Just last night, for example, we were eating out for KC restaurant week and he got so excited when he saw that a kale salad was listed as one of the appetizer options and ate every last bite. (I ordered the gumbo.) Or the night before, when we cooked a big feast for everyone in his band, he offered to toss together a giant batch of his favorite chopped kale salad from Costco. (I made vodka cream pasta and flourless chocolate cake.) Or even when I made us dinner for a little date night “in” last week, he filled up mostly on this kale Caesar salad. (I went back for seconds on the roasted vegetable mac and cheese.)
His commitment to hail the kale is definitely impressive. (And, um, maybe a little humbling.) ;)
But hey, I love a good kale salad too. And I think we’d both say that the kale salad we were both obsessed with was one we tried a few months ago on our trip to Washington, D.C. Some friends had recommended we check out a local grab-n-go salad place called Sweetgreen, so we stopped there for a quick lunch when we first arrived in town. And oh man, we were not disappointed. Everything on the menu looked incredible, and I spent forever deciding what to order. But I’ll give you one guess what Barclay ordered.
Actually, it was one step better than your average kale salad.
He ordered a kale Caesar salad.
We’re both pretty obsessed with Caesar salads. But I must say, this one might have been my favorite Caesar salad yet. Both of us took a bite and absolutely loved it, but then cocked our heads wondering what it was we were tasting that seemed extra-special. I couldn’t figure it out until I looked at the menu again.
And then it all made sense.
Their Caesar dressing was made with lots of fresh lime juice instead of the usual squeeze of lemon! It probably shouldn’t have made that big of a difference, but lemme tell you, it did. And we couldn’t get enough of it. Actually, Barclay couldn’t get enough of it. I had thought we were going to switch salads halfway through, but when I asked if he was ready to swap, he didn’t really want to let go of the kale salad. ;) I don’t blame him.
Our salads at Sweetgreen. Mine was also awesome, but that kale salad was the winner. ;)
So instead, I decided to try and replicate this salad at home to make a huge one for us to share. And oh man, I’m happy to say that it was a delicious success.
The one thing missing from Sweetgreen’s Caesar salad was croutons. I’m a big believer that all Caesars need croutons. So I went the lazy route and toasted up some leftover French bread that had been drizzled with olive oil and Italian seasoning. Then smashed them up into tiny croutons…
…and added them to a big bowl full of kale, Romaine (I like mixing the greens), lots of fresh Parm, and my homemade Lime Caesar Dressing…
…and within minutes, this sweet bowl of greens was ready to go.
Just like Sweetgreen, I served our salads with some extra lime wedges on the side. (And unlike Sweetgreen, I nixed the cherry tomatoes that I don’t like on salads, although you’re welcome to add them in.) And just like our date at Sweetgreen, we both dove in.
Seriously, this salad was beyond delicious. And with all of that kale in there and my lighter Caesar dressing (made with Greek yogurt, and so much lime!), it was actually a Caesar salad we could feel better about enjoying. And going back for seconds. And maybe thirds. ;)
This Kale Caesar Salad is made with tons of fresh kale and Romaine, and tossed with lighter lime Caesar dressing, and trust me — it’s DELICIOUS.
Kale Caesar Salad Ingredients:
4 cups chopped fresh kale
4 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
2 cups croutons (*I just toasted some French bread and crumbled it afterwards, see instructions below)
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 batch Lime Caesar Dressing, below
optional: 1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
Lime Caesar Dressing Ingredients:
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used non-fat)
1/2 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
3–4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1–2 teaspoons anchovy paste, to taste
2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
pinch of black pepper
3–4 tablespoons milk
To Make The Kale Caesar Salad:
Add the kale, Romaine, croutons, Parmesan, dressing, and tomatoes (if using) to a large bowl. Toss until combined.
To Make The Lime Caesar Dressing:
Add all ingredients except milk to a small mixing bowl, and whisk together until combined and smooth. Whisk in a tablespoon of milk at a time until the dressing reaches your desired consistency.
Use immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days.
*To make easy croutons, just drizzle a few slices of old bread with olive oil (or brush with melted butter), and sprinkle with salt and Italian seasoning. Toast them up until crispy. Then either crumble them up with your hands, or use a knife to chop them into small pieces.
Just so sad I’m never in the GSO test kitchen during an epic salad discovery like this. Hail to the (kale) Caesar!
Yum. I have been craving a good Cesar salad lately! I bet the lime is delicious!
Thanks Emily, we hope you enjoy! :)
What a great twist on a traditional Cesar salad!
My husband is also very cool with kale. I think this will be a must-try on our next Italian night! Thank you so much for sharing.
You’re welcome Janice, we hope you both enjoy this! :)
I love Sweetgreens kale Cesar salad! I can’t wait to try your version of it!
Thanks Vanisha, we hope you enjoy! :D
My husband and I moved away from sweetgreen years ago, and he’s been craving this ever since. He’s made this twice now, and it’s so good! Exactly like he remembers. Thank you!
I currently live in a no kale household. I don’t eat it and my husband doesn’t. We are baby spinach people! lol. Maybe it’s becuase we weren’t seasoning it right?? Lime might just be the trick because this salad looks delicious!! I have to make my own croutons one of these days!! It’s gotta make the salad a little bit better! =)
Haha! We hope this salad can convert you Melanie – if not the kale, at least the homemade croutons! ;)
This salad excites me! Is that weird? I’m ok with it. And lime in the dressing sounds amaze! Pinned :)
Not weird at all, in fact, we vote for more salads to be exciting! ;D We hope you enjoy this one!
omg after moving away from DC, I miss Sweetgreen SO MUCH and I can’t wait to try this! Thank you :)
Thanks Rachel, we hope you love it! :)
Super cute post ;) I loved reading what you were making/eating/choosing while your man was choosing Kale.
I had the most amazing kale caesar salad at a restaurant a few months back and have been frantically searching for a recipe to match it! Thanks for the post – I can’t wait to make this!
You’re welcome Caitlin, we hope you love this one! :)
I am *obsessed* with Sweetgreen’s kale caesar salad. Theirs comes with chicken which I usually sub out for chickpeas. They also add these parmesan crisps were are highly addictive. I’m excited to try this recipe. And I love the crouton idea! :-)
Yes! I love sweetgreen’s kale ceasar and always ask for an extra squeeze of lime juice! Will definitely have to give this a try.
Awesome, then we hope you’ll love this one too Ashleigh! :D
Looks super tasty! I love kale salads.
Made this for dinner last night and it was so good!
We’re so glad you liked it Rina! :)
I have a question about the milk in the recipe. Does it matter about the % fat?
It doesn’t! :) We hope you enjoy this!
There’s a local restaurant that has the best kale salad, besides maybe yours, and it’s the first thing I order anytime I sit down for dinner there.
Josh | The Kentucky Gent
They can be hard to come by, can’t they?! We hope you’ll enjoy this one! :)
This looks incredibly delicious and refreshing! And the lime ceasar dressing sounds so tasty and unprocessed! :) Thanks for sharing!
Thank you Megan, we hope you enjoy it! :)
I have to say I have been anti kale for awhile. I had a kale salad in the Fall, which was delicious. This looks really similar. I am going to lift my ban on kale to try this recipe!
We hope this salad gets you back on kale! :D
I tried the dressing and while it was good, I could not get past the tang of the yogurt. I used a 2% plain fage which is creamy and less tangy than most greek yogurts….any suggestions for a substitute?
Hi Amy! We would suggest using sour cream instead, since it’s not quite as pronounced. We hope this helps!
I tried making this on my own months back but really struggled with the dressing. I thought yours tasted really close to Sweetgreen’s!
Thanks Becky! We’re so glad to hear that! :)
This is the BEST caesar salad ever!!!! My husband is obsessed (what?!). Much better than a mayo based caesar dressing. I’ve done it with shredded chicken and salmon also and it’s fabulous. Thank you!!!
Thank you Mary-Ella! We’re so happy you and your husband enjoyed it! :)
This looks super delicious. I am very new to kale so I am wondering what type you used? Also how did you chop it up?
Hi Alexandra! We used Dinosaur/Lacinato/Tuscan kale. It’s darker green and a bit softer than curly kale. We just down both sides of the stem (you can totally chop and eat the stem too if you like), and then we roll the leaves up top to bottom and chop in half. Sometimes we just tear it though. We hope you enjoy this! :)
Delicious! Upped the salt in the dressing a bit, but maybe more anchovy is the better solution. I had to use filets and mash them bit it was still amazingly easy! This is going into the regular dinner time rotation!
Thanks Melissa — we’re so glad you enjoyed it! :)
the instant I read the entire blog… my mouth got watery and I immediately looked in my pantry to see if I had all the ingredients… sadly I do not… very sad.. I am definitely making this tomorrow. thank you #hailkale
We hope you enjoy this Crisbel! :D
THIS. IS AMAZING. I made a batch last night to enjoy with my lunch and dinner all week. I used bagged kale to save time, and my blend had shredded Brussels sprouts included. I roasted the tomatoes before adding them to the salad. And this dressing? Nailed it. I omitted the milk (because I didn’t have any) and used additional lime juice to thin. This is a winner and a repeat! Thanks so much.
Thank you Rachel — we’re so happy you love this! :D
Quick question – Can you make the dressing without milk or do you know a good milk substitute? This salad looks amazing btw!
Thanks Whitney — we hope you enjoy it! And you could use water. :)
Though my (kale hating) husband would prefer just romaine, I absolutely LOVED this salad. And since he’s a Caesar fan, he’ll eat it anyway. ;)
Thanks, we’re glad you enjoyed it!
I just posted this salad in a “Badass Salad” roundup on my blog, and I just want to say 1) YUM and 2) Your blog name makes me SO happy
Laura @ Cook, Wine and Thinker!
Thanks for your sweet words Laura — we’re glad you like the blog! :)
I made it and it was delicious!
We’re glad you enjoyed it Gayatri!
Thinking about making this and adding chicken for a healthy lunch. Do you know how many calories this has in it per serving? Thanks in advance!!
Hey there! We’re sorry but we are unsure of the nutrition facts/amount of calories in this recipe. We currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site, as the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!
I made this today on a hot summer day and it was awesome! I added some grape tomatoes and separated some of the parm cheese to sprinkle on top. Summer in a bowl.
Thanks for sharing with us Sheryl! We’re glad you enjoyed it and we think the tomatoes are an excellent addition!
O M G…… I just ate and now I am hungry all over again! I too am a huge fan of kale salads (well, to be honest kale in any form, but especially in salads!), and though I will have to tweak this a trifle due to my allergy to all things that come from cow milk, I foresee this appearing in my kitchen this weekend!!!! Happily I just purchased some goat yogurt at my local health food store and some Pecorino Romano (a sheep milk cheese) with which to sub for two of the dairy no-nos – I can do sheep and goat cheeses and yogurts if I don’t overdo it – but alas, not their milk so coconut-almond milk to the rescue! I plan to totally cheat on my Paleo diet and go for the croutons too ;-) The summer heat is seriously on here in Florida, and this salad might well be my staple meal until October! Thank you!!!!! <3
Hi Sylvia! We hope you get a chance to make this soon and that you enjoy it! Stay cool! :)
Oh gosh…we tried this last night and it was DELICIOUS. The addition of lime is incredible. This will my new go-to caesar. Thank you so much for sharing!
Thanks for sharing, Laura — we’re so glad you loved it! :)
Two words: THE. LIME. The lime juice made this salad I think. This is my go-to salad now. For timing purposes I just use the Bolthouse Caesar dressing but when I have extra time the dressing is incredible. You have taught me to love kale!!!
Awww, YAY! So happy to hear it! :)
I love kale, the first time I had this kind of salad my father in law made it, and when I tried to replicate it I failed miserably, so it really turned me off. This recipe gave me hope to try again. Thanks!!!
We’re glad to hear that, Kristi, we hope you enjoy it!
I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve eaten this every day for two weeks. It’s SO easy and so good. Making it again for a big family dinner tomorrow, too!
Thanks for sharing, Patricia, we’re so happy you love it! :D
Great! Fresh tasting, easy and delicious. Left out anchovy paste and replaced with capers.
Thank you, we’re so glad you enjoyed it, Jami!
Totally obsessed with so many of your recipes and this looks amazing- sweetgreen is an nyc favorite of mine too!
Question: for those of us who are a bit… grossed out by anchovy paste (the idea of a fish in paste form just turns me off LOL)- any suggestions for a substitute??? I’m always looking for a great Caesar dressing sub that isn’t vegan but also isn’t fish-pastey!
Every Sunday I pack my (work) lunches for the week. Typically I make 5 of the same thing to make things easy. But usually by Wednesday I’m bored with my lunch. Guess what! I’m on week 3 of making this salad for my lunches. Thanks for sharing this. :) The kale holds up so great and the croutons add a perfect crunch.
YAY, so happy to hear it! :)
So glad I found a new way to enjoy kale. I even enjoyed the leftovers the next day. Thank you for the recipe.
I am a Caesar salad snob and absolutely LOVE this recipe!
I have used it over and over and make the dressing in advance at home to take on vacation with us.
The dressing lasts several days in the refrigerator.
It is easy to make and everyone loves it.
Thanks for the recipe!
Love this recipe! Great way to prepare kale! I could eat the whole bowl.
Freaking delicious…10 out of 10!
This was CRAZY good!!!
Excellent salad. I massaged the kale with a bit of the dressing first and it was delish.
Did not use the tomatoes. Will be definitely making this again.
Loved this salad recipe.
Omg!! Made this tonight for dinner and ate every last bite. My fiancé, a devoted Caesar hater, devoured it! Thank you for sharing this recipe :)
This was easy and delicious! I add shrimp or chicken and my whole family loves it. Thank u for a great recipe!
Loved this recipe. Great taste, and easy! Had no romaine on hand so used mixed greens and spinach. Added extra garlic and anchovy. The dressing was so good. The lime brightens it up, so fresh and tasty!
This one is a keeper!
Thanks for posting.
This is my go to salad now! It is incredibly delicious. Our dinner guests loved it, too! Outrageously good!! A must try recipe.