Kale, broccoli & tomato Caesar salad
Superfood heavenYou can feel virtuous when you eat this healthy Caesar salad. It is packed with superfoods including: kale, broccoli, tomatoes, lemon, raw garlic, anchovies and olive oil. These foods provide a wealth of health benefits, boosting your heart, bone, respiratory, skin, kidney and brain health, as well as protecting against cancer, osteoporosis, stroke, diabetes and more. Even better, this salad is deliciously addicting. Kale Caesar! (pun intended)
Tips for making this salad
KaleI use curly kale, but lacinto would also be good. I look for young, organic kale that is still tender. If your kale is sturdy, dress it early and let it sit a bit before you eat it.
BroccoliI shave broccoli and add it to the salad for the extra health benefits broccoli provides. You do not notice the broccoli; shaved it provides more texture than flavor.
TomatoesI buy multi-colored tomatoes for this salad. Recent research shows lycopene from orange tomatoes may be absorbed better than lycopene from red tomatoes. Plus, multi-colored tomatoes make the salad prettier.
LemonWhen I can find them, I like to use Meyer lemons for their flavor and because they tend to provide more juice than regular lemons. I use this juicer to squeeze my lemons.
Raw garlicThis dressing is a great way to eat raw garlic. Heating garlic or adding acid has been shown to reduce garlic's anti-cancer properties. When you chop or crush your garlic, allow it to stand for 5 to 10 minutes before you add heat or acid. Crushing garlic allows allicin, an enzyme, to be produced. Allicin provides some of garlic's anti-cancer benefits.
AnchoviesBefore you say "Yuck, I don't like anchovies" please try them in this dressing. These salty little fish are rich in Omega-3's and are mega good for you. When I make this dressing I finely chop them in a food processor and you never even know they are there. Instead you wonder "What makes this dressing so good?" Anchovies are a high umami ingredient that makes your food taste delicious. When you add lemon to the dressing it neutralizes any fishy flavor or smell.
Olive oilWe all know how healthy olive oil is and its importance in the Mediterranean diet. But did you know all olive oil is not alike? Fraud is common in the olive oil industry. Much of what is sold as Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is not. Sometimes it isn't even olive oil. So use trusted sources of olive oil. Truth in Olive Oil, is an information packed website that provides great tips on how to buy your olive oil. Whatever you do, stay away from "Light olive oil." Light olive oil is not EVOO, does not have the same benefits of EVOO and lacks the flavor of EVOO. And yet light olive oil has the same calories as EVOO. So really, there is no reason to ever buy light olive oil. I use a variety of olive oils, but for everyday use I use Stonehouse California olive oil. I like it so much I buy it in 10 liter containers. Stonehouse makes two great infused olive oils: Lisbon lemon and Blood orange.
Parmigiano ReggianoBreak out the good stuff for this salad and use real Italian Parmigiano Reggiano. Yes, it is expensive, but there just is no domestic cheese that compares and a little goes a long way. Costco offers a great Parmigiano Reggiano at a very good price. Use a vegetable peeler to shave curls of Parmigiano Reggiano over your salad. See my post for more information on Parmigiano Reggiano.
MustardYou can use any whole grain or Dijon mustard for this salad, but I particularly like Pommery mustard.
Homemade croutonsTake 10 minutes to make these delicious croutons. Make extra, because they will begin to disappear as soon as you bring them out of the oven. I top them with a little grated Parmigiano Reggiano and I break them up in the salad, rather than use them whole. I use La Brea baguettes and have the bakery at my grocery store thin slice the loaf for me. It saves a little time.
Kewpie mayonnaiseThis ingredient is optional for my Caesar dressing, but you may really love what a tablespoon does for this Caesar dressing. Kewpie adds flavor and helps emulsify the dressing. Kewpie mayonnaise is Japanese mayonnaise. The Japanese put it on EVERYTHING. It is lighter, creamier and more flavorful than American mayo, and it is a real umami booster. Kewpie is made with egg yolks, vinegar and MSG. Yep, MSG is what gives Kewpie its flavor boost, so if you are MSG-sensitive Kewpie may not be for you. Many professional chefs regard Kewpie mayo as their secret flavor weapon. David Chang of Momofuku calls it "The best mayonnaise in the world." Try Kewpie on anything you use mayonnaise (lobster rolls, deviled eggs, chicken salad, tuna fish, salad dressing) as well as on food you normally don't use mayonnaise (grilled meats and vegetables, sushi, shrimp and fish, pizza, roasted potatoes and asparagus).
ToolsEither a food processor or a Cuisinart Mini-Prep makes preparing this Caesar dressing quick and easy. The inexpensive Mini-Prep is the perfect size for making this dressing and will save you oodles of time in the kitchen. I use a Microplane to grate the Parmigiano Reggiano for the croutons and a vegetable peeler to make the cheese shards for the salad.
VariationsThis salad is delicious as is, but lends itself to all kinds of variety. For a heartier meal you can add pieces of chicken, salmon, steak or shrimp. Or add additional vegetables such as artichoke hearts, red peppers and cucumbers.
LeftoversBecause the kale is so sturdy, this salad is equally delicious the next day. The croutons do get soggy after a night in the fridge, so reserve some of the croutons and add them to the leftovers just before serving to provide a little crunch.
Make aheadThe dressing can be made a couple days ahead of time. The kale and broccoli can be prepped ahead of time and the croutons can be made a day in advance and stored in an airtight container. If you have everything prepped in advance you can pull this salad together in 5 minutes.
Kale, broccoli & tomato Caesar salad
Yield 6 -8 servings
A seriously healthy and delicious riff on a classic Caesar, this salad is packed with superfoods including: kale, broccoli, fresh garlic, tomatoes, lemon, anchovies and olive oil. Virtue never tasted so good.
- 1 small baguette, sliced in thin 1/4" slices (I like La Brea baguettes)
- 3/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 2 1/2 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano, divided
- 7 cloves garlic
- 1 can anchovies, drained
- 1 T Worcestershire sauce
- 1 T whole grain mustard
- 1 t sriracha or Tabasco sauce
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 T Kewpie mayonnaise or other mayonnaise (optional)
- 1 pound kale, stemmed and torn into bite-size pieces
- 1/2 pound of broccoli florets, shaved or finely sliced
- 1 pint mixed cherry tomatoes, sliced in half or quartered
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spread baguette slices over a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Flip slices and drizzle more olive oil. I mop up any extra olive oil that winds up on the baking sheet with the bread slices. Put in the oven for about 4 - 6 minutes, until the croutons are golden brown. Remove from the oven and flip over. Bake another 3 - 4 minutes and remove from oven. Grate 1 - 2 tablespoons of Parmigiano Reggiano and sprinkle over croutons. Return to the oven for another minute or two until the Parmigiano begins to melt. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Watch them carefully or they will disappear into the mouths of anyone passing through your kitchen.
- In a food processor or Mini-prep, whirl the garlic until finely chopped. To activate the maximum health benefits, let the garlic sit for 5 to 10 minutes before continuing with the dressing.
- Add anchovies to the food processor and whirl again to finely chop. Add Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and sriracha or Tabasco sauce, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Pulse to mix.
- Add 1/2 cup olive oil, either in a stream through the feeder tube, or directly into the bowl of the food processor or Mini-prep. Whirl the ingredients to form an emulsion. Add 1 T Kewpie mayonnaise and whirl again.
- Using your hands break half the croutons up into pieces. With a vegetable peeler, shave the remaining parmesan cheese into shards.
- Using your hands, toss the kale, shaved broccoli, tomatoes, Parmigiano Reggiano shavings and one half the croutons together in a large salad bowl. Add half the dressing and toss again, thoroughly coating the salad with the dressing. Taste and add more dressing as desired. Reserve any extra dressing for another use. Garnish with remaining croutons.