Zooey Deschanel loved candy canes and spaghetti when she starred in the iconic Christmas film Elf, but behind the scenes, Deschanel eats a clean, mostly plant-based diet with the help of Lettuce Grow, a hydronic growing system she founded with her ex-husband Jacob Pechenik. With Lettuce Grow standing tall in her California home, the actress creates vegan salads and dressings with bunches of fresh chard, kale, herbs, and more.

Today's recipe of the day is Deschanel's favorite Springtime salad, Vegan Kale and Chard Caesar Salad with optional Roasted Chickpeas, a hearty and refreshing meal just in time for the new season. This Spring, introduce new, creative recipes into your diet to welcome in a change of pace.

This salad isn't your traditional caesar. Deschanel uses a combination of the two lettuces to add crispness, earthy textures, and flavors whereas a caesar with romaine has a steady crunch throughout. She also adds cherry tomatoes in her salad, an unlikely fruit in a standard caesar, but an important one for your health. Tomatoes contain lycopene, a complex antioxidant that gives the fruit its deep red color and has been proven to boost heart health and possibly treat certain cancers, according to the study.

When the base of the salad is complete, the actress uses vegan parmesan for a nutty garnish and recommends using Kelly's brand or making homemade with crushed roasted salted macadamia nuts. She also adds croutons, a buttery-crunch that pairs perfectly with fresh lettuce. The last step which happens to be the icing on the cake is Deschanel's homemade dairy-free dressing with sweet, acidic flavors made with crunchy chickpeas, rich olive oil, salty capers, sweet miso paste, bitter lemon, zesty garlic, and salt and pepper for taste. If you love chickpeas and want to roast a cup in the oven, add them to the salad for a plant-based protein alternative.

Ready to make this salad? Scroll down to see Deschanel's step-by-step process with the beautiful photos she took while making this healthy masterpiece. Enjoy fresh and new beginnings with nutritious salads that are also delicious.

Zooey’s Vegan Kale and Chard Caesar Salad With (Optional) Roasted Chickpeas

Ingredients

For salad

  • Large bunch of kale
  • Large bunch of chard
  • ¾ cup of croutons
  • ½ cup vegan parm – like kelly’s brand - or crushed roasted salted macadamia nuts
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes sliced in half

For dressing

  • ½ cup chickpeas
  • 3 tbsp olive oil divided
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice divided
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1 tbsp sweet mellow miso paste
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Pinch of pepper

Instructions

  1. Remove large stems from your kale and rough chop swiss chard and kale together.
  2. Using one tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of lemon juice massage the kale and chard for 3 min or more to soften the leaves.
  3. Make the dressing: combine chickpeas with 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp lemon juice, capers, miso, garlic, salt, and pepper in the pitcher of your blender. Blend until smooth.
  4. Toss the leaves in the dressing and let sit to allow the kale and chard to soften more.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients to finish the salad right before serving.