June 25, 2024

Cashew Kale Caesar

It’s time to give the Caesar salad a facelift.

Let’s be real for a second: the Caesar salad has been overplayed, so much so that the “new” ways to spruce it up involve transforming it into a pasta salad or using it to smother a fried chicken cutlet. This cashew kale Caesar completely does a 180 on the traditional Caesar to deliver an ultra-cheesy, super nutty, crunchy, and sweet version that might just be better. The secret? Gouda cheese. Serve this salad on the side of your favorite meal or enjoy it as a satisfying main dish; this recipe is an absolute crowd-pleaser.

cashew kale Caesar salad


  • Kale – This recipe calls for 2 types of kale:
    • Dino Kale – Also known as Lacinato Kale. This variety gets its nickname from its dark, bumpy leaves that almost look like dinosaur skin. It has a slightly earthier flavor and is heartier than the more common curly kale. Just a tip: make sure you wash this one well. I cannot tell you how many times I have found little friends, mostly ladybugs, hiding in the grooves of the leaves.
    • Curly Kale – The most common type of kale, which should be available in any supermarket.
  • Aged Gouda – If your only experience with Gouda thus far has been the super melty smoked variety, you are missing out. Let me introduce you to aged Gouda, one of my all-time favorite cheeses. Aged Gouda is exactly what it sounds like: Gouda that has been maturing for an extended period, either several months or even years. The result is a nutty, buttery cheese with notes of caramel. Not to mention, the aging process allows the cheese to develop crystalline bits. These bits give it a great crunchy texture, which, in my opinion, is the best part.

    My recommendation for this recipe is the Artikaas Vintage Lot 18. It is absolutely fantastic, and don’t just trust me on it; this cheese has won several awards, with the most recent being first-runner up at the World Championship Cheese Contest. If you are having trouble finding an aged Gouda, you can buy Artikaas Vintage Lot 18 HERE!
  • Chickpeas
  • Candied Cashews – In typical TBA fashion I made my own candied cashews for this recipe. You absolutely do not need to do this, buy candied cashews. It will save you a ton of time and are just as good.
  • Apples – Any sweet/tart apple works in this salad.


Great news! We are not starting this dressing from eggs. This Gouda Caesar dressing is a quick and easy recipe that you can make even if you aren’t making the salad.

  • Mayo
  • Anchovies – You simply need one anchovy to give it that iconic funky Caesar flavor. If you need more recipes to use up the rest of the tin, search ‘anchovies’ in the search bar for additional recipes. A few that I recommend are Lemon Anchovy Pizza, Spicy Aglio e Olio, or Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe— dishes that would pair nicely with this salad.
  • Garlic – Fresh only!
  • Lemon Juice – Fresh only!
  • Aged Gouda – You are going to use the same Gouda you used in the salad. In total you need approx. 5-6 oz of cheese.
Artikaas award winning Vintage Lot 18



Make the Dressing – In a bullet or smoothie blender, add the mayo, anchovy, garlic clove, aged Gouda, lemon juice, and olive oil. Blend until smooth. Season with a pinch of salt to taste if necessary. Both the anchovy and Gouda are salty, so you may not need to add salt. Feel free to thin out the dressing with 1-2 tbsp of water. Place the dressing in an airtight container in the fridge until you are ready to use it.


Prep + Massage the Kale – Ah, my number one tip to convince kale haters that it isn’t as bad as they think it is. Kale that is going to be consumed raw— that’s right, no need to do this if you are cooking it— should be massaged for about a minute. Massaging the kale softens it enough so you aren’t fighting with the leafy greens in your mouth.

Before you bring it to the spa, remove the leaves from the stems. This can easily be done without any special hacks or tools. Simply detach the leaves at the base of the stem, then pinch the exposed stem and, with a quick motion, pull down. The tight grip of your fingers on the stem will pull away the leaves. Discard the stems.

Chop the kale and place it into a large salad bowl. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt to the kale, and with clean hands, massage it, making sure you are addressing all the leaves. You only need to do this for about 2 minutes, or until the kale is a little less stiff and crunchy.

A lot of sources suggest massaging kale with oil, and while that does work, if you want the dressing to adhere to the leaves, lemon juice is the better option here.

a bowl of cashew kale Caesar salad topped with crispy chickpeas, candied cashews and apples.


Make the Chickpeas – Drain a can of chickpeas and rinse them off. The recipe only calls for 1/2 can, but you can make the whole can and use the remaining chickpeas in another recipe or enjoy them as a snack. Thoroughly dry the chickpeas with a clean towel or paper towel, then drizzle a healthy amount of olive oil and a generous pinch of salt. Mix to coat.

If you have a basket-style air fryer, use it. Making these crispy chickpeas in the air fryer not only cuts down the cooking time by 2/3 but also makes them crisper. Not to mention they stay crispy longer. Preheat the air fryer to 390°F (about 3 minutes). Place the chickpeas in the basket and close it. After 5 minutes, give the basket a toss and cook for another 5 minutes, or until they are super crispy. The amount of chickpeas and the size of your air fryer will dictate the exact cooking time.

To make these chickpeas in the oven, place the seasoned chickpeas on a sheet tray and cook in a 400°F oven for 25-30 minutes. Like I said… the air fryer is your best friend.

Dress + Assemble – To the kale, add the desired amount of dressing along with additional grated Gouda and toss to coat. Finish the salad by adding the crispy chickpeas, sliced or diced apples, and candied chickpeas. Serve immediately.

cashew kale Caesar salad


The Gouda Caesar salad dressing can be made a few days in advance and stored in an airtight container for up to a week. Many of the components of this salad can be made in advance. The kale can be washed and cut and stored in a Tupperware or ziplock bag 1-2 days in advance. The chickpeas can be made 1 day in advance but may need to be thrown back into the air fryer or oven to crisp up. Sadly, once the salad is dressed, there is no going back.

Want more salads? Check out the below!

Classic Kale Caesar
Brussels Sprout Caesar with Crispy Chicken
Parmesan Crunchy Kale Salad

June 25, 2024

Gouda Cashew Kale Caesar

Print Recipe Pin Recipe
This cashew kale Caesar completely does a 180 on the traditional Caesar to deliver an ultra-cheesy, super nutty, crunchy, and sweet version that might just be better.
Course Lunch, Salad, Side Dish
Keyword 30 minute meal
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people


  • 1/2 cup chickpeas drained. and dried
  • 3 cup dino kale chopped
  • 2 cups curly kale chopped
  • 3 oz Artikaas 18 Month Aged Gouda
  • 1 cup candied cashews
  • 1 apple sliced thin, julianne, or diced

Gouda Caesar Salad Dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1 anchovy
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 oz Artikaas 18 Month Aged Gouda
  • 1 tbsp neutral flavored oil ie. avocado, canola, or vegetable


Gouda Caesar Salad Dressing

  • In a small handheld blender, add the mayo, anchovy, garlic clove, Artikaas Gouda, lemon juice, and oil. Blend until smooth. Season with a pinch of salt to taste, and feel free to thin the dressing with 1-2 tbsp of water if it is too thick.

Gouda Cashew Caesar

  • To make the crispy chickpeas, place the drained and dried chickpeas on a sheet pan. Add a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt, then toss to coat. Roast them in a 400°F oven for 25-30 minutes or air fry at 390°F for 10 minutes.
  • While the chickpeas are crisping, remove the kale from the stems and roughly chop the leaves. Place the kale in the bowl, add a squirt of lemon juice, and massage the kale for 2-3 minutes to break it down.
  • Add the desired dressing and 3 oz of grated Gouda. Toss to coat.
  • Add in the cooked chickpeas, cashews, and apple. Serve immediately.

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