Kale caesar salad is my absolute go-to salad recipe. Caesar salad is my all-time favorite salad. It’s the perfect side to any meal and it’s so easy to make. Adding tender kale and radicchio is my favorite way to enjoy it. Don’t forget all the crispy croutons and freshly grated parmesan!
HISTORY OF CAESAR SALAD
Did you know that Caesar salad actually originated in Tijuana, Mexico? Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant, first created the salad in his restaurant Caesar’s in 1924. Originally, he actually prepared the salad tableside! The dressing is made by emulsifying egg, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, parmesan, dijon, Worcestershire, and black pepper. That’s right! The original recipe does not call for anchovies. That’s a modern adaptation from the classic recipe. Did you know that even Julia Child enjoyed the famed salad in the 1920s? Caesar salad is almost 100 years old and we’re still enjoying it today.
How to make Kale Caesar salad
The original recipe calls for romaine, but I like to jazz things up a bit by adding kale and radicchio. I also simplify the dressing by calling for mayo instead of egg and oil.
How to prep kale
The best kale to use is Lacinato or dinosaur kale. It’s much more tender than green kale and fairly easy to find. Most grocery stores carry kale in the produce section including HEB, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, etc.
Lacinato kale has a thick stem running through the middle of each leaf and I always remove it. It’s very fibrous and tough to eat. To remove stems from kale, hold the stem in one hand and strip leaves along the stem away from you. So easy to do! Then, you’ll roughly chop the kale and massage it for a few minutes. Yes, massage. This is a crucial step and ensures tender kale. I mix my kale with a pinch of salt and a tiny bit of olive oil, and just massage it, working the leaves between my hands. You’ll notice that the kale will turn dark green and feel very soft. That’s it! This simple step will change the way you feel about eating kale forever.
Ingredients you’ll need
- Greens. For this recipe, I’m using romaine, kale, and radicchio because those are my favorites. You can swap in some endive, a little spinach, or keep it traditional with just romaine.
- Sourdough. The best croutons, in my opinion, come from sourdough bread! Be sure to tear the bread vs cubing it, the irregular shape gives them the best texture.
- Mayonnaise. True caesar dressing is made by whisking eggs and oil together until emulsified, but I like to shorten that step a bit. Using a good-quality mayo makes this dressing a cinch to throw together.
- Worcestershire sauce. True caesar dressing doesn’t call for anchovies, any subtle anchovy flavor comes from the Worcestershire. If you love anchovies, feel free to mix some anchovy paste or finely minced anchovies in.
- Parmesan cheese. No kale caesar salad is complete without freshly grated parmesan cheese. Bust out your Microplane to get the best texture.
- Garlic. Fresh garlic is a must here! Don’t use the jarred, minced garlic.
- Black Pepper. Please don’t ever buy pre-ground black pepper! Use a pepper mill for the best flavor.
- Dijon. Use a nice quality dijon mustard–my favorite is from Trader Joe’s.
- Lemon. Both lemon juice and zest give this dressing a fresh flavor.
How to Prepare kale caesar salad
- Prep your greens. De-stem, chop, and massage your kale and chop your romaine and radicchio.
- Make your croutons. Toss your torn sourdough with olive oil, parmesan, salt, and pepper and bake until crispy.
- Prepare your dressing. Get all the ingredients together for the dressing and give them a good whisk until everything is smooth. I actually like to do this step in advance and let the dressing chill in the fridge for a bit. The extra time gives the flavors a chance to really shine.
- Toss everything together. In a large bowl, toss your greens and croutons with your desired amount of dressing. Top with more freshly grated parmesan and serve!
Kale Caesar Salad FAQs
Can I make this recipe without kale?
Yes, of course. I added kale and radicchio because I love it, but this recipe is still great with only romaine lettuce. If you have access to little gem lettuce, that’s also one of my favorite ways to enjoy a caesar salad.
Is kale caesar salad gluten-free?
As long as you swap in gluten-free bread or omit the croutons, kale caesar salad is gluten-free.
Does kale need to be cooked for salads?
Nope! Just make sure you give your kale a good rinse and dry before preparing.
Does Caesar salad require anchovies?
Nope! The original recipe for caesar dressing actually never called for anchovies. The subtle anchovy flavor comes from Worcestershire sauce. If you’re allergic to anchovies, try using a vegan Worcestershire sauce.
What to serve with Kale Caesar Salad
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