Sharing this simple kale caesar salad today that will be the perfect addition to your Christmas menus! Thinly sliced romaine & kale, crispy bacon, torn croutons, and lots of parmesan cheese…all tossed in a flavorful roasted garlic caesar dressing. It’s a spin on the traditional caesar salad that’s really beautiful and bursting with caramelized garlic flavor. There’s lots of crunch and texture, and just the right amount of nutty parmesan. Perfect salad for any December meal.
Every holiday dinner could use a good salad on the side. Something that everyone will love and actually crave (kind of like this roasted squash salad)…instead of that boring bowl of salad that gets overlooked with everyone’s eyes geared towards the more flavorful dishes on the table.
This kale caesar salad is anything but boring and will give the other sides a run for their money. For one, it’s simply beautiful. I love the deep green color that the kale adds, plus all of the interesting texture from crispy bacon, big shaves of parmesan, and rustic homemade croutons.
And, it’s of course delicious.
The salad itself is composed of minimal ingredients. The main key is to add lots of grated parmesan into the salad bowl when tossing. It adds a really lovely cheesy kick to every bite. While I’d say the croutons are absolutely necessary, you can easily omit the bacon if you’d like. I love the extra punch of flavor it gives, but this salad is just as good without it.
The dressing is where the rest of the tangy, bright flavor comes in – it’s a combo of rich roasted garlic (which is really the simplest thing to make), lemon juice, dijon mustard, anchovy (which just gives it that classic caesar salty bite), and more parmesan.
I like to cut the romaine and kale into thin shreds so that the dressing can coat it all really well and get between each and every crevice. Toss everything together in a big bowl. And definitely don’t skimp on the freshly cracked black pepper! Enjoy!!Print
Roasted Garlic & Kale Caesar Salad
shredded romaine & kale, crispy bacon, torn croutons, and lots of parmesan cheese, tossed in a roasted garlic caesar dressing
- 2 heads garlic
- olive oil, as needed
- kosher salt
- ¾ lb raw, sliced bacon
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 3 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 cup olive oil
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 bunch (6-7 large leaves) lacinato kale, stemmed + rinsed + dried
- ½ lb crusty italian bread, torn into ½” pieces
- 3 hearts of romaine, both ends trimmed + rinsed + dried
- 1 small chunk parmesan cheese, shaved for topping
- Preheat the oven to 300°F. Cut the tops off the heads of garlic, revealing the garlic cloves. Place the heads face-up on a piece of foil. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Wrap the foil up, pinching it at the top, so the garlic is enclosed. Roast for 2 hours until soft and golden. Let cool.
- Raise the oven heat to 425°F. Lay the slices of bacon in one, even layer onto a sheet pan. Roast for 20-22 minutes, or until crispy. Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Cool and roughly chop.
- Combine the lemon juice, dijon mustard, anchovy fillets, and a ¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese in the bowl of a food processor. Squeeze all of the roasted garlic out of the skins into the bowl. Pulse to combine. With the processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Season with salt and lots of freshly cracked black pepper to taste.
- Roll the kale leaves tightly lengthwise and cut the kale into ¼” slices. Place them in a large mixing bowl, along with a generous spoonful of the dressing. Toss well and “massage” the kale for about 30 seconds. Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Coat the bottom with a generous amount of olive oil. Add the torn bread. Let toast for a few minutes until golden and crisp on all sides, stirring often. Season with a pinch of salt and let the croutons cool slightly.
- Cut the romaine into ¼” slices and add to the kale, along with the remaining dressing. Toss for about 30 seconds to allow the romaine to soften slightly. Toss in the bacon, croutons, and remaining ¼ cup of grated parmesan.
- Serve the salad on a platter with the parmesan shavings and more freshly cracked black pepper over top.