Dr. Michelle Cali, ND

Growing up, one sure way to get me to eat salad was if it was Caesar! It seems to be a favourite among non-salad eaters because of its creamy dressing, salty cheese topped with bacon and croutons. Who can tell there is lettuce under there? It is also known from a nutritional standpoint as one of the most “indulgent” salads out there – to put it nicely! Do I risk making a healthier version? When it tastes this good, I say YES!

My mother makes the best Killer Caesar Salad and although I have not had it in years (since becoming vegan), I was craving it in my last pregnancy. So, I got inventive and transitioned it into an equally flavourful, vegan recipe. Note: it is labelled “killer” because of the heavy garlic in the dressing! YUMMMM

I did experiment with a few other vegan Caesar recipes but I found that a lot of them called for vegan cheeses and/or unhealthy oils, which I prefer not to use. So I was much happier to recreate an old favourite in my own way.


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  • 8-10 leaves of romaine lettuce torn into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 3-4 cups of baby kale
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 2-3 tbsp roasted and salted pumpkin seeds

Chickpea Croutons

  • 1 large can of chickpeas (or 2 small cans)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (garlic flavoured olive oil is a nice touch)
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • couple pinches of salt


  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 tbsp Dijon mustard, w seeds
  • couple dashes vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • lemon juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup EVOO
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste


Best to make the chickpeas ahead of time

  1. Drain and rinse the chickpeas
  2. Place on a layer of paper towel and cover with another layer of paper towel and press the chickpeas dry. If you have time, leave them out for 10-30 minutes after you dry them to let them air dry even more.
  3. Place chickpeas in a bowl and mix with olive oil, salt and spice until evenly coated
  4. Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  5. Bake at 410F for 40 minutes giving the pan a little shake every 10 minutes or so
  6. After they start to brown turn off the oven and let them sit in the oven for about an hour – this is key to the crunch effect
  7. Combine all ingredients for dressing in a mason jar. Place lid on tight and shake vigorously until evenly combined
  8. Place all salad ingredients in a large salad bowl and add dressing to salad. Use half dressing first and then add as needed to coat the lettuce (without it swimming in dressing). The dressing is good for a couple of days if you have leftovers
  9. Dish salad into bowls and top with the croutons

Optimized-TKP_029Dr. Michelle Cali is a licensed and registered Naturopathic Doctor and graduate of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. In addition, she holds an Honours Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Waterloo.

Dr. Cali maintains a private practice in Guelph, Ontario. She is truly passionate about helping her patients develop and achieve their health goals. She implements patient-centred care utilizing a variety of treatment modalitiesincluding:clinical nutrition and diet counseling; acupuncture and Traditional Chinese medicine; herbal medicine; homeopathy; and lifestyle counseling. She has also received additional training in Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture, Natural Fertility and Applied Kinesiology. Her practice includesparticularfocus on women’s health, pediatrics and digestive health.

Her mission to inspire and reinvent wellbeing was reinforced by her trip to Kenya and the naturopathic work she completed with the organization, Foundation for Integrative Medicine in Africa (FIMAfrica).

Dr. Cali also enjoys engaging her local community through specialized talks and outreach. In addition, also maintains the roleasNational Scientific Advisor for the professional nutraceutical company, Cyto-Matrix.

She has a personal interest in plant-based foods and continually expands her vegan culinary skills in her kitchen. She frequently shares her cooking journeys with her patients to show them accessible ways to prepare hearty, healthy and delicious whole food dishes. She encourages clean eating while maintaining the importance of passionate eating.

Michelle is registered with the Board of Directors of Drugless Therapy – Naturopathy (BDDT-N) and is an active member of the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND), Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors (OAND) and Association of Perinatal Naturopathic Doctors (APND).

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