Temps are warming up, and you know what that means: Salad days are upon us! After seeing some humdrum Caesar salad kits out there, we decided to create a sensational seafood Caesar recipe that’s just as fresh and flavorful as the traditional version, but better for you. The delicious result is our very own Kale Caesar! This lightened-up twist on the iconic dish features your choice of sautéed shrimp or grilled salmon, on a bed of hardy kale with a lip-smacking yogurt-anchovy dressing. It all comes together in 20 minutes!
We start by swirling some Greek yogurt, grated cheese, anchovies and seasonings into a tangy dressing—if you have an immersion blender, it gets the job done quickly. Then, we come to a fork in the road: sautéed shrimp or grilled salmon? Trust us, you can’t go wrong with either choice! They’re both wonderful, and either one can be prepared quickly, with just a little olive oil, salt and pepper.
Now, on to the foundation. For a seafood Caesar, we need a wilt-free, but not overly fibrous, green that will do a stand-up job in any creamy situation. Lacinato (or “dinosaur”) kale is much less tough than its curly-haired cousin, so it’s ideal for salads. Just remove the stems, slice the leaves into thin strips, and massage it with olive oil. In a few minutes, you’ll have tender salad greens with all of the benefits of raw kale—including antioxidants, fiber, calcium and vitamins A, C and K.
All that’s left to do is toss everything all together. The bumpy texture of Lacinato kale makes it the perfect carrier for creamy dressing, and we add shavings of Parmesan (or other aged hard cheese) and cheese crisps for plenty of contrast. Crown your Caesar with some freshly sautéed or grilled seafood, and you will have a glorious salad worthy of an emperor, rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Long live the seafood Caesar!
Seafood salads are a healthy—and supremely satisfying—way to keep your cool this spring and summer. If you enjoy this kale Caesar, try our Seared Scallop Salad with Blueberries.
Kale Caesar with Shrimp or Salmon
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
Makes 4 servings
- ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup Parmigiano-Romano, Parmesan or Pecorino-Romano cheese, freshly grated or shredded
- 4 anchovies, in oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Lemon, halved
- 1 pound raw medium shrimp, peeled and deveined; or 1 pound salmon fillet
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 8 cups or lacinato kale, stalks removed and sliced into thin ribbons
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup Parmigiano-Romano, Parmesan or Pecorino-Romano, grated into thin slices with peeler
- ½ cup Parmesan whisps or crisps, broken or chopped
- To make dressing, add all ingredients except lemon to a food processor or immersion blender bowl. Squeeze juice from half of lemon into the processor bowl. Using food processor or immersion blender, blend until all ingredients are well-combined. If dressing is too thick, squeeze juice from the other lemon into the bowl; whisk or blend until remaining juice is mixed in. Set bowl aside.
- If you are using shrimp, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp, sprinkle on a dash of salt and pepper and cook 4 to 5 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until shrimp is opaque and cooked through. Remove from heat and keep warm while making salad. If you are using salmon, preheat grill to medium heat. Place salmon on a plate, drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper on salmon. Place salmon on grill and cook until salmon is cooked through, or flakes easily, about 10 to 12 minutes, flipping fillets halfway through.
- While shrimp or salmon is cooking, combine kale and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large salad bowl; massage kale with hands for 1 minute. Let sit for another 5 minutes. Then, sprinkle on salt, black pepper and dressing to salad; tossing to coat kale. Sprinkle on Parmesan cheese and crisps. Top with sautéed shrimp or grilled salmon.
Mixing bowl, immersion blender or whisk, large salad bowl, skillet or grill, spatula, plate