This irresistible Kale Caesar Salad is always a favorite with family and friends. Topped with a creamy, roasted zesty garlic dressing, Parmesan cheese and toasted panko breadcrumbs, every mouthful is full of flavor. Not a fan of kale? Read on– the secret is the massage!
Maybe I should call this kale Caesar 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 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?
Is Kale Good For You?
Yes, it is! In fact, kale is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. This cruciferous leafy green contains Vitamins A, B6, C, and K along with magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese and phosphorus. Additionally, 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.
What Makes this Kale Caesar Salad Different?
A few big things set this salad apart from a traditional Caesar salad. First of all, I’ve replaced romaine lettuce with massaged kale. When you massage raw kale, it wilts and becomes tender, sweeter, and much easier to chew. It’s also extremely nutritious!
And I’ve created a really amazing creamy roasted garlic dressing. This dressing is the secret to the most delicious kale Caesar salad you’ve ever tasted. Really!
Additionally, I’ve replaced larger croutons with delicate toasted panko and crushed red pepper flakes. Those big Caesar salad croutons always bothered me. With toasted breadcrumbs, I achieve a bit of delicate toasty crunch in every single bite. The red chili flakes add just a touch of heat, which really adds to the overall flavor balance.
Finally, I massage the kale with the creamy roasted garlic dressing, then toss it with the toasted panko, chili flakes, and grated Parmesan cheese.
The result? Wow! This salad is simply delicious, with a bit of a spicy kick. It’s simply the best kale Caesar salad. Serve it at a party, and prepare to be asked for the recipe over and over again.
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Kale Caesar Salad with Creamy Garlic Dressing
- 2 bunches curly kale, washed and chopped into bite-sized pieces (tough stems removed)
- 8 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 5 tablespoons grated parmesan, divided
- 2 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 dash Tabasco sauce, or to taste
- 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 garlic 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 flakes. Toss to combine.
- Transfer the breadcrumb mixture to a frying pan and cook over medium heat until the breadcrumbs are toasted golden brown, stirring often to prevent burning. Immediately 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 until kale is wilted and well coated with dressing.
- Add breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup of parmesan to the salad and toss to combine. Serve.
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