Easy Kale Caesar Salad

This kale caesar salad recipe fuses the heartiness of kale salad and the bright, lemon-parmesan flavor of caesar salad—with none of the fuss! It’s easy and healthy, too, at just 170 calories per serving.

I wasn’t going to join the cult of kale; I wasn’t. But then again, of course.

It was the same thing with chambray shirts. I wasn’t I wasn’t I wasn’t. Until I was.

In reality, though, I’ve liked kale in all of its ways for a few years now — as chips, massaged, as a garnish on deli platters — but I haven’t gone wild over it in the same way that I did with, say, brussels sprouts.

Most of the recipes for kale anything are fussy, and on a very basic level — simply a way to make a superfood that tastes pretty blah on its own, digestible.

This kale, though? You don’t need to massage it. Or roast it. Or tell it it’s beautiful and worthwhile until that becomes true.

But I didn’t create this recipe entirely by myself; Steve did. So, to give him some credit, let’s talk about him.

To find the roots of this recipe we’d have to go back to the summer of 2011, when we met. We were having our very first phone conversation — he, a literary agent, and I, not a literary agent but still very much loved by my mother. It was morning; I was wearing pajamas, living in Seattle. There was this book idea.

Our talking was easy, completely sensical. We laughed, talked about growing up chubby, our mutual food likes, our dislikes. And that was that. There was no one else I needed to consider.

Since then, he’s become one of my close friends. He’s met my clan and I’ve met his. We text often and brunch when we can find places with the right kind of bloody marys — that is to say, spicy but not too heavy on the horseradish. We play Dominos together, if that clues you in to how spirited we are. I feel comfortable enough with Steve to make fun of him in front of his significant other.

Steve’s been telling me about this kale salad for a while now. “It’s so easy, Andie. I make it all the time,” he’d say. And finally, at a recent cookout, he brought it to the table.

It was simple and perfect. Not in the slightest what I would expect from such a short, sweet ingredient list. It was clean and bright and yet still satisfying. Knowing how healthy it was seemed only a perk.

Steve adds a generous helping of Parmesan cheese — enough to really coat the leaves, because none of us wants to have that horrible spaghetti-eating experience where you run out of Parmesan after the top layer of bites.

Enjoy it as a side for just about anything.

How To Make This Kale Caesar Salad – Step by Step

  • To a small bowl, add the garlic and anchovy paste. Add the lemon juice and whisk to combine. Add the olive oil in a steady stream, while whisking constantly, to incorporate.
  • To a large mixing bowl, add the kale. Pour the dressing over the kale and toss well to coat the leaves. Add the Parmesan cheese and toss again. Let the salad stand for at least 30 minutes to allow the kale to soften in the dressing, or better yet — up to 24 hours (covered in the fridge), before serving.

The Key To This Kale Caesar Salad – Anchovy Paste!

The key to maximizing the flavor of the vinaigrette—what gives it that identifiable CAESAR taste—is a small amount of anchovy paste. If you’re seafood averse, don’t worry; the anchovy doesn’t come through as fishy, just rich and slightly salty. Of course you can use a tin of anchovies and simply mash with a fork (then measure out 1 teaspoon for this recipe), but I like to use anchovy paste, sold in a squeeze tube, because it’s easy and keeps for quite a while in the refrigerator!


How Healthy Is Kale?

Kale is definitely one of the healthiest and most nutritious plant foods in existence, making this Kale Caesar Salad, tasty and good for you!

Kale is loaded with all sorts of beneficial compounds, some of which have powerful medicinal properties.

Kale is very high in nutrients and very low in calories, making it one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.

Many powerful antioxidants are found in kale, including quercetin and kaempferol, which have numerous beneficial effects on health.

Kale is extremely high in vitamin C, an antioxidant that has many important roles in the body. A single cup of raw kale actually contains more vitamin C than an orange!

Which Kale Is Best For Salad?

Lacinato (or Tuscan or Dinosaur) Kale is super dark in color, a bit thinner in texture and appearance, and has wrinkles (but not curls) is great cooked and raw for salads, but it has skinnier leaves so it’s easier to eat than other kale sorts, which are tougher. It’ll be a bit richer in flavor and chewier than other kales.

Top Tips For This Kale Caesar Salad

  • Allowing your kale caesar salad to rest for at least 30 minutes (or overnight) in the fridge allows the tough kale leaves to soften and lets the flavors marry.
  • Tuscan kale is perfect for this salad.
  • Rather than using a can of anchovies, you can take the easier route and use anchovy paste, which comes in a tube and keeps in the refrigerator for quite a while. Find it in the grocery store near the canned tomatoes!
  • Serve the salad as a side dish or as a main course with salmon, shrimp, chicken, or tofu.

Check Out These Other Delicious Kale Recipes

Farro Salad with Kale

Quick Chicken Sausage Stew with Kale

Kale Smoothie

Spicy Shrimp Bucatini Pasta with Kale

Mediterranean Salmon with Sautéed Kale & Zucchini by Blue Apron

Spicy Kale and Coconut Fried Rice by Cookie + Kate

If you have tried this Kale Caesar Salad recipe, or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how tried it turned out in the comments below! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family friendly food!

Easy Kale Caesar Salad

An easy (and healthy!) kale caesar salad made with chopped kale, olive oil, garlic, anchovy paste, fresh lemon juice, and Parmesan cheese.
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy ceasar salad recipe, healthy caesar salad, kale caesar salad recipe
Servings: 5 servings
Calories: 170kcal


  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon or ~3 tablespoons
  • 6 cups chopped or torn kale leaves (recommended: curly kale or lacinato kale)
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  • To a small bowl, add the garlic and anchovy paste. Add the lemon juice and whisk to combine. Add the olive oil in a steady stream, while whisking constantly, to incorporate.
  • To a large mixing bowl, add the kale. Pour the dressing over the kale and toss well to coat the leaves. Add the Parmesan cheese and toss again. Let the salad stand for at least 30 minutes to allow the kale to soften, or better yet — up to 24 hours (covered in the fridge), before serving.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 170kcal | Carbohydrates: 9.8g | Protein: 5.7g | Fat: 13.8g | Fiber: 3.2g | Sugar: 2.2g


35 thoughts on “Easy Kale Caesar Salad

  1. Morgan

    I’m that girl. That girl that eats the top parmesany layer of spaghetti, re-tops the 2nd layer with parmesan, then eats that parmesany layer, then repeat. Assuming I have a GIANT plate of 3-layer spaghetti, which I usually do. Because what are serving sizes?

    Anchovy paste makes me nervous but I trust you. I love kale and caesar salads, so I will be trying this asap!

  2. Gwen@Gwensfishfood

    I too am a late-comer to the kale game. I tried it before but never really saw what all the fuss was about (but have similar feelings as you about brussel sprouts! twins!). So it’s funny and crazy that I recently also posted about my own very simple kale salad! It seems like kale and lemon must be a match made in heaven, because my salad also is lemon-heavy. But I take it a different route by adding red pepper flakes, which makes for a light but spicy salad. =) I’ll be trying your variation next!

  3. Cinnamon Vogue

    This is great. The thing I like about is there is no sugary salad dressing. Very simple. Anchovy paste. Now that is something I have not tried. Thanks Steve and Andie. Great job.

  4. Noel

    I too scratched my head over Kale. What am I gonna do with this stuff? Had a couple glasses of wine while I was contemplating this issue and this is what I came up with. . Got my steamer basket out, had some extra pineapple juice. Poured that in the bottom then put a layer of kale sprinkled with coriander then more layers and more coriander. It was really good. You could use any kind of juice that you have on had. Steamed Kale at its best!

  5. Shelly

    “No-massage” kale salad, I love it! Sometimes you just don’t have the energy to give your kale a full on massage. ;) Will have to try this super easy prep, I’m glad you’re back with recipes, can’t wait to try it!

  6. Diana

    Andie, I feel I an say this because I have been with you on your journey here for a long long time.
    I ordered your book the minute I saw it was out.

    I just want to say that with the tilapia sandwich and now this salad, that

    You Are Back.
    I felt like you had sort of left us there for awhile. But now your voice is back. I’m glad because I missed you.
    Welcome home.

  7. Sharon D.

    Andie, this will her the 2nd of your recipes that I’ve tried this week…and I can’t say enough words about the deliciousness of the Cajun Tilapia Sandwich with Bacon & Lime Mayo! My hubby and I both loved this! I can’t wait to try the Kale Caesar salad now. I love Kale in my morning Green Smoothies, but this sounds like another great way to get in this healthy green!! Thanks for all you do!! :)

  8. Angeli Yuson

    Excellent recipe, looks delicious!

    I haven’t yet joined the “kale bandwagon” but it wont be long until i do!

    Thanks for sharing

  9. Nichole

    I feel like I am one of the last people to get on board with kale…I like it, I don’t lust it and need it my life. I do, however adore simple dressing with fresh lemon. Hmm, I need to try this. Thanks Andie (and Steve)! In other news, I love a well made bloody mary ;)

  10. Samara Barnard

    What a visual treat and a healthy delight… I so want to have it right now :) I am simply in love with salads and this is the reason behind my fitness. Thanks for sharing this recipe, I am going to this for sure.

  11. Jilly

    Made this last night and let it sit in the fridge until I could wait no longer…I paired it with a marinated chickie breast with the salad over the top…OH MY I AM IN LOVE!!! So simple and perfectly delicious! Thank you for sharing!

  12. T

    I’m afraid to commit to the anchovy paste. What else would I use it for? Is there a substitution or should I just quit whining and get it already?

  13. Hannah

    Oh MY.

    This looks AMAZING, Andie.
    I’m putting on my list of “bring to school” lunches. And with the sitting time it needs, making this salad the night before won’t turn it into a soggy mess at lunch the next day! :D

  14. Debra

    That’s an awesome kale recipe! I can already see my dinner with that salad, and maybe some cherry tomatoes thrown in and a lean piece of steak on the side! YUM!

    Definitely bookmarking this page! Thanks for sharing :)

  15. Holly from 300 Pounds Down

    I’ve been looking for ways to make kale more inviting to me. I love Caesar salad and I really love that this does not have a lot of sugar or carbs in it. Perfect!!! At whole foods I often see something similar to this but I’m always afraid of what might be in it that I don’t know about. So this will give me the chance to make it myself knowing exactly what the ingredients are! Thanks!

  16. Amy @ Thoroughly Nourished Life

    There is no greater tragedy than the un-cheesed pasta, or in this case, salad. No one needs that kind of trauma in their life. I do however, need to pick up some kale this weekend so that I can get my no massage salad on. Please excuse me if I substitute some olives for the anchovies, I just can’t eat the creatures of the sea.
    Thanks Andie :)

  17. kira

    Made this for dinner last night and it is AMAZING. Thank you Andie!

    It was good even 30 min after marinating before dinner but even better today as lunch!

    Don’t hesitate to buy the anchovy paste. It was less than $3 and I’m pretty sure I will be making this weekly now.

  18. Alanna

    I made this tonight but it has a horrible fish aftertaste, looked at the packet and my anchovies paste main ingredient is salmon!

  19. Joanne

    I like kale but never thought of adding anchovy paste to the dressing. What a great idea! I’ll have to buy some tomorrow and try this. I Can tell just by reading the recipe that I’ll like it. Thank you for sharing. And love the photos!

  20. Aggie

    I’m in a salad rut. I’m also buying huge bags of kale each week. It’s about time I make this. I love anchovies and have never bought paste. I bet the flavor is amazing!

  21. Jessica

    Made this last night to go with lasagna. SO tasty, easy, and allowed me to eat just a small portion of lasagna and still feel full! Love you Andie!

  22. Mimi

    I love the long leafed Italian kale (Lacinato). It is more tender and tastier than the traditional stuff. I’m going to give this salad a try, using the Lacinato, for dinner Sunday evening. But we won’t tell Mister about the anchovy paste – he’d give me his gack face and avoid the salad.

    What I’ll miss are the croutons! Any suggestions for something delightful but not as unhealthful as the store bought variety?

  23. Christina

    YES PLEASE to a kale salad I don’t have to massage (massaged ones can be great, but this looks like a delightful addition to my kale repertoire) – thanks for posting it!

  24. Pingback: 100+ Healthy Recipes

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