This kale caesar salad is one of my favorite salads to whip up when I’m looking for a light and easy lunch.
Kale Caesar Salad
I love caesar dressing, but never order a caesar salad when I go out. For one, I’m not a huge ran of romaine lettuce. I find that it’s pretty underwhelming in flavor and is usually made up in a boring fashion when it comes to salads.
The other, more problematic issue with restaurant caesar salads is that most of them come absolutely drenched in goopy dressing. I’m pretty sure the ratio of mayonnaise to the rest of the dressing ingredients is 5:1.
I’m not a fan of really thick, creamy dressings on my salad, as I prefer vinaigrettes and dressings that lightly coat my greens.
That’s why I absolutely love this recipe and adore making my own caesar salads at home. Not only can I make the dressing light, but I can also swap in finely chopped kale for romaine lettuce.
My love for kale wasn’t always so. It wasn’t until I had this amazing kale salad (I shared the recipe here) at a local restaurant where the kale was shredded and massaged in a lemon-olive oil vinaigrette that I absolutely fell in love with kale.
Since then, I prepare my kale in a similar way, tearing the leaves off the stems and chopping them into fine ribbons or shreds. Sometimes I dress the kale in a lemon-olive oil mix with finely grated parmesan, or sometimes I make this caesar dressing and toss the kale in that.
I usually make this salad with a piece of chicken or salmon. It tends to be chicken most of the time just because I can’t always find fresh, wild-caught salmon, but I usually prepare the two in the same way.
A generous pinch of salt and a little bit of freshly ground pepper is all I do before grilling the chicken in a hot cast-iron pan that’s been treated with some olive oil. If your piece of chicken is really thick, it’s helpful to split it in half through the middle, or pound it out, before grilling.
The chicken will cook through better and cook faster. Once the chicken’s ready, you can just slice it on the diagonal and arrange it on top of the salad.
To finish off the salad, I’ll add parmesan shavings and sometimes homemade garlic croutons (I just toast baguette slices then drizzle olive oil on them and rub a piece of garlic on them). This salad is a favorite for a reason!
Kale Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken
A light and healthier version of your favorite caesar salad.
- 2 curly kale leaves
- 4 oz. chicken breast
- shaved parmesan
for the dressing
- 1 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 small clove garlic finely minced
- 1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 lemon, juice of (or 1/2 a small lime)
Heat a cast-iron pan (or just a regular pan) with olive oil over high heat. If your chicken breast is thick, slice it in half through the middle or pound it out to make it thinner. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place in the hot pan and reduce heat to medium-high. Cook each side for 3-4 minutes until golden. When the chicken is ready, simply place it on a plate or cutting board to rest until you're ready to serve it.
In the meanwhile, tear the kale leaves off the thick part of their stems. Bunch the pieces together and chop into fine shreds or ribbons. Rinse under water and allow the leaves to somewhat dry.
To prepare the dressing, simply whisk all the ingredients together, adding a pinch of salt and pepper. Plate your kale then pour the dressing over the greens. Toss to combine.
Cut the chicken on a diagonal and place on top of the salad. Garnish with some parmesan shavings.
For the lemon juice, you can add more depending on how tangy you want the dressing. If you add more juice, you may want to add a little more mayo so that the dressing isn't too thin in consistency.
The garlic can either be very finely chopped or you can use a microplane zester to grate it into the dressing.