Sunday, February 26, 2017

Kale Caesar Salad

I consider a traditional caesar salad a treat, rather than a healthy accompaniment to a meal.  What's not to like?  Copious amounts of creamy dressing, rich cheese, croutons, and just enough lettuce to call it a "salad."  However, since we like caesar salads so much, I decided to move this salad out of "treat zone" and into "every day delicious" by bringing a few more nutritious players to the table: a reasonable portion of homemade dressing, vitamin-rich kale, colorful red onion, and filling protein. (And don't forget the croutons!)

YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads

  • 1/4 c mayonnaise
  • 1/4 c finely-grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled, and quartered
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, grilled or roasted
  • 2 bunches kale, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • edible flowers (optional)
  • 1 cup croutons

  1. Make the caesar dressing: combine the mayonnaise, parmesan, lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper in a pint-sized mason jar.  Puree and emulsify the dressing using a handheld stick blender.  (Alternately, puree and emulsify the dressing ingredients in a blender or mini food processor.)
  2. Pack the salads: divide the dressing evenly among 4 tall quart-sized containers.  Layer the onion, egg, chicken, kale, and edible flowers (if using) in the jars.  Divide the croutons evenly among 4 snack-size zip-top bags for each salad.  Refrigerate until serving.
  3. Enjoy your salad: invert your salad onto a plate or into a bowl.  Top with croutons.
TIME-SAVING TIPS: Substitute your favorite prepared caesar-style dressing for the homemade dressing  Substitute 10 oz pre-washed baby kale for the regular kale.

SPECIAL DIET SWAPS:  For a vegetarian salad, omit the chicken, increase the hard-boiled eggs to 4, and use vegan worcestershire sauce in the dressing.  For a vegan salad, make all of the vegetarian swaps, plus substitute your favorite vegan mayo and vegan parmesan crumbles in the dressing, and grilled or broiled tofu for the hard-boiled egg.  For a gluten-free salad, omit the croutons or make homemade croutons from your favorite gluten-free bread, and use dressing ingredients labeled gluten-free.  This salad is nut-free as-is.

Food styling, photography, and infographics by Robert Campbell.

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