If your family loves Caesar Salad, making Homemade Caesar Dressing from scratch with anchovy paste, egg yolk, lemon and olive oil is incredibly easy! Pairing this dressing with a dark leafy green like kale, along with parmesan and toasted bread crumbs, make for an outstanding Kale Caesar Salad recipe!
Homemade Kale Caesar Salad Recipe
This is such a great recipe compared to a traditional Caesar salad made with romaine lettuce. Why?
- The bitterness of the kale pairs perfectly with the tart saltiness of the dressing
- The homemade Caesar dressing used in this recipe is extremely fresh, flavorful, creamy, and easy to make
- Toasted panko breadcrumbs add the same fantastic flavor and crunch as a crouton, but are much easier to make
What is a Kale Caesar salad?
Simply put, it's the same as a traditional ceasar salad, except the crisp, crunchy romaine lettuce is swapped with fresh kale.
Overall, the flavor is remarkably similar because of the dressing, but the bitterness of the dark leafy kale really adds a whole new dimension to this easy salad recipe.
The basic ingredients:
- Fresh kale - there are many varieties to choose from including common curly kale, Red Russian kale, Redbor Kale, etc. I chose to use Lacinato Kale for this recipe which is also referred to as Dinosaur or Tuscan Kale.
- Homemade Caesar dressing which is made from anchovy paste, garlic, egg yolks, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and lite olive oil.
- Parmesan shavings
- Toasted Panko breadcrumbs
How to make Kale Caesar Salad:
- First step is to make the Caesar salad dressing. This is easily done in a blender or in a mason jar using an emersion blender.
- Then you will simply toss the clean dry kale with the desired amount of dressing.
- Finally, you will toast the panko bread crumbs in a bit of olive oil to turn them golden brown and crunch. These, along with some parmesan shavings and freshy ground pepper, are added to the salad.
Tips for success:
- Be sure to fully dry the kale after washing it. This will help the dressing stick to the kale without making the salad soggy.
- You can leave the stems on the kale, but I prefer to trim and discard them. That is entirely a matter of preference as well as how hard and woody the kale stems are.
- When making the homemade Caesar dressing, the amount of anchovy paste can be reduced if desired. As the recipe is written, you can taste the anchovy flavor in the dressing, but some people might find it to be strong. You can also use real anchovies instead of the paste.
- I highly recommend shaving the parmesan cheese from a block as opposed to using the grated parmesan from the store. The taste and texture are worth it on this kale Caesar salad.
- Do not substitute traditional bread crumbs for the panko. They are entirely different. Panko bread crumbs are needed for that crunch.
How to store Kale Caesar Salad:
Unfortunately, once the dressing is added to the salad, it should be served immediately. If the kale Caesar salad is refrigerated with the dressing, both the kale and the toasted panko breadcrumbs will become soggy.
If you need to prepare this salad ahead of time, I recommend washing and drying the kale, making the dressing, toasting the bread crumbs, and shaving the parmesan ahead of time. Then, when you're ready to serve, toss all of the ingredients together.
Recipes that use fresh kale:
Nothing quite compares to the taste and texture of fresh kale. I love using it in a variety of recipes. If you're a fan of kale, you may want to try these favorites:
- Kale Soup with Italian Pork & White Beans
- Shredded Beet and Kale Salad
- Winter Minestrone Soup
- Zuppa Toscana
- Hearty Portobello Kale Lasagna
- Roasted Shrimp Thai Kale Salad
If you’ve made this or any other recipe on my site, let me know in the comment section how it turned out. I love hearing from my readers!
Kale Caesar Salad with Homemade Dressing
- 2 tablespoons anchovy paste (use less if desired)
- 2 garlic cloves (minced)
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 2 small lemons )
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ⅔ cup light olive oil
- 2 bunches kale (washed, dried, roughly chopped with hard stems removed)
- 1 ounce parmesan (thick shavings recommended)
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- freshly ground pepper
To make the dressing:
- Combine all ingredients except for the oil in blender and blend on low for about 10 seconds. Alternatively, you can combine in a bowl or mason jar and use an immersion blender on low speed to blend and emulsify.
- With the blender running on low speed, slowly pour in a very thin steady stream of oil until it is all combined.
- Thin with additional lemon juice, if desired. Makes enough for four family sized salads. Store excess in refrigerator until ready to use.
To toast the breadcrumbs:
- Combine the panko breadcrumbs with the olive oil. Add to a shallow dish and broil, stirring frequently, until the breadcrumbs start to turn golden brown. This should only take a few minutes. Allow to cool.
To make the salad:
- Toss the kale with one tablespoon at a time of the dressing. Continue adding dressing and tossing the kale until enough has been added to your liking.
- Add parmesan and sprinkle bread crumbs on top. You can either toss to combine or serve them on top of the salad. Add freshly ground pepper, as desired.