Kale Caesar salad is a clever riff of the traditional Caesar salad recipe. This recipe is adapted from one of Yotam Ottolenghi’s kale salad recipes that I came across during a deep dive into the Youtube abyss. It includes kale, quinoa, parsley, crunchy lettuce, chopped cucumber & tomatoes, topped with roasted chickpeas instead of croutons and a delicious tahini-based dressing.
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The original recipe includes mint and roasted grapes. I had neither but salads are versatile, as long as you have great textures and a fantastic dressing, you know it will be good. I also added quinoa because I had some leftover. When I make a new salad, sometimes I just use leftovers in the fridge, toss with some dressing and call it a meal.
Try other grains in this recipe like Quinoa. Don’t know how to cook Quinoa? Check out this article How to Cook Quinoa – The Ultimate Guide!
The History of Caesar Salad
The Caesar Salad is believed to have been created by an Italian restaurateur, Caesar Cardini. He opened his first restaurant in Mexico in the 1920s, and according to legend, he had to come up with a creative way of using ingredients he had on hand when some unexpected guests arrived one night. The result was a simple salad made of crisp romaine lettuce, croutons, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and a dressing of garlic, anchovies, Worcestershire sauce, egg yolks, olive oil and lemon.
Since then the Caesar Salad has become one of the most popular salads in the world. It has been adapted with different ingredients and dressings, like kale and tahini in this recipe.
No matter which variation you choose, one thing is for sure: the Caesar Salad has been a timeless classic for nearly 100 years! Enjoy it and be inspired to create your own unique version at home.
How to Make This Recipe
- Clean and wash your veggies. Chop them into bite sized pieces.
- Cook your chickpeas in the oven after tossing them with olive oil and za’atar.
- Make your dressing in a food processor or whisk in a large bowl. When ready to assemble, add your veggies and toss. Garnish with the chickpeas, fresh parmesan and freshly ground black pepper.
If you’d like to give the kale Caesar salad a more filling touch, add grilled chicken or top with roasted walnuts or pine nuts for extra crunch. To make it vegetarian-friendly, omit the anchovies in the dressing and replace with a tablespoon of capers or 2 teaspoons of miso paste.
Nutrition-wise, kale is full of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, C and K. It’s also rich in dietary fibre, which helps to keep your digestive system healthy. The tahini dressing adds flavour while the lemon juice provides a tangy contrast.
Tips For Making This Salad
- Chop the vegetables into bite sized pieces.
- Select lettuces that have crunchy, hearty leaves such as romaine.
- Before chopping kale, be sure to remove the tough stems.
- Use fresh grated parmesan and not that powdery stuff in a can.
- Garnish with fresh, grated or shaved parmesan and freshly ground black pepper.
- Use a high quality extra virgin olive oil.
- Make your own tahini, it’s easy!
How to Serve
This kale Caesar salad is a delicious side salad or main meal served with some crusty bread on the side. It’s also a great way to use kale in the summer months when the leaves are at their peak of freshness and sweetness.
The dressing for this recipe has the typical caesar ingredients including lemon juice, parmesan cheese, olive oil, dijon mustard, anchovy paste or anchovy fillet, greek yogurt and garlic. Tahini is ‘the extra good thing’ and provides for a slightly nutty, extra creamy and thick dressing.
Instead of homemade bread croutons, this dish gets its crunch from roasted canned chickpeas that have been tossed with olive oil and Za’atar, a middle eastern herb blend.
Why I Love This Recipe
I love this kale Caesar salad because it’s a healthier version of the classic Caesar salad. It’s packed with flavour, is surprisingly filling and can be customised to suit your taste buds. Enjoy!
- Can I make this kale Caesar salad vegan?
Yes, you can make the kale Caesar salad vegan by omitting the anchovies in the dressing and replacing it with a tablespoon of capers or 2 teaspoons of miso paste. You can also replace the parmesan cheese with nutritional yeast for an extra boost of flavor.
- How do I make the croutons?
Instead of homemade bread croutons, this kale Caesar salad gets its crunch from roasted canned chickpeas that have been tossed with olive oil and Za’atar, a middle eastern herb blend. You can find recipes for making your own Za’atar seasoning online or in most health food stores.
- Can I make this kale Caesar salad gluten free?
This salad is gluten free. I substituted roasted chickpeas for traditional croutons.
- Can I make the dressing ahead?
Yes, the dressing can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to five days. Make sure to give it a good shake or stir before serving.
- Can I use something else instead of kale?
You can use any leafy green that you like, such as spinach, arugula, romaine lettuce, or even Swiss chard.
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