In the past few years it seems to be hail to the kale in grocery stores and on restaurant menus. Kale salads are available everywhere from the trendy DC restaurant Lincoln to the WaWa before the Bay Bridge. And now kale chips are much more widely available than just at health food stores. Maybe someday we’ll even see kale on the dollar menu at McDonalds!
My favorite way to enjoy kale is in a caesar salad. Caesar salad is pretty standard on restaurant menus, and the traditional version with romaine lettuce is tasty, but kale has more health benefits than lettuce (it has more iron than even beef!). I make kale caesars with lacinato kale — also sometimes called dinosaur or tuscan kale. It is flat and smooth and I find it a lot easier to eat than curly kale which is completely unruly on your fork and makes you feel like a slob. Kale is definitely tougher than lettuce but that’s why I think it’s complemented so well by caesar dressing, which is really creamy and flavorful. I generously dress this salad, even though I’m usually a light-on-the-dressing girl, so that the flavor balances out the vegetal toughness of naked kale. This dressing does not contain raw eggs, like a lot of caesar dressings. It’s also made with greek yogurt to boost protein. Don’t be intimidated by the anchovy paste. They sell it in squeeze tubes in most grocery stores and it DOES NOT make the dressing fishy. You won’t even know it’s in there. Spoiler Alert: It’s the secret ingredient in every real caesar dressing. Go crazy with toppings like radish slices, homemade croutons, hard-boiled eggs, or anything else!
1 large bunch Lacinato kale
¾ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. lemon juice/juice from a large lemon wedge
1 tsp.anchovy paste
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove
Wash kale leaves thoroughly in a colander. Especially organic kale can often contain little buggers, obviously, because it hasn’t been sprayed with pesticide. But no thank you to eating those little guys. Dry the kale thoroughly and tear out the stems. Tear or chop the kale into bite-size pieces and put into a large bowl.
For the dressing, combine all ingredients in a mini-blender or food processor and blend until smooth. spoon desired amount of dressing onto the kale and toss until fully combined. It’s best to let the salad sit for a while after dressing it. With most salads, the greens get soggy and wilted, but with tough kale you want the dressing to somewhat saturate the greens.
Note — You can keep the dressing in a container in the fridge for up to a week and a half and use it as needed on individual-size salads — these are great to take to work for lunch.