Layers of homemade dressing and crunchy bacon croutons make up this Kale Caesar Salad Recipe. Not only does it make for a hearty appetizer, but the leftovers last all week in the fridge! Perfect for meal prep and potlucks.Jump to Recipe
Recipe For Kale Caesar Salad
A classic caesar salad with creamy dressing, crunchy croutons, and crispy bacon is the perfect pairing for Spaghetti, Caprese Chicken, or Tuscan Salmon. The only downfall? There isn’t much nutrition and the soggy romaine does not make for great leftovers.
Add a little more nutrition and life to your meal with this Kale Caesar Salad Recipe. The long-lasting kale leaves make this rich and buttery salad the perfect option to bring to potlucks or for Sunday meal prep. Plus, with the homemade caesar dressing and crispy bacon croutons, the flavors go from good to great!
I truly can’t get enough of this easy kale caesar salad recipe. I can fully assemble it (dressing and all) to bring to family cookouts, or snack on the leftovers all week long. Plus, with my favorite sliced baked chicken on top, it’s a filling, light, and healthy meal!
Which Kale Is Best For Kale Caesar Salad?
Kale is a healthy leafy green that comes in a few varieties with the most popular being curly and flat-leafed. The best kale for caesar salad is lacinato (or dinosaur) kale because the flat leaves don’t take as much effort to soften. Curly kale (green or red) is a great choice too!
Kale Caesar Ingredients
- Kale – I much prefer kale to the traditional romaine lettuce in a caesar salad. Not only is this leafy green loaded with nutrients, but the leaves hold their texture longer. This makes a kale caesar salad perfect for meal preppers!
- Caesar dressing – My Classic Homemade Caesar Dressing is so creamy, peppery, and way better than storebought. It’s easy to make with only 7 ingredients and you can store it away for up to 2 weeks.
- Parmesan – A strong, fresh cheese gives the kale salad a touch of creaminess and salt. Freshly shaved parmesan is best!
- Bacon croutons – This is what really makes the salad special. Toasting homemade croutons in bacon fat gives this salad so much richness and an unforgettable bite. Plus, the crispy bacon pieces add a nice crunch!
How Do You Make Kale Caesar Salad?
- Massage the kale: Place the washed and cut kale in a large bowl. Pour some of my Classic Homemade Caesar Dressing on top and use your hands or 2 forks to rub and massage the dressing into the leaves.
- Make the bacon croutons: Crisp the bacon pieces in a skillet over medium heat. Transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate, then toast the bread pieces in the same skillet with the bacon fat. Toss them often until the croutons are crisp.
- Assemble the salad: Place the dressed kale on a serving platter and top with bacon pieces, croutons, and shaved parmesan. Add a little more dressing if you like, or serve right away!
How Do You Soften Kale For A Salad?
Is raw kale a little too bitter for your taste? Not to worry! Use your fingers to gently rub and massage the homemade caesar dressing into the leaves. After a few minutes, the kale will soften, tenderize, and be much more enjoyable to eat.
Kale Salad Variations
Add your own personal touch to this caesar salad recipe by using different flavors or ingredients. Here are some of my favorite ways to change it up:
- Not a fan of bacon fat? Toss the croutons in a skillet with melted butter instead.
- To make a vegan kale caesar salad, swap the homemade dressing for a vegan alternative, use crispy chickpea croutons, and vegan bacon instead.
- Make your kale salad a little more hearty by adding avocado chunks, grilled chicken breast, hard-boiled eggs, chicken kabobs, chickpeas, hemp hearts, or tofu.
Can I Make It Ahead Of Time?
Kale is one of the best greens to use in meal prep dishes, like an easy kale salad, because it holds its texture so well! Dressed and massaged kale stores nicely in the fridge for up to 3 days. Pair the salad with baked chicken or roasted salmon for healthy and filling lunches all week long!
More Savory Salad Recipes
Did you try this Kale Caesar Salad Recipe? Let me know what you think in the comments below, or share a picture on Instagram! I love to share all of your recreations on my page.
Kale Caesar Salad Recipe
- 1 bunch kale, I prefer Lacinato (dinosaur/tuscan) Kale, stem removed and finely chopped
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese, freshly shaved
- 4 tbsp Classic Homemade Caesar Dressing
- 6 pieces thick-cut bacon, cut into 1” pieces or replace with 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 ½ cup bread, torn into smaller pieces
Kale Caesar Salad
- Remove the stems from the kale. Rinse and pat dry or spin in a salad spinner.
- Slice into 1/4 inch pieces and place them in a large bowl.
- In a pan, add 1” bacon pieces and cook until they're crisped to your liking. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.
- In the same pan with the bacon fat, cook the torn pieces of bread until toasted and browned. Toss often to coat with bacon fat. If you don’t like bacon, use unsalted butter instead.
- Pour my Classic Homemade Caesar Dressing over top. Massage the leaves with your hands until they're wilted and softe. Let the dressing and kale sit for at least 5-10 minutes while you make the bacon and croutons.
- Add the dressed salad to a serving platter and add the bacon pieces, croutons, and freshly shaved parmesan on top. Enjoy with your favorite protein.