I wanted to create a recipe with less ingredients, no oven, and that had a nut-free dressing. Sunflower seeds, when soaked and blended, are wonderfully creamy, light, and delicious. The extra oil in the dressing is needed since sunflower seeds are naturally lower in fat than cashews. The chickpeas crisp up well in a cast iron skillet, however if you do not own one, they will do just fine in a regular pan, it might just take an extra minute or two. This recipe is vegan, gluten free, nut free, and serves two generous salads or four light sides.

Buffalo Chickpea Caesar Salad [Vegan]

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For the Nut Free Caesar Dressing:
  • ½ cup raw sunflower seeds, soaked for 2 hours
  • Juice of 1 lemon, about 4 tablespoons
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • ½ Tablespoon white miso
  • 5 Tablespoons water, or to desired consistency
For the Buffalo Chickpeas:
  • 2 cup cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons buffalo hot sauce
  • 2 heads of Romaine lettuce, chopped, washed and dried
  • Extra lemon wedges (optional)


For the Nut Free Caesar Dressing:
  1. Add all the dressing ingredient to a high power blender or food processor and blend until completely smooth. The blender is faster but the food processor will do the trick.
  2. Transfer dressing to a glass jar or bottle and chill in the fridge until ready to use. You may have to add a splash of water to the dressing since it will thicken as it cools.
For the Buffalo Chickpeas:
  1. Dry the drained chickpeas between two sheets of paper towels. Gently roll the beans between the paper towels until the chickpeas are fairly dry. Do not skip this step! Your chickpeas will not crisp up if they are wet.
  2. Transfer the dried chickpeas to a medium bowl, add the arrowroot, paprika, salt and olive oil and gently stir to coat the beans.
  3. Heat up a skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium heat. When the skillet is hot, add the chickpeas, and cooked for 10 minutes, stirring every 2-3 minutes so they do not burn. Wipe out the medium sized bowl that you dressed the chickpeas in.
  4. Try a few chickpeas before taking the pan off the heat to check if they chickpeas are to your desired crispiness. I like mine just crispy on the outside but still meaty on the inside. If you desire a very crisp chickpea, add a few minutes to the cooking time.
  5. Transfer chickpeas to the clean medium sized bowl and add the buffalo sauce. Toss to coat.
  6. Dress the lettuce with the Nut Free Caesar Dressing, top with Buffalo Chickpeas, and serve with additional lemon wedges. Enjoy!


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