A perfect Kale Caesar salad with the most amazing dressing and crunchy (spicy!) croutons. This is a super healthy and low effort meal that goes great with a protein on top. Try seared duck breast, lemon roast chicken, grilled tri-tip, or even a seared rosemary lemon salmon!
I love to prep this in advance when guests are coming over because it does get a little better with time. Some wine with a simple appetizer – cheese and crackers, veggies and hummus – make a great starter before this main is revealed.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cooking Time: 10 minutes
- Marination Time: 30-120 minutes
- 1-2 bunches of kale
- Note: I like Dino Kale best, but Curly Kale and Red Russian Kale also work well.
- 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp mustard (I like spicy whole grain, dijon, or deli style)
- 1 whole anchovy or 1 tsp anchovy paste
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1/4 cup shredded fresh parmesan cheese
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Fresh french (or any) bread, cut up into the size you like (I like 1/2 -1″ cubes)
- 4 cloves smashed garlic
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Note: If you wanna get fancy or are crazy for truffles, subbing truffle salt in the recipe is AMAZING.
- Optional: Red pepper flakes
- Prep the Kale by de-veining it from the thick centers. I like to use a sharp knife and just slice along either side of the thick stem.
- Cut the came to any salad edible size you like. Wash the kale, massaging or squeezing it while washing. This helps break down the rigid structure of the bitter kale and help the dressing to seep in later.
- Drain and place in a large bowl.
- Zest the entire lemon skin into a bowl.
- Cut the lemon in half and juice the entire thing into the zest. The citrus is really important, it’s what breaks down the kale and combats the bitterness.
- Add the garlic, mustard, and anchovy and stir until its a smooth consistency.
- Dump in the parmesan cheese, but don’t stir yet.
- Add the olive oil, stirring while drizzling it in until the whole dressing mixture becomes smooth again and the cheese is incorporated (I would guess it takes 2-3 tbsps, not a ton, but I’ve never measured).
- Add salt and pepper to taste. I like my Kale Caesar a bit spicy, so I sometimes add a little spicy red pepper to taste.
- Add the dressing to the kale and toss well to coat.
- Let sit, covered, in the fridge for 30-120 minutes before serving.
Make these amazing croutons 7-10 minutes before serving salad.
- Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a saute pan over medium.
- Add the smashed garlic and stir; do not let it sit in place. Remove when the garlic is very fragrant but before it burns, usually about 2-3 minutes. This is seasoning the oil for the croutons but not letting them get overly garlick-y.
- If you want spicy, throw in the 1 tsp of red pepper flakes and stir to coat with oil.
- Add the cut french bread, salt and pepper to taste, then stir around in the oil.
- Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Bread should get toasty and soak up the oil. Mmmmmm.
- Remove the salad from the fridge and toss again. Place in bowls and top with the fresh croutons. If incorporating a protein, add it now 🙂