In early January Jim and I went on a Carnival Cruise to the Bahamas. Wow, it is hard to believe that was 2 months ago and I have hardly had a chance to think about our fun trip! Since we returned from our trip, we have been through an entire house move from end to end. To say that the past two whirlwind months has been stressful is an understatement. However, I am thankful to be settling into our new home. I am grateful to have a kitchen and pots and pans back into my life so I can make recipes like this awesome Caesar Salad. We ate this salad almost every night on the cruise – not kidding. You eat something different at almost every meal on a cruise, but the one thing we kept ordering and LOVING was their Baby Kale Caesar Salad. Yum!
I love a good Caesar Salad but two things that made this a little different was 1) The Baby Kale – so tender, not bitter but great to hold the dressing. Plus it is a little healthier than Romaine – I guess, right Marianne?? 2) The toasted breadcrumbs. Unlike croutons, the toasted breadcrumbs give you a crunch in every bite. It was so different and I knew when I got home I would be doing this for my salads. It is really good!
I imagine that the dressing on the Carnival Cruise salad was not light but I want to eat this salad a lot so I found a good lightened version that sounded good from Cooking Light. My mom makes a real deal Caesar Dressing that my kids go crazy for that is something like this Allrecipes Caesar Salad Dressing. Both use Anchovy Paste which I feel is a must for a good Caesar Dressing. Don’t let the thought of anchovies scare you off – it adds so much flavor to the dressing and it is in my opinion what gives it that classic taste. I did try a recipe once that substituted fish sauce for the anchovies and that was surprisingly good, too!
I was so happy last week when I saw that Trader Joe’s was carrying bags of Organic Baby Kale. Only 2.49 for the bag – yay! Have I told you I love Trader Joe’s? Oh, I have? Ok, sorry – moving on:-)
So, if you are looking for a great salad for Easter or just a nice twist on your usual boring salad, give this one a try. Even if you don’t take the Caesar route try toasting the breadcrumbs and add it to your salad. You will love the crunch and you won’t want to go back to croutons ever again!
- 1/4 cup egg substitute
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan (or about half of that if you are using already grated cheese from a can (like Kraft))
- 1 5 oz bag of baby kale
- 3 slices of bread (I used whole wheat)
- 1 -2 Tablespoons of EVOO
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon dried basil
- Other toppings for your salad as you wish - olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- To make the dressing combine the egg substitute and lemon juice in your blender or food processor. Gradually add in the oil, blending constantly to emulsify a bit. Add the next 6 ingredients (vinegar through garlic) and quickly mix again. Add salt and pepper and give it another quick stir.
- To make breadcrumbs, tear bread into small pieces and then place half into the bowl of your food, processor or blender (I use the bowl that came with my immersion blender for this.) Process the bread until it forms coarse crumbs. Repeat. Place the crumbs on a baking sheet and drizzle with the EVOO, garlic powder, salt, and dried basil. Give it a good mix with your clean hands and if you feel like it needs a little more EVOO then add more. The bread should be well coated but not soggy. Place in preheated oven and bake for 4 minutes. Toss breadcrumbs and toast for 4 more minutes or until crispy - keeping an eye on them after the first 4 minutes to make sure they don't burn!
- Place baby kale in a bowl and drizzle with dressing to coast (you will have some leftover dressing most likely) Toss with Parmesan cheese and optional add-ins. Right before serving sprinkle the toasted breadcrumbs - enjoy!