kale to a large bowl, pour the dressing over top, and toss to coat. Top the salad with as many croutons as desired, pomegranate seeds, and hemp hearts.
  • Serve.
  • Refrigerate leftovers.