Caesar salad is a dish offered in many Italian restaurants found in North America, but it may surprise some, that it is a salad you will never find in Italy. This popular salad is said to have been created by Caesar Cardini, an Italian chef who owned restaurants in Mexico. In fact, Julia Child has stated that she enjoyed eating caesar salad at Cardini’s restaurant when she was a child in the 1920’s. Caesar salad usually contains garlic, raw or slightly coddled eggs, croutons, romaine lettuce, anchovies, parmesan cheese, olive oil, lemon juice and black pepper.
I love to prepare Caesar salad every once in a while and often serve it as a starter on pizza night when I’m entertaining guests. Although I always enjoy this salad prepared using the original recipe, I recently discovered a healthier variation at a local restaurant here in Florida that used a combination of kale and romaine lettuce, topped with a light dressing featuring fat-free Greek yogurt in place of the eggs. The addition of kale and use of whole grain croutons improves the nutritional profile of this salad, and the yogurt used in the dressing as well as the turkey bacon reduce the calories from fat. To make this salad into a complete meal, you can top it with a six-ounce portion of grilled chicken or salmon, but I also enjoy it as shown for lunch with some chopped boiled egg. I find that many folks find a salad made solely with kale a little too “green,” so I mix men with some romaine lettuce, but if you love kale like I do, feel free to use all kale in place of the combination. If you are new to using raw kale in salads, try massaging the leaves with your fingers for a minute or two before tossing them with the rest of the ingredients as it will soften the leaves and make them more tender.
Deborah Mele 2016
Lighter Kale Caesar Salad
- 6 Cups Kale Leaves, Ribs Removed and Sliced Into 1-inch Wide Strips
- 2 Head Romaine Lettuce Hearts, Cut Crosswise Into 1-inch Wide Strips
- 1 Cup Whole Grain Croutons, Cut Into Coarse Pieces
- 1/4 Cup Turkey Bacon Bits
- 1/3 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese, Divided
- 2 Hard Boiled Eggs, Chopped
- 1/3 Cup Fat Free Greek Yogurt
- 2 Anchovy Fillets (Or 1 Teaspoon Anchovy Paste)
- 1 Garlic Clove, Peeled
- 3 Tablespoons Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
- 2 Teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- Toss together the salad ingredients including half the grated parmesan in a large bowl.
- Place the dressing ingredients into a small bowl, and use a hand immersion blender to create a smooth emulsion.
- Toss the salad ingredients with half the dressing along with the remaining parmesan cheese until the leaves are well coated.
- Serve the salad, passing the remaining dressing at the table.