Crisp, beautiful, and delicious. The perfect holiday salad: Kale Caesar Salad.
Birthdays are my favorite. I LOVE to celebrate my family and friends on their special day. I always make it a point to make my loved ones feel special and loved.
This year on my birthday, my sweetie asked me what I wanted to do. All I wanted was a quiet dinner alone with the man that I love. This doesn’t happen very often with an active 3 year old in the house. We went out to a lovely seafood restaurant and had a wonderful time just being together. It was nice and quiet. And the food was amazing.
What stands out in my mind about the food that evening is the amazing kale caesar salad that I had. I’ve been thinking about it ever since. I wanted to make my own version that was healthy and dairy free. Here’s what I cam up with:
Because it is the holiday season, I added some colorful pomegranate seeds. They go perfectly with the healthy Caesar salad dressing that I created. I also made a simple dairy free parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top. I could eat that stuff by the spoonful!
You can use either extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil for the dressing. I found that a combination of the two was just perfect.
The thing that I want to mention about raw kale is that it can be difficult for our human tummies to digest. That is why I always like to massage my kale with a bit of olive oil, lemon juice, and sea salt when I am eating it raw. Massaging basically is a process of breaking down the kale to make it more easy to digest. You will notice the kale begin to wilt slightly, becoming vibrant green and a bit softer. Once massaged, kale can stay fresh in the fridge for up to a week. (you are welcome for that little tip! 😉 )
So, go ahead. Give your kale a little love. Massage away. Your belly will thank you.
A note about thyroid health:
Cruciferous veggies like kale, when eaten raw in very large quantities may impair thyroid function. You can however, cook or steam to inhibit the thyroid compound found in kale that may interfere with thyroid hormone synthesis. If you suffer from thyroid disfunction or hypothyroidism, it is recommended to limit the consumption of raw cruciferous veggies. Even if you don’t, be aware and don’t go too crazy eating raw kale in large quantities.
OK, back to that delicious salad:
This has now become my new favorite salad. Happy massaged kale, homemade Caesar salad dressing made with healthy oils, seasonal pomegranates, and a sprinkle of dairy free parmesan. What could be better? I am definitely making this for our holiday meal this year.
Happy Holidays, everyone!
Kale Caesar Salad (grain and dairy free, paleo)
- Yield: 3-4 servings
- one bunch of kale (I prefer the Lacinato/Dino variety)
- 1 tbsp olive or avocado oil (where to buy good quality, organic olive oil)
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp sea salt (I use THIS brand)
For Dairy Free Parmesan:
- 1/2 cup raw cashew
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (like this)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 6 anchovy filets (I use these)
- 2 cloves garlic
- several grinds of fresh black pepper
- sea salt, to taste
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil OR avocado oil
- pomegranate seeds
- Remove hard stem from leaves of kale and place leaves on top of each other. Roll into a tight cigar-looking tube and slice in thin ribbons.
- Place kale ribbons into large bowl and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and salt. Massage the kale for about 2 minutes. It should start to turn a rich, greener color. Set aside.
- To make dairy free parmesan: Process cashews, nutritional yeast, and salt in a food processor until you have a coarse, even consistency- like crumbly parmesan cheese. Set aside.
- To make dressing, combine all dressing ingredients except olive/avocado oil into a food processor and process until smooth. With the food processor running, VERY slowly pour the 1/2 cup of oil through the hole in the top of the processor. A very slow pour is the trick to a thick and creamy dressing.
- To assemble kale caesar: Toss massaged kale with desired amount of dressing. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and dairy free parmesan. Enjoy!