Killer Kale Caesar (w/ Sourdough Croutons & Homemade Vegan Parm + Dressing)
This kale salad should be called “Kale Cleopatra” because, while it is a relation of Caesar’s, it is far more badass.
It’s full of beneficial bacteria, fibre, vital—raw—nutrients, good carbs & tastes AMAZING.
I usually hate salad in the cold season. But not anymore! I don’t know about you, but I tend towards eating seasonally. It’s not something I do consciously, I’m just not usually into the delicate leafy greens all that much in winter. So, salad, as much as I adore the vital nutrients and flavours of raw veg, normally goes out the window in my diet for a good 6 months out of the year. Hearty greens like kale, however, are not only packed with nutrients, fibre & excellent for your digestive system—they’re actually a winter vegetable.
Zut alors! We’ve found a winter salad! I could eat this salad all day long, and would be a good move if I did! Not only does apple cider vinegar have beneficial bacteria that aids your digestive system, it also lowers blood sugar (which is the leading suspect in weight gain & essentially every other negative aspect of consuming carbohydrates), aids weight loss, helps you feel full (this salad is so satisfying), lowers cholesterol & it kills bad bacteria. One of the most challenging, and most dangerous, components of anti-bacterial efforts is the propensity to kill good bacteria as well as bad. This makes apple cider vinegar a somewhat magical weapon. (Level up!)
The homemade croutons are so chewy and crispy from being fried in butter, they make the salad seem really hearty. They’re ends from sourdough bread I make at home (you can find a recipe here). They’re also an excellent carbohydrate because the fermentation process of sourdough makes them low on the glycemic index (at least as low as quinoa—hard to believe, I know, but true). Again, you can find more info on that here.
Then we add the health industry’s darling: kale. It’s anti-inflammatory (this essentially means it prevents everything from muscle soreness to aging–ant-inflammatory is everything) plus it’s full of antioxidants which are as important. This isn’t to mention fibre, a bunch of vitamins, detoxifying properties… Kale is the industry’s darling for a reason. I love kale chips. I eat them … a lot. (I’ll post a recipe soon.) And I can find a million recipes to throw kale into: but all of them are cooked. Getting the raw, vital nutrients from kale (the “most nutrient dense food on the planet”), for me, is rare. There are some really yummy kale salads out there, but this one is woah. The tang from the apple cider, the soft chewy crispy croutons & the bite of the raw kale all come together to make a salad it’s hard to have one bowl of (but with all of the health benefits listed above, who cares, have two—have four)!
Kale Salad Cleopatra:
You can make your own favourite dressing and just sub out apple cider vinegar for the regular acid in the recipe, but always use a good oil. If you have a 3-6-9 or antioxidant blend in your fridge now is the time to use it (same goes for a flax oil, or any other you’ve bought for the benefits). I use olive oil because it’s healthy & it’s what’s on hand. I’m going to leave the amounts to you: I think your body will crave more of an ingredient when it needs it (I’ve been liking a really tart dressing lately and then I’ll opt for a fattier one at other times). I like to make a bunch in advance—you can just store it in a mason jar in the fridge for whenever (the vinegar and oil will both preserve & it keeps a very long time).
Olive Oil (or other Awesome Oil)
Apple Cider Vinegar
Liquid Aminos (or Soy Sauce)
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
– For a classic emulsification get your blender ready with everything in it save the pepper & oil. (You can always just do the shake in a jar.)
– Turn on the blender, take the plastic cap from the middle of the lid out and slowly add your oil.
– Grind the pepper directly into your emulsification or reserve it for topping the salad.
I like to use a cast iron pan because it actually infuses the food with iron. Really weird, but true. I also buy cultured butter because… I’m obsessed with culture. This is usually unsalted so the croutons will need salt if that’s the case. You can get fancy and add seasoning, but I find they soak up the dressing anyhow, so there’s plenty of flavour. For fat-reduced diets I would reduce the oil in the dressing to make up for the butter here. (But it’s all good fat anyhow, so use your sLund judgement.)
Sea Salt (if butter is unsalted)
– Sautée in a small pan to taste. They will need quite a bit of butter. Start with high heat & turn down.
– Turning occasionally to often in the pan as they get browner and browner.
Ok, this is going to sound a little weird, but trust me, I know what I’m talking about. I want you to wash the kale leaves, take their spines out and give them a rub down. Yes, I want you to massage your kale. Not only will this make the leaves softer and easier to digest, it will actually improve the flavour! Yes, this will take the bitterness out of the kale and produce a much sweeter, softer salad leaf.
Vegan Parmesan (optional: 1 part Almond Meal + 1 part Yeast + Garlic & Onion Powder + Sea Salt)
Fresh Ground Black Pepper (optional)
– Wash, de-spine, massage firmly in your fingers. You will see the leaves get brighter & brighter green. This is important for digestion. Really beat that kale up. Rip into bite size pieces. (Ripping is important if you are storing prepared kale for easy meals—it will last longer than being cut with a knife.)
– Throw your super-relaxed kale, croutons & dressing into a bowl and toss. You can then top with ground black pepper, maybe a lemon wedge and parmesan if you desire!
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