Jump to Recipe

Chipotle Kale Caesar Salad

This Chipotle Kale Caesar Salad is packed with all the flavor of a Caesar salad, with a little extra nutrition from the kale and a nice spicy kick from chipotle peppers!

Chipotle kale Caesar salad in a white bowl on a red and yellow placemat and white surface with fork and large bowl of salad in the background and "Chipotle Kale Caesar Salad" text

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. And it’s been done well. But I could probably do it better. My dressing would obviously be far more complex and involve marshmallow fluff and peanut butter. The details are important, my friends.

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 cheese 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 altering the regular Caesar to a kale Caesar salad, I 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. And a couple 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, do it. But please bring me some, too.


Caesar salad dressing is really easy to make. This one is pretty basic, but with the addition of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. You can adjust the amount used depending on how much you like heat. You’ll want to process all the ingredients in your blender and then slowly pour in the extra virgin olive oil until you get a nice creamy consistency. And try not to drink it right from the blender. OK, that might be kind of gross, so please don’t do that.

Collage showing chipotle Caesar salad dressing making process with all ingredients in the blender and then all ingredients processed in the blender

Are raw eggs safe to eat?

Now, here’s where you could get into a whole debate about whether or not you should be using a raw egg in your Caesar salad dressing. I’ve eaten many raw eggs in my day (mainly in Caesar dressing and ice cream) and never worry, but this is a personal decision that should be up to you as there’s always a risk. When I’m incorporating raw eggs into my food, I make sure to use organic free-range eggs and I always keep my eggs in the fridge and wash the outside of the eggshell before cracking. These days, the risk of an egg being contaminated withย Salmonella is actually quite low (here’s an interesting article that dives into this a bit). That said, it’s recommended to avoid feeding raw eggs to infants, the elderly, pregnant women, and anyone who is immune-compromised. And if you prefer not to use the raw egg in this recipe, lots of people recommend using a bit of mayonnaise instead.

OK, aside from making the dressing, the only other thing you need for this salad is the croutons! Sometimes I bake my bread for croutons, but this time I decided to pan fry them. Pan frying croutons makes for extra crispy golden little bites.

Collage showing garlic chili crouton making process, including garlic in frying pan, cubed bread in frying pan, and cubed bread toasted golden in frying pan

Once the Caesar dressing and croutons are made, drizzle the dressing over the kale, trying to lightly coat as much kale as possible. And top with croutons. Sprinkle on some parmesan cheese, too.

Closeup of chipotle kale Caesar salad on red towel with fork in the background

If you already love Caesar salad and tend to enjoy everything better with extra spice, you will love this chipotle kale Caesar salad. Chipotles are the best because they add a super flavorful heat, rather than just burning your mouth. Also, there are only a couple of them in this dressing, so it’s not enough to totally blow you away with spiciness.

Horizontal photo of chipotle kale Caesar salad on red, yellow, and blue towel, with fork in the background

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. Just me? Oops? These ones are super garlic-y and the chili powder gives them a delightful touch.

Closeup photo from above of chipotle kale Caesar salad on red towel with fork in back

If you’re hesitant about this chipotle kale Caesar salad 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, especially when you massage it a bit. 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.

Chipotle kale Caesar salad in a white bowl on a red and yellow placemat and white surface with fork and large bowl of salad in the background

And I like kale. A lot. But I also think I’d like candy salad. So, excuse me while I go whip some up. Considering I just packed in a ton of nutrients with this chipotle kale Caesar salad, I totally deserve one, right?

Have you ever replaced lettuce with kale in a salad?

If you like this Chipotle Kale Caesar Salad recipe, check out my Bacon Cheeseburger Kale Salad and my Brussels Sprouts Bacon Caesar Salad. I also can’t wait to try this Grilled Caesar Salad from Never Not Hungry.

Chipotle Kale Caesar Salad
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
25 mins

This Chipotle Kale Caesar Salad is packed with all the flavor of a Caesar salad, with a little extra nutrition from the kale and a nice spicy kick from chipotle peppers!

Course: Entree, Side
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Caesar Salads, Healthy Salads, Kale Salads
Servings: 6 servings (as a side dish)
Author: Sues
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 4 anchovies
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups kale, cleaned, ribs removed, and chopped roughly
  • 1 batch garlic chili croutons (recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Garlic Chili Croutons
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups cubed french bread
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • Coarse salt
  1. Put garlic, anchovies, chipotle peppers, dijon mustard, egg yolk, and lemon juice in a blender and puree until smooth.

  2. Slowly pour olive oil into the dressing, while continuing to blend, until you reach desired consistency. You may need a little less than 1/4 cup. 

  3. Place chopped kale in a large bowl and drizzle Caesar dressing over it, trying to lightly coat as much kale as possible. Use your hands to gently massage the dressing into the kale for a more tender kale. Top salad with croutons and shredded parmesan cheese.

Garlic Chili Croutons
  1. In a medium pan over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add garlic to pan and cook for about 30 seconds.

  2. Add bread to pan and sprinkle with chili powder and coarse salt. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring gently with a wooden spoon, until crispy.

  3. Discard garlic and let croutons cool.

Chipotle Kale Caesar Salad -- This salad is packed with all the flavor of a Caesar salad, with a little extra nutrition from the kale and a nice spicy kick from chipotle peppers | wearenotmartha.com #caesar #salad #kale #chipotle #croutons

15 Responses to "Chipotle Kale Caesar Salad"

  1. Joanne says:

    Adding kale to any dish instantly makes it into a superfood, I’m convinced! Which is why I throw it into everything. ๐Ÿ™‚ The spice in this sounds awesome…it would definitely get me more excited about a Caesar!

  2. Simply Life says:

    I love the healthier version of this ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Leah | So, How's It Taste? says:

    Caesar has always been my favorite. I like to add chicken to it, too. Kale has been front & center in my life lately, so I’m loving that you changed this up to using it! And I cannot wait for you to make candy salad. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Ashley Bee (Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine) says:

    I was never big on Cesar salads but when I worked at Bertucci’s I used to steal the dressing to dunk rolls in… so, basically a Cesar salad without the lettuce?

  5. Ashley says:

    Such a great idea to switch to kale! I’ve been a little kale junkie for the past few months (mainly to try to help out my poor immune system) and appreciate a new way to prepare it.
    I’m also in love with your purple bamboo bowl! Want!
    And I’m down for some candy salad, please! Got to balance out all the healthy kale, right?

  6. Michelle Collins says:

    I love a simple arugula salad!

  7. Odetta says:

    I love the look of this! Kale is better than iceberg any day!

  8. Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef says:

    what a great salad! yum!

  9. Tin says:

    wow! everything from scratch even the croutons! love it ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Gia Grossman says:

    Seriously loving this from the spicy to the kale. Dinner this weekend at some point for sure!

  11. Deanna Segrave-Daly says:

    I love me a good Caesar salad but like you said – never really healthy. Looking forward to making your version (great pics too ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Susan says:

    I have to admit I love Caesar salad! What a wonderful, healthy version and not lacking in any flavor either.

  13. Erica says:

    I love Caesar salad!! I don’t use the caesar dressing though…so I guess its not REALLY a caesar salad…any who. Your version sounds totally interesting. I want those croutons!

  14. Jen@Twenty-Something and Starving says:

    What’s my favorite salad? This. This right here has become officially my new favorite salad of all time and forever. I put chipotles in everything (it’s kind of a problem) annnnnnnnd sometimes I say “oh hey i’m totally going to make this recipe” and wind up forgetting about it or wait a few weeks. I’m making this tonight. So thank you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Mexican cuisine says:

    wow, this is a healthy treat. loving it, i could make this everyday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *