Homemade Caesar Salad {Dressing} with Baby Kale

An updated Caesar salad recipe with extra vegetables and tiny baby kale tossed with a homemade Caesar dressing and topped off with Big flakes of Parmesan and buttery croutons.
Simple Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing #recipe via FoodforMyFamily.com


There is a taller clone on the other side of the counter from me. I hand her a cutting board and knife and push a leftover chicken breast in her direction. On my side there are onions and celery and bright orange carrots. I shove the carrots towards her, too.

Her music is playing through the speakers, carefully chosen. Somehow in the last two years, the influence of school friends has become the driving force in her preferences rather than the various subgenres of alternative indie rock that her mom and dad lean towards. Still, there are artists and songs with considerable overlap, and so a playlist of sorts is serving as the backdrop to our dinnertime antics.

Once the ingredients are chopped into small pieces, my clone comes around the counter and takes over at the stove. She asks questions when she’s uncertain, but the majority of our conversation is focused around obtaining track cleats, how last night’s sleepover was, and her singing along to the music.

She stirs the vegetables in the pot with a wooden spatula, her grip sure and certain, but a bit of hesitance still in her actions. She always seems to be waiting for me to make suggestions.

With the soup simmering, I set her on the task of making croutons, while I start in on the salad dressing. In our small kitchen we bump shoulders and poke each other playfully to encourage the other to move away from whatever it is they’re blocking. Her chestnut hair swings around in a high ponytail while mine hangs braided over my shoulder.

I try to never take these small moments for granted. I know how quickly the pendulum of adolescence shifts, and suddenly we’ll be facing off. My voice raised and stern. Her voice raised and reckless. Emotion driving them both. Instead, I’ll remember that it always comes back to this and focus on the now.
Simple Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing #recipe via FoodforMyFamily.com
I have four interns this week. They lounge around after breakfast instead of heading out the door. They stay flopped on the couch and sprawled across the living room rug in pajamas until I shoo them from the room, demanding they return when dressed even as I sit at the computer unshowered in my leggings and an oversized sweater. Parenting is often a hypocritical sport.

Today, one small intern sat on the living room rug, blue baby blanket in his fist, staring out the window at the all white landscape. “Mom, how many more days until spring gets here? I don’t like the snow anymore.” Spring break often looks a bit more like a second winter break here. Still, I’m holding on to the hope that the equinox tomorrow serves as more turning point than it did last year. We could use a bit of sunshine around these parts.
Simple Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing #recipe via FoodforMyFamily.com
For now I’ll make do with salads. This one is a bit of an untraditional Caesar. I prefer it over tradition, though. What started as randomly adding whatever we had on hand has become a very specific mix of kale, cucumbers, tomatoes, and spring onions that only serve to increase my love for this salad. I’ve given two dressing methods (you’ll find the raw egg yolk version in the “notes”), and my words of wisdom would be the dressing is only as good as the ingredients you add into it.

I tend towards high quality mayonnaise with as few ingredients as possible (Sir Kensington’s has a short list of GMO-free ingredients and is what I use when I opt for the mayo method) and Dijon mustard with a kick. My sister introduced me to Maille after her first trip to France, and it’s become my Dijon of choice. I like the added brine of the anchovies, but if smashing tiny fish isn’t your thing, just double the Worcestershire.

I am perhaps biased, but I think this pairs flawlessly alongside a steaming bowl of soup as you wait for spring to arrive. Eventually it will come, and I’ll be ready.

Simple Caesar Salad {Dressing} with Baby Kale

 

Ingredients

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 anchovies
  • ½ cup high quality mayonnaise
  • 4 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • black pepper
  • sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 head romaine, chopped
  • 3 cups baby kale (or a mix of baby kale/spinach/chard/other greens)
  • 3 spring onions (greens only), diced
  • 1 cup English or Persian cucumber slices
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup homemade croutons

Directions

  1. To prepare the dressing, minced and then mash the garlic and anchovies, creating a paste. Place in a bowl. Add in the mayonnaise, 4 tablespoons of Parmesan, lemon juice, Dijon, and the Worchestershire. Stir to combine.
  2. Slowly whisk in the oil until incorporated. Add in pepper and salt to taste. Set aside.
  3. In a large salad bowl, combine the chopped romaine, the kale and other greens, the spring onions, cucumbers, and the cherry tomato halves.
  4. Just before serving, pour the dressing evenly over the salad. Toss to coat evenly, using salad servers or a set of tongs. Garnish with homemade croutons and extra grated Parmesan cheese.

Notes

You can make this recipe without mayonnaise. Simply substitute two egg yolks for the mayonnaise portion, and whisk in additional extra virgin olive oil (about ¼ cup) until the desired dressing consistency is reached.

For the croutons: I mixed 2 tablespoons of melted butter with 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan. I tossed that with 4 cups of bread chunks from a leftover loaf. I baked at 375ºF for 15 minutes, stirring once about halfway through.
Recipe type: Salad, Side Dish
Author:
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 8

 

Comments

  1. This is so pretty and I love the kale instead boring lettuce!! Cannot wait to try! :)
    Oh and I love the no raw eggs because the last time I had caesar I got so sick!

  2. Here’s hoping that spring reaches you soon!

  3. looks fabulous Shaina!! Allison and I listen to music while we are in the kitchen too – we are each “allowed” to say skip 2 times lol

  4. My kids aren’t teens yet…it will be interesting to see how they grow! And I love a good, healthy caesar salad.

  5. Love you two versions and I can’t wait to have one of these amazing Caesar salads.

  6. fabulous idea! My kids will LOVE this

  7. Amazingly delicious!

  8. Your writing is beautiful and unparalleled. I can’t wait to come back tomorrow (when I’m not on my phone;) and stroll through your posts. OXOX

  9. Oh, ment to say, love your quote “My voice raised and stern. Her voice raised and reckless. Emotion driving them both. Instead, I’ll remember that it always comes back to this and focus on the now.”
    Speaks volumes to me! ;)

  10. Salad perfection.

  11. My boys love Caesar salad – going to have to add some baby kale next time. This looks so pretty!

  12. I love this post and your writing, just beautiful. Music and food are the perfect match. I have not had mayo Caesar, I’ll totally try as sometimes I don’t want raw eggs.

  13. Clones and interns and a good anchovy caesar salad dressing…I love it all!! :)

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