A classic Caesar salad is a thing of beauty! Here, we’re featuring Lacinato kale to make a fresh, citrus-forward Lemon Kale Caesar Salad! Homemade croutons absolutely necessary!
You’ll love this nutrient-dense twist on a traditional caesar salad, as kale is one of the healthiest leafy greens you can get your hands on! It’s heart healthy, supports immunity, is vitamin rich, low in calories, and full of potassium.
You also may want to check out our shaved Brussels Sprout Caesar salad with truffle (literally the best salad on the planet!), grilled Romaine with lemon caesar vinaigrette dressing, our broccoli Caesar salad, or these chicken patties that are flavored with Caesar vinaigrette! Can you tell we love Caesar salads?
What You’ll Need To Make This At Home
First, you’ll need a batch of our homemade Caesar dressing or your favorite store-bought brand. We make our Caesar dressing with mayonnaise (have you ever had Duke’s? our fav!), anchovies, fresh chopped parsley, lemon juice, grated Parmesan cheese, a minced garlic clove, and Dijon mustard. This is 100x better than store-bought, seriously!!, so if you’ve got time it’s absolutely worth the extra effort. Full instructions here!
The other ingredients are straightforward and simple!
- Lacinato kale, also called Tuscan kale is our preference, but certainly you could use curly kale too!
- Homemade croutons! Sourdough, whole wheat boule, ciabatta, rye, baguette — you can use any type of bread (even sliced white bread!) to make croutons at home. We love the tangy taste of sourdough. You’ll also need extra virgin olive oil and a bit of Kosher salt.
- Lemon zest
- Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
How To Clean Kale
First, make sure to wash the kale leaves under cool water to remove any dirt or grit. Pat dry with paper towels.
Next, you’ll want to remove the stems, as they’re pretty tough and hard to eat raw. Hold onto the kale stem with your dominant hand at the base of the leaf, then use your other hand to wrap around the kale, gripping tightly, and slide the leafy part of the green off of the stem. You’ll use a bit of force to pull off the leaves, but once you practice, it’s really easy.
After discarding all the stems, lay 5 or 6 kale leaves on top of each other, then roll them up tightly like you would to chiffonade basil. Use a sharp knife to thinly slice the leaves into ¼ – ½” thick strips.
How To Make Lemon Kale Caesar Salad
- Massage the kale. Place prepped kale in a large bowl, then drizzle with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Use your hands to massage the oil into the kale. This will help to break down some of the tough, fibrous bits of kale, making it easier to chew and digest.
- Toast the croutons. Preheat an oven to 375F. Place bread cut into ½” cubes on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp EVOO and ½ tsp Kosher salt, then toss well. Cook for 7-9 minutes, or until croutons are crispy. Set aside.
- Dress the salad, then serve. Drizzle on as much Caesar salad dressing as you like (we recommend starting with ⅓ cup), then add croutons, shaved Parmesan cheese, lemon zest, flaky sea salt, and black pepper. Use tongs to thoroughly toss, then serve immediately. We like to finish with an extra sprinkle of flaky sea salt and serve with lemon wedges!
For another hearty kale salad, you might like our kale and quinoa salad!
Tips For The Best Kale Caesar
- Caesar salad dressing will keep for up to 1 week in a fridge. Make sure to store your homemade salad dressing in an airtight container! If you’d rather use a lighter vinaigrette, try our Kale Salad Dressing!
- Serving this lemon kale caesar salad to people who aren’t big fans of kale? Use half romaine lettuce and half kale, just like Chick-Fil-A!
- Short on time? Buy pre-washed, chopped kale from the store!
- Want to add more protein? Try adding grilled chicken breast or pan seared shrimp!
- Try wrapping the lemon kale Caesar salad in a large spinach or sun dried tomato wrap for an easy lunch!
More Kale Recipes
If you love fresh kale, be sure to check out our skillet chicken with kale and white beans, tomato and white bean kale soup, and our easy kale gnocchi. And how insanely delicious does this kale reuben look?!
So excited for you guys to try this at home! If you make this Lemon Kale Caesar Salad recipe, please let us know by leaving a review and rating below!
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More salad recipes to try!
Lemon Kale Caesar Salad Recipe
- 1 large bunch Lacinato kale ribs and stems removed, leaves ripped or cut into 1-2" pieces
- ⅓ – ½ cup homemade Caesar dressing or store-bought Caesar salad
- 2 cups sourdough cut into ¼ – ½" cubes
- 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil divided
- ½ tsp Kosher salt
- 1 lemon zested, about 1 tsp
- ½ tsp flaky sea salt plus more for serving
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ⅓ cup Parmigiano Reggiano shaved
- Lemon wedges optional, for serving
- Toast the croutons. Preheat an oven to 375F. Place bread on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp EVOO and ½ tsp Kosher salt, then toss well. Cook for 7-9 minutes, or until croutons are crispy. Set aside.
- Massage the kale. Place prepped kale in a large bowl, then drizzle with remaining 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Use your hands to massage the oil into the kale.
- Toss, then serve. Drizzle ⅓ cup of Caesar dressing (or up to ½ cup) on top of kale, then add croutons, ⅓ cup shaved Parmesan, 1 tsp lemon zest, ½ tsp flaky sea salt, and ¼ tsp black pepper. Use tongs to thoroughly toss, then serve immediately. We like to finish with an extra sprinkle of flaky sea salt and serve with lemon wedges!
- Caesar salad dressing can be made up to 5 days in advance.
Let us know your thoughts!