Sunday, October 09, 2011

Low-Carb Kale and Romaine Caesar Salad (Gluten-Free)

I could make an entire meal of this Low-Carb Kale and Romaine Caesar Salad.

Kale and Romaine Caesar Salad (Low-Carb, Gluten-Free) found on

I promised I'd try to have meatless dishes on the blog for Meatless Monday mornings, and when I made that promise I was thinking about meatless main dishes like the Mediterranean Tostadas I featured last week.  But then I made this Low-Carb Kale and Romaine Caesar Salad with my nephew Jake, and we absolutely could not stop eating it.  The idea of combining kale and Caesar dressing came from Tuscan Kale Caesar Slaw from Bon Appetit Magazine, and it wasn't until we were about to make it that I thought of combining thinly-sliced romaine lettuce with sliced kale in the salad.

I loved the way the romaine toned the kale down just a bit and the combination of dark-green kale and lighter romaine was pretty too.  I'd consider this a meatless recipe but it's not vegan because the dressing has a tiny bit of anchovy paste and the salad has Parmesan.  (If you prefer you can substititute soy sauce for the anchovy paste.)   I loved this Caesar dressing recipe with no raw eggs, but Jake and I both agreed that even if you cheat and use my favorite bottled Caesar Dressing (or your own favorite vegan Caesar dressing) this will still be an amazingly delicious salad.  And when I make this again (soon!) I'll just eat a huge bowl of it for a meal, which I've decided entitles it to be in the spotlight for Meatless Monday.

Since I'm going to try to commit to the Meatless Monday idea,  I'm making an index for Meatless Monday to link those posts together; you can use that link to see other posts I've featured on Kalyn's Kitchen for Meatless Monday.  (Only two so far, although there are lots of meatless dishes in the Vegetarian section of the recipe archives.)  I also write a Meatless Monday feature at, where every Monday I spotlight one of the drool-worthy meatless dishes I find around the food blog world.

In a blender, food processor, or mini-processor, combine the lemon juice, anchovy paste (or soy sauce), garlic puree, and Dijon mustard.  Add the olive oil a little at a time, processing after each addition, then stir in half the freshly grated Parmesan and season the dressing with salt and pepper.   Chill the dressing until you're ready to use it.  We were hungry, so we chilled it in the freezer for a few minutes!  (If making this dressing just isn't going to happen at your house, I recommend my favorite bottled Caesar Dressing instead.)

Thinly slice enough romaine lettuce to make 4-5 cups, then wash and spin dry (or dry with paper towels.)

I had small kale leaves from my garden, but if you have larger leaves of kale you may need to cut out the center spine.  Then stack up the leaves and cut into thin slices, about 1/2 inch thick.

Wash the kale well, especially if it's garden kale, and then spin dry or dry with paper towels.

Combine the kale and romaine and toss with enough dressing to moisten all the leaves.  Those green salad tossers in the photo are part of the Salad Plant that I got a few years ago from my brother Rand.  I love them, and use them all the time.  (Blogger disclosure:  The manufacturers of Salad Plant have never heard of me, have no idea I'm gushing over their product, and I don't make any money if you buy it, but if you do buy one I'm pretty sure you'll love it just like I do!)

Then toss in the other half of the grated Parmesan and toss again.  Devour the salad and start thinking about how quickly you can make it again.  (And Kale is one of The World's Healthiest Foods, so you can give yourself a tiny pat on the back if you eat this as an entire meal.)

Kale and Romaine Caesar Salad
(Makes 3-4 servings, recipe adapted from Tuscan Kale Caesar Slaw at Bon Appetit Magazine.)

2 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice (I use my frozen fresh lemon juice)
1 T anchovy paste from a tube (or substitute soy sauce)
1 tsp. garlic puree (I used garlic puree from a jar)
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
6 T olive oil
2 T + 2 T freshly grated Parmesan cheese
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
4-5 oz. romaine lettuce, thinly sliced, washed and dried
4-5 oz. dark green kale, center spine removed if large, thinly sliced, washed, and dried

In a blender, food processor, or the mini-processor bowl of an immersion blender combine the lemon juice, anchovy paste (or soy sauce), garlic puree, and Dijon and pulse together a few times.  Then add the olive oil one tablespoon at a time, pulsing for a few seconds after each tablespoon of oil is added.  (This is easiest in a food processor with a feed tube, but you can do it in a blender or mini-processor easily enough too.)  Stir in 2 T of freshly grated Parmesan and season the dressing with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Put dressing in the fridge and chill until ready to use, or if you want to make the salad right away, chill it in the freezer for 10 minutes or so.

(If making this dressing is just not going to happen at your house, I'd still make the salad and simply dress it with Cardini's Caesar, which is my all-time favorite bottled Caesar dressing, or use your favorite vegan Caesar dressing.)

Thinly slice romaine lettuce in 1/2 inch strips until you have enough to make 4-5 cups sliced romaine.  Wash the sliced lettuce, then spin dry or dry with paper towels.  If you have small garden kale leaves you won't need to cut away the center spine, but for large kale leaves, fold it over along the spine and cut away the thick part of the kale spine and discard.  Then stack up a bunch of kale leaves and slice 1/2 inch thick, repeating until you have enough sliced kale to make 4-5 cups of sliced kale.  Wash kale and spin dry or dry with paper towels.

Combine the sliced romaine and kale in a large bowl, big enough to thoroughly toss the salad.  Add a few tablespoons of dressing and toss, repeating until all the salad greens are very lightly coated with dressing.  (You probably won't need all the dressing, but save it in the fridge for another time.)  Add the remaining 2 T of freshly grated Parmesan to the salad and toss again.  Serve right away.

We had a little bit of the salad left and I was pleasantly surprised at how good it tasted the next day even after being in the fridge overnight.  I think this would be a great salad to take to work already made for lunch, as long as you have a fridge to keep it in during the morning.

South Beach Suggestions:
I still remember how excited I was when I found Cardini's Caesar recommended as a good low-glycemic salad dressing in one of the South Beach Diet cookbooks, since it had been my favorite for years.  As long as you use a moderate amount of dressing, this salad is a great choice for any phase of the South Beach Diet.

Nutritional Information? 
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Tasty Salads with Kale:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)

Raw Kale Salad with Pecorini (or Parmesan) and Lemon from Kalyn's Kitchen

Red Russian Kale and Red Cabbage Slaw from Kalyn's Kitche
Fully Loaded Kale Salad (vegan) from Healthy Happy Life

Kale Salad with Avocado and Apple (vegan) from Healthy Green Kitchen

Cauliflower and Kale Salad (vegan) from Steamy Kitchen

(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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More to Chew On:


  1. I had a Kale salad for the first time when we were in Atlanta for BlogHer (and pretty much fell in love with it!) I've made it at home without mixing it with other lettuces, and I find that the secret to a good kale salad is to let the dressing soak into the leaves for a good 15 minutes before devouring. It makes it a little more tender and takes on the flavors. Love your idea too- happy to have another excuse to make a kale salad! Yum!

  2. Lori, I have heard about that idea of soaking the kale, but in this recipe the kale is cut in pretty thin strips so I didn't think it needed it. Now I wish I had tried the kale salad you had in Atlanta!

  3. Yeah, I always cut my kale into thin strips (& toss the ribs) in kale salad, but letting it "marinate" in the dressing still softens it a bit. Otherwise it can tend to be tough and chewy. SInce you've mixed it with romaine, it's probably less like that I would think.

  4. Lori, maybe it's because I'm using small kale leaves from the garden too. But will definitely try that when I (sob!) have to start buying kale.

  5. Wow! This is delicious. I had some left-over kale (after making your sausage, garlic and pasta dish) and decided to make this tonight. Yum! Thank you for helping me on the South Beach . . . and for great recipes.

  6. What a great way to get people like me to eat more kale. I know it's good for me, but I don't love it. Combining it with a bunch of things I do love is just genius.

  7. I really do need to start eating more kale, and I think this would be a great way to start!!

  8. I'd say this 100% counts for meatless monday! I really love kale but still haven't eaten it raw...if anything could make me love it, it's that hint of caesar.

  9. I think kale is so underrated and underused. I, too, think that when it's cut small enough, soaking it isn't necessary. We eat it in salads all the time!

  10. I love this salad idea, Kalyn! I'm a big fan of Caesar salad, but your variation looks super good and super healthy, too. :-)


  11. Thanks everyone. So glad I am enticing all of you to eat more kale!

  12. I hope this isn't a duplicate comment; I don't think my first one went through.

    This looks delicious, I love kale salads! I did want to say that I am a vegetarian, not a vegan, and I would not eat this dressing - anchovy paste definitely counts as meat for me.

    But I'd love to make it with the soy sauce substitute!

  13. Liz, that's why I wanted to mention it, but do try with the soy sauce.

  14. I love kale salad, and cutting it into thin strips is definitely the way I like it. I saw this recipe a while back too in Bon Appetit and meant to try it, but never got around to it. Happen to gotten some kale in my CSA Box this week and will be trying this.

  15. Jeannette, I loved it with the romaine-kale mixture!

  16. Sound divine Kalyn! I have yet to try kale in a Caesar, but now I really want to. ps thanks for the shout-out to one of my favorite kale salads!

  17. I'm like Lydia-know kale is good for me so am trying to eat it more. Great idea with the caesar dressing and mixing in the romaine!

  18. Salads will never be the same! I don't know why I've never thought of using kale... it is sooo much tastier than the wimpy lettuces.
    Thanks for the recipe!

  19. The kale we planted last spring didn't sprout for some reason, so I'm trying it again, hoping for something soon. I've not eaten kale in salads, only sauteed, so I'll have to give this a try.

  20. Not sure how I got so far behind in answering comments (maybe I really *do* have a life beyond the computer, lol!) So glad everyone likes this idea. Just had it for dinner again tonight and loved it.

  21. Brilliant. I have long wondered how to get my younger son to eat delicious, nutricious kale but never could. He loves Ceasar's Salad (as do I) so, hey, I think the problem may be solved. And this would make a great lunch meal in itself!

  22. Jamie, the kale is so good with the Caesar dressing. Hope he will like it!

  23. Looks amazing. I love kale salad, this sounds just delicious.

  24. Thanks Natalie. I'm still making it and love it!

  25. Seriously, Kalyn, I never thought this would work even though I love kale. Fortunately I had a little faith and a bottle of my favorite Caesar dressing. I used the kale and romaine together, and it is completely awesome. The first day, I had two huge salads (one when I would have had dessert--I found it that addicting). I've had it pretty much every day since then. Today I'm linking to it from my own blog. Thanks.

  26. Jeanie, isn't it just addictively good! I love this recipe and have also been eating it ever since I first tried it. Thanks for the link!

  27. I have never used kale raw like this before and now I am going to have to try!

  28. I could not have imagined eating kale raw, but this was just delicious. I cheated and used bottled dressing from Costco (not your favourite, but another great one!) and it was great.

  29. Anna, I had eaten raw kale before, but I still thought this was just surprisingly good! And I am not one of those people who look down on bottled dressing if it's good.


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