Kale Caesar Salad

I am in LOVE with this salad!  I’ve made it several times since Thanksgiving when my niece brought it for our family dinner.  I took it to a potluck over the weekend where everyone raved about it.  This works great as a dinner side salad but is also marvelous as a mason jar salad for lunch.  The kale really holds up to the dressing even after sitting in the fridge a few days.

The original recipe calls for kale, olive oil, lemon juice, about a cup of quinoa, and fresh grated Parmesan cheese tossed with bottled creamy Caesar dressing.

While the original version of this salad includes quinoa and I’ve enjoyed it that way a few times, after looking more closely at quinoa, I’ve decided it probably shouldn’t be on my regular eating list.  The Blood Type Diet says it’s ok for me, and while technically its a seed, not a grain, it’s not good if you have autoimmune issues or a leaky gut.  Robb Wolf explains in The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet.  “Quinoa is botanically not a grain, but because it has evolved in a similar biological niche, Quinoa has similar properties to grains, including chemical defense systems that irritate the gut. In the case of Quinoa, it contains soap-like molecules called saponins. Unlike gluten, which attaches to a carrier molecule in the intestines, saponins simply punch holes in the membranes of the microvilli cells. Yes, that’s bad. Saponins are so irritating to the immune system that they are used in vaccine research to help the body mount a powerful immune response. The bottom line is if you think grains or grain-like items like Quinoa are healthy or benign, you are not considering the full picture.”

Now as I’ve mentioned before, Paleo is a diet framework and each person needs to figure out what works best for their body.  Because of low stomach acid issues, I’ve been modifying my Paleo diet framework accordingly, avoiding beef and pork and eating more fish and veggies and generally following what’s good or neutral for me from the Blood Type Diet.   Of course this isn’t 100% for me, there are times when I deviate (let’s not talk about how much homemade peppermint bark I consumed over the holidays…) but that’s life and I can tell if its a problem (breakouts, bloating, feeling tired, etc) and then get back on track.  Anyway back to the recipe…

The original salad version also includes Parmesan cheese which of course isn’t Paleo either although it can be included in a Primal diet.  Again, its best to listen to your body and avoid dairy if it causes issues for you.  I’ve found that Manchego cheese, which is made from sheep’s milk agrees with me and is a good substitute, or you can just leave the cheese out.  I also added some healthy pepita (pumpkin) seeds for some added crunch and good fats.

Kale Salad

  • 2 bunches of curly kale
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • Manchego or Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Caesar dressing
  • Pepita (pumpkin seeds), optional

Remove leaves from kale stalks then wash, dry (a salad spinner is perfect for this) and chop.  Add olive oil and massage the leaves with your hands for a few minutes to break down the fibers and tenderize until they just start to wilt.  Add lemon juice and toss.  Refrigerate 20 minutes.  Toss with cheese and dressing, sprinkle with a tablespoon or two of pepita seeds.

I don’t use bottled dressings because dressings are so easy to make at home without any additives.  I found this delicious no-egg, no-anchovy version that really tastes like Caesar from Genius Kitchen.

Caesar Salad Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes (I like Bragg brand)
  • 2 tablespoons blanched and ground almond flour (I use Honeyville)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce (I use coconut aminos)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a small bowl, combine the mustard, nutritional yeast, almond flour and garlic.  Make a paste.

*Whisk in the water, lemon juice, coconut aminos, olive oil and pepper.

*I put the paste in a mini food processor, added the rest and blended the ingredients for a nice creamy consistency.

I am grateful each day for wellness, happiness and the opportunity to share with you.