This entree salad is on our family’s menu at least once a week. Loaded with fresh raw kale, rich creamy Caesar dressing, smoky bacon lardons and crunchy croutons, it’s a fool-proof crowd-pleaser every time. And BONUS: it’s super healthy, only takes 20 minutes to prep, and the kids’ll load up on dark leafy greens and ask for seconds. Everybody wins! Scroll down for PRO TIPS
Kale Caesar Salad with Smoked Lardons
PRO TIP: This basic recipe has lots of room for variation. For example, our daughter likes a 50/50 kale & lettuce blend. Also, store bought croutons work great, but our favorite is to cut a rustic sourdough loaf into 1" - 2” cubes and bake them in olive oil, salt & pepper for a crispy exterior and soft chewy middle. Or sometimes when dad’s getting a little soft around the edges we’ll skip the croutons and substitute the shaved Parmesan with Parmesan crisps for that satisfying crunch. Enjoy!
8oz Smoked Lardons
1-2 bunches Dinosaur / Lacinato kale washed
A handful of shaved Parmesan
Day old rustic bread loaf or store bought croutons
Juice from 1 large Meyer lemon
2 medium garlic cloves
3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 anchovy fillets
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Black pepper to taste
For the salad
For the dressing
Cook the Lardons and Croutons
Preheat oven to 400°F
In a bowl combine bread pieces torn or cut into 1" - 2” cubes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Add in Smoked Lardons and toss to combine.
Spread bread/lardon mixture onto a foil lined baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 20-25 minutes.
If using store bought croutons, skip this step and just pan fry the lardons until crispy.
Make the dressing
Add egg, lemon juice, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, chili flakes, mustard and anchovies to a food processor and pulse several times to combine.
With food processor running, slowly pour in olive oil so the mixture emulsifies.
Stop the blade, open the bowl and add in grated Parmesan, then blend again until the cheese is broken down and the dressing is smooth.
Chop the kale into 1/2” strips and place in serving bowl
Add Lardons, croutons and shaved Parmesan, then dress and toss. Serve immediately with an extra grind of black pepper and devour!