Caesar salad is one of those ubiquitous dishes you can find almost anywhere. It’s popular for good reason, too — it tastes so good! But let’s be honest. Even though it has “salad” in the name, a typical Caesar salad isn’t the best for you.
Until you meet my kale Caesar salad. We keep the basics — greens and that finger-lickin’ dressing — and then turn it up a notch. With salmon, apple slices and cheese, this is one healthy Caesar salad you won’t be able to get enough of.
Why Regular Caesar Salad Isn’t All That Good for You
Did you know that Caesar salad is actually named after a chef, Caesar Cardini, who created the dish in a rush to throw together a salad with the ingredients on hand? And he did well. Caesar salads are super tasty. Sadly, there’s not much to them.
With just romaine lettuce, croutons, a creamy dressing and Parmesan cheese, there’s a serious lack of filling, fiber-rich ingredients or protein (aka the things that will help you feel full and satiated). It’s no surprise that you’re likely to be hungry soon after eating a regular Caesar salad.
Additionally, a classic Caesar salad is about 200 calories per cup. That doesn’t sound too bad until you realize that a restaurant serving of Caesar is about triple or quadruple that amount and, aside from the lettuce, there’s not too much nutritional value. Yikes! Not so with this kale Caesar.
This Caesar salad makeover is the salad you didn’t know you were missing, and it’s so good for you! In each serving of salad with the cashew cream dressing, you’ll get:
- 542 calories
- 20.59 grams protein
- 38.21 grams fat
- 37.81 grams carbohydrates
- 7 grams fiber
- 1.723 milligrams copper (191 percent DV)
- 2.779 milligrams manganese (154 percent DV)
- 114.6 micrograms vitamin K (127 percent DV)
- 7.24 milligrams zinc (91 percent DV)
- 1589 IU vitamin A (68 percent DV)
- 35.7 milligrams vitamin C (48 percent DV)
- 5.71 milligrams vitamin E (39 percent DV)
First, we’ll swap out some of the romaine lettuce for baby kale. You’ll get the superfood’s supply of vitamins A, C and K thanks to this simple swap, along with its anti-inflammatory benefits and antioxidants. Kale is awesome for your heart — it lowers cholesterol — and helps get rid of toxins in the body. All hail the kale in this healthy salad!
A fun addition to this kale Caesar salad is the wild-caught salmon. I love using this oily fish instead of chicken to bulk up the salad for a ton of reasons. Salmon is packed with vitamins, especially B vitamins and vitamin D, and it’s one of my favorite anti-inflammatory foods.
But best of all, salmon is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. Our bodies need omega-3s to stay healthy, but we’re not able to produce them on our own. That means we have to seek out foods that are rich in the fatty acids. Omega-3s are fantastic at helping our heart keep ticking, keeping our brains sharp and even reducing the risk of cancer.
Not getting enough of this essential fatty acid can result in inflammation, allergies, a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline — especially as we age. In other words, you want to ensure you’re getting enough omega-3s!
Luckily, salmon is chock-full of the stuff, but be sure you’re opting for wild-caught salmon and not the farmed variety. Farmed fish have less nutrients than their wild counterparts and are more likely to have antibiotics, pesticides and other toxins.
One of my favorite changes in this kale Caesar salad is the addition of thin-sliced green apple. One of the best aspects of croutons is the crunch it adds to an otherwise limp salad, but it has no real nutritional value. Adding crisp apple slices provides a delicious crunch that’s also good for you.
How to Make Kale Caesar Salad
You can make this Caesar salad as a side dish or serve it as a main; it’s that good. Ready to chow down?
Start by making the Cashew Caesar Dressing and setting it aside. Then in a large mixing bowl, combine the kale and romaine.
Next, add in the sliced apple…
…and then the radish. There’s so much color going on in this kale Caesar salad!
Pour the dressing over the salad.
Then use your hands to mix it all up until it’s well combined. We want a taste of that delicious cashew dressing in every bite!
Add the salad to a large salad bowl and then finish it off with the final ingredients: the salmon, manchego cheese and green onions.
Sprinkle the salad with salt and pepper, serve and enjoy!
2 as a meal, 4 as a side
- 3 cups baby kale
- 3 cups romaine hearts, chopped
- 1½ green apple, thinly sliced
- 1 watermelon radish, thinly sliced
- 6–8 ounces wild-caught salmon, cooked
- ½ cup raw manchego, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons green onions, chopped
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- 1 recipe Cashew Caesar Dressing
- Make the dressing and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the kale and romaine.
- Add in the sliced apple and watermelon radish.
- Pour in the dressing and, using your hands, mix until well-combined.
- Transfer the salad mixture to a large salad bowl and add in the salmon, manchego and green onions.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Plate, serve and enjoy!
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