Kale, Caesar! The real food world salutes this leader of the cruciferous family for its sturdy, green cold-hardy leaves. In recent years, kale sailed to the front of the salad greens fleet surpassing romaine in popularity as the foundation for kale caesar salad. Revamp your Caesar salad by featuring kale and drizzle it with my Whole30 compliant dressing.
Kale offers the salad lover a powerhouse of brain-boosting phytonutrients, a rich source of vitamins/nutrients, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Buy Clean Kale
Kale is on the Environmental Working Group (EWG)’s Dirty List, so I recommend that you buy organic whenever possible. Recent studies show that pesticide residue contaminates conventionally grown kale. It’s worth forking over the extra money to buy organic to prevent exposure to harmful chemicals.
The Best Kale to Use For Salad
The Lacinato or Tuscan “dinosaur” kale varieties win for this Caeser salad recipe. The puckered, soft textured leaves offer a mild taste. You can buy the kale by the bunch or already cleaned, stemmed, and cut. The bags of kale often contain pieces of the tough stem so remember to remove them.
Kale Caesar Salad Recipe
Croutons (not Whole30 compliant)
If you are new around here, you’ll learn that the only bread and bread products I eat are made from freshly milled grain except for sourdough bread. I make this bread exception because the fermentation process in sourdough offers nutritional gut healing bacteria.
When I don’t have a sourdough starter, I use Jim Lahey’s No-Work, No-Knead Method artisan bread recipe. Lahey popularized the easy, no-knead method of bread baking. The no-knead fermentation method provides microorganisms and enzymes that benefit the gut.
If you aren’t a bread baker this recipe is the busy woman’s solution for no-FUSS nutritious bread.
Croutons (not Wh30 compliant)
3⁄4 cup of high-quality olive oil
2 garlic cloves minced
1⁄2 tsp of sea salt
1 tsp of fresh rosemary or oregano
2 cups of diced 1⁄2 sourdough bread cubes, crust removed.
Heat oven to 350°F. Adjust oven racks to the middle position. In a deep bowl, combine olive oil, garlic, herb, and sea salt. Stir until combines. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake croutons for 15 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Let cool on sheet.
The Caesar Salad Dressing (Whole30 compliant)
1⁄2 cup homemade mayonnaise (Wh30 compliant) or high quality, soy-free mayonnaise
1 Tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice (plus extra lemon juice to add to salad)
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp Coconut Aminos (Wh30 compliant) or Worcestershire sauce
2-3 garlic clove, minced
1⁄2 tsp sea salt
Process mayo, lemon juice, vinegar, coconut aminos, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper until smooth. With a food processor still running, slowly add olive oil until emulsified. Refrigerate the leftovers.
Wash the kale and dry in a salad spinner or pat dry with a cotton kitchen towel. Cut the leaves into bite-sized pieces (1″). Place the kale in a large bowl and toss with dressing, then add the croutons. Squeeze a half of a lemon onto salad before serving. If you are not dairy-free, add 1⁄2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Make Kale Caesar Salad a Complete Meal
Add a protein like grilled chicken, pancetta, or steak to this recipe for a complete meal.
Resist the Rebellion Against Kale
There are a handful of kale cynics out there who regard kale as a fad food. Kale is not new on the veggie scene; it’s just that consumers have grown bored with bland salad greens like romaine and iceberg. We’ve gotten smarter about how to fill our salad bowl.
Nutrient-dense leafy greens like kale upstage other lettuces like romaine and, finally, the dethroned iceberg. Kale earns the trophy for being the most versatile veggie in the produce aisle.