This amazing vegetarian kale Caesar salad is a quick, simple and delicious side salad, perfect to serve with most entrees. With an endless amount of variations, this is a dish you will want to make again and again.
👩🏻🍳 Why You'll Love This Recipe
Inspired by the traditional Caesar salad, this healthy kale Caesar salad with croutons, Parmesan and a lemon dressing is an excellent side salad.
This is one of those quick and simple weeknight dinner salads that you can make in less than 10 minutes, and because it stores really well, you can make a big batch to enjoy throughout the entire week.
🥘 Ingredients Needed
For a complete list of ingredients, please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Croutons - Crispy croutons are always great in a salad, but absolutely essential in this recipe. Use your favorite store bought croutons, or make your own homemade croutons!
- Kale - Use your favorite kale, like lacinato kale or curly kale.
- Parmesan - Gives the salad great flavors.
- Olive oil - The main component in the salad dressing! The oil keeps the kale tender and moist.
- Lemon juice - Adds flavor to the dressing.
- Dijon mustard - Also added for flavor.
Please note: This is an overview of the instructions. You'll find the complete instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Combine the ingredients for the salad dressing.
- Shred the kale into bite sized pieces.
- Add the dressing to the kale, and massage it thoroughly.
- Add croutons and shredded Parmesan, and serve.
No, it is not necessary to blanch kale for salad. Instead, you can massage the kale to make the leaves softer.
Kale can be a little tough to eat raw, but with the right preparation it's great for salads. Kale is healthy and nutritious, and a great way to add more greens to your diet.
If you don't want to massage the kale for whatever reason, you can toss the kale in the lemon dressing, and leave it in the refrigerator overnight instead. The dressing will soften the leaves, and make the kale more enjoyable to eat.
Store leftover kale salad for up to 3 days in an airtight container in a refrigerator. I highly recommend storing the croutons separately, and adding them to the salad when you're ready to serve it. This helps the croutons stay crispy.
I do not recommend freezing the kale, as the texture of the leaves will change when they thaw. For this reason, you should also make this salad using fresh kale, rather than frozen.
💭 Helpful Tips
- As kale keeps really well, you can definitely make this salad the night before, and store it in a refrigerator overnight.
- Make sure to massage the kale thoroughly, as this will break down the fibers in the leaves and make it more digestible.
- Ripping the leaves from the kale with your hands is much faster than cutting it with a knife.
- To make sure that the recipe is vegetarian, make sure to use vegetarian Parmesan without rennet.
This kale Caesar salad is easy to customize. Add or omit any ingredients as you please to make a version of the recipe that your family will love!
- Not a fan of kale? Use spinach or other leafy greens instead.
- For a dairy free version, you can omit the Parmesan, or use vegan Parmesan instead.
- If you want to serve kale Caesar salad as a light meal, you can add a protein source like grilled chicken, roasted chickpeas, black beans, quinoa or tuna.
- You can use traditional Caesar salad dressing in this recipe, but note that Caesar dressing is not vegetarian. This lemon Dijon dressing is a flavorful alternative, but you can also use any other vinaigrette or dressing that you like.
- For a keto friendly, low carb kale salad, replace the croutons with chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts. This also makes the salad gluten free!
- If you prefer more flavors and colors, you can definitely add other vegetables. This will also make the salad more filling. Try adding tomatoes, cucumber, roasted sweet potatoes, peppers, olives or artichokes.
🍲 Suggested Main Dishes
This easy side dish pairs wonderfully with a variety of main courses. Here are some of my favorite suggestions to serve it with:
🥗 More Side Dishes
Here are a few more side dish ideas for you!
Check out this story on how to make Kale Caesar Salad!
Vegetarian Kale Caesar Salad
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📋 Recipe Card
Vegetarian Kale Caesar Salad
- Mixing Bowl
- 1 bunch kale
- 1 cup croutons
- 1/8 cup Parmesan shavings
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Combine lemon juice, olive oil and Dijon mustard in a small bowl to form the salad dressing.
- Remove the thick stems from the kale, and cut or rip the leaves into bite sized pieces. Add the kale to a salad bowl or mixing bowl.
- Pour the dressing over the kale, and use your hands to massage the leaves. This allows the fibers in the kale to break up, making it more digestible and easier to eat.
- Add croutons and Parmesan shavings to your salad, stir to combine the ingredients, and serve.
- Store leftovers in a refrigerator for up to 3 days. Store the croutons separately, and add them to the salad before serving to keep them crispy.
- Feel free to add other ingredients, such as vegetables, nuts, or protein to turn this side salad into a light meal!