I’m super excited about this salad! (Those words have literally never, ever come out of my mouth.) I’m so excited about this salad that I told a bunch of friends I was making it and sent a bunch of pics via text. One of my friends wrote back and said, “Nice! I thought you didn’t like kale?” Which is close to the truth.
It’s not that I don’t like kale. I just don’t like it all that much. I tend to not really buy it or eat it. I think it’s, in part, a texture thing. Most of the time curly kale is what’s being served and I prefer Lacinato or dinosaur kale, which has a smoother texture. Case in point, I have made an amazing Lacinato Kale Gratin dish that others have replicated. Looking back through my sparse kale files, there aren’t very many other faves nor is there an abundance of choices (though the Tuscan White Bean and Kale Soup was pretty good!)
In this instance the curly kale is actually the star of the show. I recommend making this dish at least the day before you plan to eat it and think that the salad may even hold up for two or three days. (I have not tested this.) Sis and I tried this salad mixed fresh and a day later and agreed that it was better when it was allowed to soak for a day. The kale doesn’t wilt under the weight of the dressing but it does absorb it a little and takes a bit of the stiffness away from the kale. Remember how I said it’s a texture thing for me and curly kale? Well this pretty much solves that problem.
This salad is a recreation of the kale Caesar salad served at Justa Pasta in NW Portland. If you can find a prepared kale mix with shredded red cabbage and shredded carrots, this salad comes together in a snap. (If you live in Portland, head to your nearest New Seasons. They sell a 16-ounce package for $7.) If you can’t find a kale mix already prepared for you, it will require a bit more work. But I’m telling you it’s worth it.
This salad clocks in at around 400 calories, 34 g fat, 18.4 g carbohydrates, 9 g protein, 4 g fiber and 4 g sugar. It will keep you full for hours, but if the salad isn’t enough for you get a slice of really good bread and dip it in some olive oil mixed with herbs, garlic and parmesan cheese. That’s what I did. Sooooooo good.
- 16 oz kale, red cabbage and carrot blend (or make your own, see notes below)
- Extra Lemony Caesar Dressing
- Homemade Croutons, for garnish
- Parmesan cheese, for garnish
- cracked black pepper, to taste
- If you cannot find a pre-made kale/cabbage/carrot mix, just get yourself some curly kale and remove the ribs. Working in batches, cut the kale into thin ribbons. Gather a large handful of leaves, bunch together tightly, and use the other hand to slice into ¼-inch-thick pieces. The idea is to end up with thin ribbons that mimic a slaw of sorts.
- If you cannot find pre-shredded cabbage or matchstick carrots, you can easily shred your own. Rinse the red cabbage and remove the loose outermost leaves so only clean, compact leaves remain – like you would when cutting brussels sprouts. Cut the very bottom of the stem off to flatten the bottom of the cabbage. Turn the cabbage so the stem end is flat against the cutting board. Slice the cabbage in half (from top to bottom.) Slice each half in half to create quarters. Remove the stem and tough core from each wedge by cutting diagonally across to remove the solid parts. For each wedge, start by turning the cabbage so the flat part of the wedge is against the board. Slice the cabbage into thin strips, going as far as you can across the wedge before the remaining part of the cabbage becomes too small to cut. Turn the remaining part of the cabbage wedge so it’s flat against the board and sturdy. Continue slicing until the entire wedge is shredded. Slice the shreds in half horizontally to make shorter pieces. If you desire, run your knife vertically through the shreds a final time to slice them thinner. Place your shreds in a bowl and repeat the process with the remaining wedges of cabbage. My preference would be to use a mandoline to julienne a carrot.
- One recipe of Caesar Salad Dressing will dress 16 ounces of salad mix. Toss the dressing and the salad together in a bowl or shake it in a large gallon-sized ziploc bag. Allow the salad to soak overnight (or you can eat right away if you must).
- When ready to serve, divide the salad into four bowls (fluff up with a fork if necessary) and top with homemade croutons, some freshly grated parmesan cheese and some freshly cracked black pepper if you’re so inclined.