Epic Kale Caesar Salad (Paleo, Whole30, Keto)
Earthy kale and crisp romaine shine in this stunning and simple salad with a creamy and tangy homemade Caesar dressing. This salad is generously coated in a Paleo and Whole30-friendly Caesar salad dressing that is made without any of the inflammatory oils and is gluten and dairy-free. Get your salad spinner ready for the best Caesar salad you’ve ever had!
I love a good Caesar salad and have come to find that I love a mixture of hearty Tuscan kale and sweet romaine. The trick to tenderizing the kale is to give it a good massage with some fresh lemon juice and then give it a few minutes to work its magic. The bright acidity of the lemon showcases the earthy green flavor of the kale and adds a bit more tanginess to the salad, which I happen to adore, and I’m sure you will too!
Why Kale is So Good For You!
I know we have all heard that kale is a superfood, but do you know why this cruciferous beauty is so good for you? Kale is part of the Brassica family which includes, cabbage, arugula, broccoli and more, plus it comes in a few varieties with the most commonly found ones here in the US being curly kale (green and purple) and Lacinato kale (Tuscan, dinosaur). Other varieties include Chinese, Siberian, redbor, ornamental and red Russian.
- Vitamin A (beta-carotene): Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals and reduces oxidative stress and is also converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is essential in the health of your eyes, skin, bones, kidneys, and lungs.
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine): A water soluble vitamin that is essential in glucose metabolism and supports health heart and nervous system function.
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): Converts carbohydrates to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which supports energy production .
- Vitamin B3 (niacin): Essential in healthy metabolism, supports healthy cholesterol and blood pressure .
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): There are many benefits from a diet rich in vitamin B6. It plays a role in our immune health, metabolism, and brain health. Vitamin B6 is essential in creating neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, which play a role in emotional health and sleep .
- Vitamin C: is a powerful antioxidant our bodies use to neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative stress and helps improve absorption of non-heme iron found in plants.
- Vitamin K: is essential in bone health and it is converted to vitamin K2 by our gut microbiome, which supports our heart health!
- Calcium: The most abundant mineral in the body and is essential in maintaining health teeth and bones as well as heart, muscle and nerve function .
- Copper: Essential mineral in the formation of red blood cells and in supporting cardiovascular health and immune function .
- Iron: Essential in the creation of hemoglobin, supports a healthy digestive tract, and is necessary in immune health.
- Phosphorous: Supports healthy teeth and bones, muscle recovery after working out, and detoxification.
- Potassium: Mineral is an electrolyte supporting metabolic pathways, regulates heartbeat, is necessary in normal cell function.
- Magnesium: A mineral that is essential in healthy metabolism, nervous system regulation, detoxification, and blood sugar regulation.
- Manganese: Essential mineral in supporting blood sugar regulation, glucose metabolism, and supporting healthy brain and nerve function .
Kale has a great amount of insoluble and soluble fiber to support a healthy digestive system and microbiome. The fiber in kale supports both healthy blood sugars and a healthy cardiovascular system.
Kale contains a pigment called chlorophyll that not only gives green fruits and vegetables their gorgeous hue, but also has some amazing potential benefits! Studies have shown a diet rich in foods that contain chlorophyll may support healthy skin and blood building properties .
Sulforaphane is a compound found in cruciferous vegetables like kale, Brussels sprouts, and arugula that has been shown to have many health benefits. Studies have shown that this powerful compound is stored in cruciferous vegetables in an inactive form known as glucoraphanin. Glucoraphanin is then activated by chopping, cutting, or chewing the food releasing an enzyme, myrosinase, to produce sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is known to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to support health and wellness .
So grab so kale and let’s get cooking!
Epic Kale Caesar Salad Ingredients
1 bunch Tuscan Kale, destemmed
1 small head of Romaine Lettuce
1/4-1/2 of a Fresh Lemon
Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese**
Raw pine nuts or pumpkin seeds
Thin sliced purple cabbage
Roasted Chicken, shredded
*Omit for Keto, Paleo, Whole30
**Omit for Paleo and Whole30
How to Make an Epic Kale Caesar Salad
1. Rinse, dry, destem and chop the kale into 1/4-1/2″ strips, transfer to a large bowl, add the lemon and massage the kale for 1-2 minutes, set aside.
2. Rinse and chop the Romaine into 1/2″ strips and add to a salad spinner, soak with ice cold water for 2-5 minutes, drain and spin dry.
3. After 10-15 minutes, add the romaine to the kale. Add a generous helping of avocado Caesar salad dressing and toss well to evenly coat.
4. Dress with toppings of your choice and serve!
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Q: Can I use purple or curly kale for a kale Caesar salad?
A: Yes! And I would still take a few minutes to massage the kale with some lemon to enhance the salad’s flavor and texture!
Q: Can kale caesar salad be made ahead of time?
A: I would do the prep (chopping, make the dressing/croutons, etc) beforehand, and you could even marinate the kale beforehand, but I would not mix it with the dressing until you are ready to eat or serve.
Q: Does the avocado Caesar dressing contain parmesan cheese in it?
A No, I made this recipe to be dairy and gluten free as well as Paleo and Whole30 friendly, check it out here.
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I am a holistic nutritionist with an auto-immune disorder, a love of cooking, and a passion for holistic health.
Sharing what I make and eat with all of you…in hopes that you find inspiration here to fuel your body and feel your best with nutrient dense whole foods and clean eating.