The Caesar salad is an infamous salad. Sure, it’s got the word “salad” in it. But it’s probably the most unhealthy salad IN THE WORLD. Well, maybe aside from a candy salad. Which I’m not sure exists. But if it doesn’t, it totally should and I think I might have to be the person to invent it. Hold the phone. I just Googled it and obviously there’s already a candy salad on BuzzFeed. Not only does it have basically every kind of candy awesomeness in it ever, but it also has a chocolate syrup dressing. So, it’s been done. But I could probably do it better. My dressing would obviously be more complex and involve marshmallow fluff and peanut butter. Details, details.
Anyway. I think I made my point. That aside from a candy salad, a Caesar salad is the most unhealthy salad. Of course, there are ways of making them healthier. And I love vegetables as much as the next girl, but really, nobody wants a Caesar salad filled with cucumbers and tomatoes and carrots. That’s just not a Caesar. The real problem with a Caesar is that NOTHING about it has any nutritional value. The lettuce is usually iceberg and so, the salad is basically water with some creamy dressing and bread on top. Well, when you put it that way… I figured I could make one simple fix that would make a world of difference. So, I did. I simply switched the lettuce out for kale. And in doing so, added tons of fiber, calcium, and vitamins to my dinner. Plus, the dressing isn’t a horrible atrocity either. It has one egg in it. Lots of chipotle peppers for the best kick ever. And some extra virgin olive oil. Which I will always stand by as being a healthy addition to any diet.
Yay! Now you can totally have that candy salad for dessert! Seriously.
Chipotle Kale Casear Salad (serves 6):
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- 4 C chopped kale with ribs removed
- 3 garlic cloves
- 4 anchovies
- 2 chipotle peppers in adobo
- 1 T Dijon mustard
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 T lemon juice
- 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
- 1 batch garlic chili croutons (recipe below)
Garlic Chili Croutons:
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- 2 T extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- About 2 C cubed french bread
- 1 t chili powder
- Coarse salt
Clean and dry your kale. Remove the ribs, chop it and put it in a large bowl. I chose to use raw kale for this salad to maximize the health benefits. And because I love it.
The dressing is easy. Place all ingredients from the garlic cloves to the lemon juice in a blender.
And puree until smooth.
Some people get sketched out about adding a raw egg. I do not. I use a farm fresh egg and since it’s only one yolk in a big batch of dressing, I don’t worry. If you prefer not to use the raw egg, lots of people recommend a bit of mayonnaise instead.
Now slowly pour the olive oil into the dressing, while continuing to blend. Get it to a consistency that you like… You might need less than 1/4 C or more.
Now you’re ready to make some croutons! In a medium pan over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add garlic to pan and cook for about 30 seconds.
Add bread to pan and sprinkle with chili powder and coarse salt. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring gently with a wooden spoon.
Drizzle Caesar dressing over kale in bowl, trying to lightly coat as much kale as possible. Top with croutons.
Serve salad in individual bowls.
If you already love Caesar salad and like everything better with spice, you will love this. Chipotles are the best because they add a super flavorful heat, rather than just burning your mouth.
And there’s something even better about creamy chipotle… which is exactly what this dressing is.
Oh my gosh; the croutons, too. Croutons are one of those things where you put them on a salad and end up eating an entire extra bowl of them after you’re done with your salad. Oops? These ones are super garlic-y and the chili powder gives them a delightful touch.
If you’re hesitant about this because you’re not a huge fan of raw kale, I still think you might love this. The dressing softens the kale a bit and gives it a whole new flavor. I actually kind of forgot I was eating kale some of the time… which is both bad and good, depending on who you are and what you like.
And I like kale. And also candy salad. So, excuse me while I go whip some up.
What’s your favorite salad?