Jan 212014

Kale Caesar is SO hot right now. It’s on the menu at every trendy restaurant, disguised as the healthy choice. Don’t get my wrong, kale is amazing for you, but drowning in heavy dressing and covered in cheese, it’s only slightly healthier than the original. My version is not only way healthier but equally flavorful.
Nutritional highlights: There are a few key secrets that make my caesar healthier. 1) The dressing is animal product free–yep, no cheese, anchovies, or eggs which are the quintessential caesar ingredients. 2) It gets it’s creaminess/”cheesiness” from heart healthy ingredients like walnuts and roasted garlic. 3) Instead of greasy croutons, I made some crispy spiced roasted chickpeas, for extra fiber and protein. 4) And the one DUH swap here, kale instead of romaine adds tons of fiber, calcium, and other good stuff.

I served mine along with some simple spaghetti squash with spicy tomato sauce. I know, fake pasta + fake caesar doesn’t sound all that appealing, but this was literally one of the best meals I’ve had in a while!
**Confession: Although the dressing is vegan, I did proceed to top it with shredded parm. I couldn’t help myself…
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Vegan(ish) Kale Caesar
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For the dressing:
1/2 head of garlic plus 1 small clove
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup water
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
2 Teaspoons soy sauce or tamari
1 lemon, juiced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

For the salad:
One bunch or bag of kale
1 can of chickpeas, roasted (instructions below)
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved (optional)
1/4 cup shredded parmesan (optional)

To make the dressing:
1. Preheat your oven to 400. Remove some of the papery outer layers of the garlic head half, and it in the center of a piece of tin foil. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Wrap it up into a little bundle and place in oven for about 35-45 minutes, or until cloves are soft and brown.
2. Meanwhile, soak the walnuts in the water for at least 10 minutes to soften.
3. In a food processor, add the 1 raw garlic clove (peeled), mustard, soy, lemon juice, and the water/walnut mixture. Once roasted garlic is ready, pop out the soft cloves and add that to the mixture.
4. Pulse until all ingredients have combined. Drizzle the olive oil in slowly while food processor is running. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Add additional garlic, lemon juice, or seasonings as needed.

Notes: If you want to skip the roasted garlic step, just add another clove or two of raw garlic instead. Likewise, if you don’t love the bite of raw garlic, skip the raw clove and use only the roasted garlic.

To make the roasted chickpeas: I cooked mine in the same 400 degree oven while I roasted the garlic. Just rinse chickpeas and dry with a few paper towels as well as you can. Toss them with a tablespoon of olive oil and any spices you like (I used garlic powder, oregano, salt, pepper, and cayene). Roast for about 30 minutes, shaking every 10 minutes until they are crispy and brown. Use instead of croutons in your salad!

To make the salad: Wash and roughly chop the kale, removing any large unruly stems. “Massage” the kale by just kind of squeezing it in your hands, this makes it a little bit more tender and less bitter. Also, kale salads are best when they sit in the dressing for a bit before serving, so toss it with the dressing an hour before serving (although if you don’t have time it will still be delicious). Top with grape tomatoes, roasted chickpeas, and parmesan cheese, and enjoy!

  3 Responses to “Kale Caesar Salad”

  1. Hi there. Just curious as to how many servings this salad makes? Thanks!

    • Unfortunately I don’t have an exact amount of servings but my guess would be about 6 servings as a side and probably still some extra dressing to spare!

  2. This was a fantastic, healthy caesar recipe, thanks for sharing! I added a some raw walnuts, dried cranberries and grilled chicken. Will make it again!

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