#greenslove: Peppery Kale Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons

Kale Caesar Salad//The Spicy RDPeppery Kale Caesar Salad w/ homemade gluten-free croutons.

March is one of my favorite times of year here in Southern California.

Strawberries dripping with juicy goodness are coming in to season…

Delosperma cooperi starts blanketing the San Diego Freeway in all its hot fuschia colored glory…

And the normally golden hued hillsides are swathed in spring green for at least the next month or so…

So, naturally, I find it very fitting that this month’s love bloghop, #greenslove, is dedicated to that super nutritious category of veggies we call greens.

If you’ve visited my website before, or have been following my blog for awhile, you probably realize that when it comes to dispensing dietary advice, I’m all about personalized nutrition, and completely eschew the notion that there is a “one size diet that fits all”.

Vegan…Gluten-Free…Mediterranean…Paleo…Vegetarian…Flexitarian…

If it works for you, and you feel healthy and are meeting your individual nutritional needs, then I say go for it!

Sure, there are foods you’ll be eating on a paleo diet that you won’t be on a vegan diet, and vice versa, but one thing common to all these diets is that plenty of green leafy vegetables are encouraged!

And, the leafy green I chose for this months #greenslove bloghop, is one that has become my favorite leafy green this past year.

Kale.

It’s hard for me to imagine it, but it was only a little over one year ago that I was just starting to get caught up in the kale craze.

Since then, I have made kale chips, sauteed kale, creamy triple pepper and kale dip, an orange, blueberry, kale smoothie, and, one of my absolute favorites, kale pasta salad with pistachio nuts.

And, today, thanks to a recent snow mobiling excursion in Mammoth, I bring you Peppery Kale Casear  Salad with Homemade Croutons.

SiSi and I in all our snow mobilizing glory.  It was the first time for both of us and it was a blast!

Quickly, the story goes like this…

On our recent family trip to Mammoth, we had the pleasure of dining at The Yodler, Mammoth’s legendary Apres ski bar, on two occasions.  The first night, my friend Lourdes ordered their Kale Caesar Salad, and although I did not try any, my mouth was watering just looking at it.  Lourdes later declared it “fabulous.”

So, a couple days later, right before we were to go snow mobiling, we had lunch with our friends at The Yoedler. I was smart this time and ordered my own Kale Caesar Salad {sans croutons}.  The food took awhile to arrive and we were told we had to be at the snow mobiling site by 2:00 pm or else the snow mobiling tour would LEAVE WITHOUT US!

SO…about 4 bites in to my pepper laced kale, I had to abandon my salad {it was SO good}, and rush myself and the kids to the car so we could change in to our after-ski-boots.  My friend Vinita, who was still waiting for her own lunch to arrive and who had already donned her after-ski-boots had a little more time on her hands.

So she ate my salad.

Nice friend, huh? :-)

Well, Vinita also declared it to be delicious, so I knew then and there, that I would have to re-create this healthy and delicious caesar salad on my own, so I could enjoy more than 4 bites.

You can never go wrong with lots of freshly ground pepper IMO!

Here’s the recipe…

Peppery Kale Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons

Kale Caesar Salad with Homemade Pepper Garlic Croutons

Yield: 4 servings

Calories per serving: 515

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bread, crusts trimmed and cut in to cubes {Regular or gluten-free bread}
  • 1/2 cup, plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced and divided
  • Salt and lots of ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 12 cups kale, washed and chopped
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. To make the croutons: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Trim crusts from bread and cut bread in to cubes. In a bowl, combine 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 clove minced garlic, and lots of ground pepper. Place bread cubes in bowl, and using hands, toss in olive oil mixture until well coated. Spread bread cubes on a foil lined baking sheet and bake in oven for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  2. To make the dressing: In a blender, combine lemon juice, egg yolks*, 1 clove of garlic and mustard, and blend for approximately 30 seconds or until smooth. While the blender is running, add the olive oil slowly until it is emulsified. Season with salt to taste. Refrigerate the dressing unless using it right away.
  3. To assemble salad: Place chopped kale in a salad bowl. Pour dressing on top, then add parmesan cheese and toss until kale is well coated with dressing and cheese.
  4. To serve: Divide salad on to 4 plates, then top with crutons and fresh ground pepper.

Notes

I used Udi's gluten-free bread for my breadcrumbs.

*Please use caution when consuming raw eggs due to the potential risk of salmonella or other food-borne illness. If you are pregnant, your immune system is compromised, or you do not wish to use raw egg yolks, you can use pasteurized eggs, coddled eggs, or simply omit the egg yolks.

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FYI: If you want to learn more about why kale is such a nutritional powerhouse, check out this post: Veggie Experiment #2: K is for Kale!

Please join in on the #greenslove fun by linking up any leafy green recipe from the month of March 2012. Don’t forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #greenslove event! The twitter hashtag is #greenslove :).

Spreading a little #greenslove with my lovely co-hosts: ASTIG Vegan~Badger Girl Learns to Cook~ Baking and Cooking, A Tale of Two Loves ~BigFatBaker~Bon a croquer~CafeTerraBlog~Cake Duchess~Cheap Ethnic Eats~Easily Good Eats~Georgiecakes~Kitchen Belleicious~Mis Pensamientos~My Twisted Recipe~No One Likes Crumbley Cookies~Oh Cake~Queen’s Notebook~Rico sin Azucar~Savoring Every Bite ~Simply Reem~Soni’s Food for Thought~Sprint 2 the Table ~Teaspoon of Spice ~That Skinny Chick Can Bake~The Art of Cooking Real Food~The Wimpy Vegetarian~Vegan Yack Attack! ~Vegetarian Mamma~You Made That?~

More Delicious Salad Ideas…

Do you like Caesar Salad? What about kale? What’s your favorite way to eat greens? have you ever been on a snow mobile before???

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Comments

  1. Oh YUM!! I’m with you on the extra pepper when it comes to salads – I getting me a bunch ole bunch of kale next Trader Joe’s trip to make this.

  2. ahhhh my mouth is watering by looking at all the pepper and dressing on this kale salad! and those croutons are perfectly toasted! beautiful salad, EA! :D

  3. love those colorful peppers, croutons and pretty kale salad! so true about greens.. greens should be number 1 on daily intke requirements. we discovered Kale last year too.. so weird that we never heard of it before we started our transition to a vegan diet.. Kale should be more out there in restaurants too! its such a great greenie…

  4. Beautiful salad EA!Those peppers look so pretty and colorful and your dressing looks absolutely yummy!I can almost imagine the flavors in there!So glad to be hosting this #Greenslove with you :)

  5. Is there anything that can’t be improved with home made croutons?? Love this salad.

  6. Hi Spicy RD! What a beautiful recipe…Love the little cute homemade croutons :) Happy Greenlove to you!

  7. As always BEAUTIFUL photos. They make me want to make the salad now! And love the point about all diets need more greens! I’m super jealous of all the green things in your neck of the woods! Enjoy…and write about them so we can all enjoy! (:

  8. lovely! those croutons looks amazing! and as always, great looking photos!

  9. Those croutons look incredible! Great job on the salad, and I have to agree.. I love kale! :) Sending #greenslove your way!

  10. I may make this tonight with tomato soup, EA what’s your fave tomato soup recipe (I’m so greedy but thought I’d ask). Your recipes are always so good, I’ve been baking eggs and thinking of you. Um and it must be the kale you look like one of your daughter’s pals in the photo, I did a double take. I will circle back and read the other green love recipes.

    • Confession time…I often make Trader Joes Organic Cream of Tomato soup right out of the box! This week though, I’m trying out a Tomato Soup recipe that I posted on my latest weekly menu blog, so check it out. I’m flattered you think my 10 yo daughter and I could be buddies :-). Yep…must be the kale!

  11. Looks like you guys had a great time in Mammoth!!
    Love the pic of the peppers and the salad looks amazing =)

  12. That sounds WONDERFUL! I’m kind of obsessed with kale. :)

  13. How cool this is! I can’t wait to try it out. I eat a vegan diet, so I’d have to remove the eggs and make a vegan parm… I LOVE kale and the peppery croutons. Maybe I could use my peppery tempeh bits… it would be a #greenslove marriage! ;)

    Lots of #greenslove to you!!!

  14. Ooo wonderful food photography and even more wonderful recipe. Plus that #greenslove banner is pretty neat. Very inspiring post!

  15. I love kale, and the salad sounds wonderful! Love the #greenslove event! I’ll be back with a recipe! :)

  16. I’ve always loved caesar salad and this recipe just makes me want to do it right now. Love the touch of homemade croutons! Thanks for sharing some greenslove with us, EA !

  17. Lora @cakeduchess says:

    I adore cooking with kale and can’t wait to make your salad recipe. Delicious croutons…my kids would be thrilled if I made them. Lovely photos, EA:)

  18. This looks fabulous! I don’t experiment nearly enough with kale! I think this salad will be a great place to start! :)

  19. Just beautiful! I love love homemade croutons, and I love Udi’s bread! I always have cravings for Caesar salads, but I have never made one with kale. I believe I need to try my next salad with kale:-) Hugs, Terra

  20. looks great and pleased you got to make it again that snow mobiing looks fun though

  21. I am a salad addict… I can’t live without them! i eat one almost every day haha Love yours!

  22. Great looking salad EA! Love that you used homemade croutons. :)

  23. I love March here too but now you’re REALLy making me want to be in CA!

  24. Love the peppery kick to this ceasar salad!! And homemade crutons really tops it off soo nicely!!

  25. This sounds AMAZING!!! I have really been into kale lately, but strangely enough I have NEVER added it to salads. Can you believe it?! I need to. The texture is prefect for a big hearty salad. I think I’ve been missing out!

  26. This sounds so delicious. I have lunch once or twice a month with a good friend and she almost always orders caesar salad. I think next time I’ll just invite her over!

  27. Yum, I love kale salad, I make an awesome vegan caesar dressing and put it on all my greens…now I’m hungry ;)

    #greenslove

    Jen

  28. I looooove kale in all sorts of forms, and this salad looks so wonderful! Would you believe I’ve never made homemade croutons, by the way? Must change that soon!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] I am featuring this recipe as part of the #greenslove March bloghop, celebrating all things green and edible. Please click on the link to see what else [...]

  2. [...] from you! Please click here to leave a comment or ask a question, or leave a suggestion. And, if you enjoyed the post, please [...]

  3. [...] Kale Caesar Salad with grilled chicken. [...]

  4. [...] my family and friends that kale is not only super healthy, but DELICIOUS as well.  I served my Kale Caesar Salad at a dinner party last night, and there was not a speck left on anyone’s plate {and, no, the [...]

  5. [...] out of this Kale Caesar Salad at a dinner party.  Mr. Spicy and I hosted the dinner portion of a Progressive Party for 22 people [...]

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