Garlicky Kale, Parmesan and Panko Salad. The name stumped me on this one. For a while I considered calling this the “Best Thing That Happened To Me This Week” salad. The first time I served it to my husband, he mumbled those words between elated mouthfuls. Yes, this kale salad has the power to induce major feelings of euphoria… kale! The thing I once despised, then learned to massage, then grew to love. Can you imagine?
It’s kind of hard to describe this salad. What started as a Caesar dressing evolved into more of a creamy roasted garlic dressing with Parmesan. Croutons (which I’ve always felt are somewhat unwieldy, especially the big ones) were replaced by toasted panko and crushed red pepper flakes. I massaged the kale with the dressing till it mellowed out, then tossed it with the panko and Parmesan. The resulting salad has a Caesar-ish flavor, but with a bit of a spicy kick. It’s heavenly. You’ll just need to trust me here.
You probably already know this, but just in case you don’t, kale is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. It’s a cruciferous leafy green packed with Vitamins A, B6, C, and K along with magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese and phosphorus. It also contains strong phytonutrients and cancer-fighting antioxidants. The fiber in kale helps to lower blood cholesterol levels. Eating kale regularly can lower your risk of cancer and heart disease. It’s fabulous stuff, especially when prepared like this. I feel slightly addicted to this salad. Serve it at a party and prepare to be asked for the recipe over and over and over again.
Looking for a gluten free version of this salad? Just leave out the breadcrumbs and make sure your packaged products are certified GF (Lea and Perrins Worcestershire is gluten free, as is Tabasco Brand Pepper Sauce and Annie’s Dijon mustard). Now go eat your greens!
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- 1 bunch kale, washed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 6-8 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup panko style breadcrumbs (omit for gluten free)
- 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp grated parmesan, divided
- 2 1/2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 3/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
- Dash of tabasco, to taste
You will also need
- Blender, small saucepan, mixing bowls, frying pan
- In a small saucepan, combine 1/3 cup of olive oil with the garlic cloves. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until the garlic turns light golden brown and roasted, about 15 minutes. Carefully remove from heat. The oil will be very hot. Once the oil has cooled to room temperature, remove and reserve the garlic cloves. Keep the garlic-infused oil, you'll need it soon.
- In a blender combine roasted garlic cloves, mayonnaise, lemon juice, water, 1 tbsp parmesan, dijon mustard, worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and tabasco. Blend until smooth and well combined.
- Turn the blender to medium and very slowly drizzle in the roasted garlic oil through the opening in the top. Do not pour it in all at once or it will not emulsify and you will have a broken dressing.
- Remove the lid and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. Replace the lid and blend on high once more. The finished dressing should be smooth and well combined with no streaks of oil.
- In a small mixing bowl combine panko breadcrumbs, 1 tbsp olive oil and crushed red pepper. Toss to combine.
- Transfer the breadcrumb mixture to a frying pan and cook over medium heat till the breadcrumbs are toasted golden brown, stirring often to prevent burning. Remove the breadcrumbs from the pan and set aside.
- Place chopped kale into a large mixing bowl or salad bowl. Pour the roasted garlic dressing over the kale, then massage the kale for 3-4 minutes till kale is wilted and well coated with dressing.
- Add breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup of parmesan to the salad and toss to combine.