The Perfect Kale Caesar Salad

Creamy, garlicky homemade caesar dressing tossed with finely chopped kale, parmesan cheese, and toasted bread crumbs all come together for the perfect kale caesar salad. This salad is super simple to toss together, SO flavorful and mostly healthy too! Serve it for dinner and save the leftovers for lunch the next day!

a white bowl filled with kale caesar salad with grated parmesan cheese

Kale caesar salad has taken Los Angeles by storm in the last few years. It’s on almost every menu in some variation and for good reason, it’s absolutely delicious!

There are a few things that differentiate a kale caesar from a more traditional, romaine based version. First of all, after removing the tough, fibrous stems the kale is cut into very thin slivers rather than large bite sized pieces. The dressing is then “massaged” into the finely chopped kale. When you massage the kale it breaks down the fibers and tenderizes it making it much softer and more pleasant to eat! Second, rather than big croutons, kale caesar is tossed with crispy, garlicky panko bread crumbs.

Looking for the perfect pairing? Serve kale salad alongside grilled skirt steak or fennel and pork bolognese!

Ingredients You’ll Need

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this salad: garlic, anchovy, dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon, mayo, parmesan cheese, lacinato kale, and panko bread crumbs.

recipe ingredients: kale, dijon mustard, lemon, mayo, anchovy, garlic

Recipe Step by Step:

Step 1. Toast the Bread Crumbs

Give the garlic cloves a smash with the side of a knife then add them to a preheated pan with olive oil. Add the breadcrumbs to the pan and toast until golden brown. Discard the smashed garlic cloves and season the crumbs with salt.

a cast iron pan with toasted bread crumbs, a blender with salad dressing and a bowl with chopped kale

Step 2. Make the Dressing

This dressing is so easy to make and no raw egg yolks are required! Just blend all of the ingredients together until smooth and creamy.

Step 2. Assemble the Salad

Chop the kale into thin slivers then toss with the dressing and bread crumbs. Top the salad with extra parmesan cheese and lots of cracked black pepper!

FAQs and Expert Tips:

What kind of kale is best for kale caesar salad?

Lacinato kale, also known as dinosaur kale, Tuscan kale or cavolo nero, is best for kale caesar salad. It’s hearty, wide leaves make it easy to chop and provide plenty of surface area to hold onto creamy caesar dressing.

What is the point of “massaging” kale?

The reason we massage chopped kale with salad dressing is because kale is a very tough and fibrous lettuce. When you massage the kale it breaks down the fibers and tenderizes it making it much softer and more pleasant to eat!

Can I substitute another ingredient for anchovy?

Yes, you can use 1 tbsp minced capers or 1 tbsp soy sauce instead of anchovy.

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a white bowl filled with kale caesar salad with grated parmesan cheese

The Perfect Kale Caesar Salad

Creamy, garlicky caesar dressing tossed with finely chopped kale, parmesan cheese, and toasted bread crumbs all come together for The Perfect Kale Caesar Salad.
5 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 563kcal

Ingredients

Salad

  • 2 bunches lacinato kale washed and dried
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Dressing

  • 3/4 c mayonnaise
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 6 filets anchovy
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp worcestershire
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 c grated parmesan cheese plus more for serving
  • freshly cracked black pepper

Instructions

  • Heat a cast iron pan over medium heat. Give the garlic cloves a smash with the side of a knife then add them to the preheated pan with olive oil. Add the breadcrumbs to the pan and toast until golden brown stirring frequently, about 5 minutes then season with salt. Transfer to a plate and let cool. Discard garlic.
  • Place all of the dressing ingredients into a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth and creamy.
  • Remove the stems from the kale and chop very finely. Toss the kale with enough dressing to coat. Use your hands to massage the kale with the dressing. Season with black pepper, parmesan cheese, and toss in some of the breadcrumbs.
  • Divide between bowls, top with extra grated parmesan cheese and garlic bread crumbs.

Notes

 
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:
  • Lacinato Kale: You can really use any type of kale but Lacinato is my personal favorite.
  • Panko: Any bread crumbs will work just fine! 
  • Mayonnaise: Use your favorite mayo; regular, egg-free or vegan mayo will work in this recipe. 
  • Anchovy Alternatives: 1tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp minced capers or 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce.
  • Lemon Juice: Red wine or sherry vinegar can be substituted for lemon juice.
 
FAQs, and Expert Tips:
  • Why do we “massage” kale? The reason we massage chopped kale with salad dressing is because kale is a very tough and fibrous lettuce. When you massage the kale it breaks down the fibers and tenderizes it making it much softer and more pleasant to eat!
  • What kind of kale is best for kale caesar salad? Lacinato kale, also known as dinosaur kale, Tuscan kale or cavolo nero, is best for kale caesar salad. It’s hearty, wide leaves make it easy to chop and provide plenty of surface area to hold onto creamy dressing.
 
Equipment:
Wooden Salad Bowl | Mini Food Processor | Shop my Kitchen Essentials

Nutrition

Calories: 563kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 45g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 21g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 825mg | Potassium: 845mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 13636IU | Vitamin C: 170mg | Calcium: 403mg | Iron: 4mg
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Recipe Rating




2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Wow. Just wow! I subbed soy sauce for the anchovies. The bread crumbs really made this salad phenomenal! I made blackened shrimp and added ir on top. I wish I could add a photo, but this salad recipe will be used over and over again. Thanks for sharing!!