Kale Caesar Salad

In this Kale Caesar Salad, kale is massaged until tender in a bright and flavorful dressing made with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and Parmesan cheese.

Sprinkling parmesan cheese on kale caesar salad.

If you don’t think you like kale or that your family wouldn’t eat it, I’m here to let you in on a little secret: kale needs to be massaged first! As you rub-down the kale leaves with a little olive oil, the leaves darken and shrink up making it soft and quite delicious to eat. While there are many ways you can dress a salad, my family is a huge fan of my shredded Kale Caesar Salad.


  • Kale: A hearty leafy green with a lot of crunch, it has a strong earthy taste and is great raw or cooked.
  • Lemon juice: Adds bright, acidic flavor to the dressing that balances out the nutty and salty flavors.
  • Parmesan cheese: Nutty and earthy, it’s a hard cheese that goes well on salads and pastas.
  • Olive oil: A heart healthy oil that helps to dress the salad and soften the kale leaves.
  • Anchovy paste: Pungent and salty, a little goes a long way in adding a great savory flavor to sauces and more, without making things taste fishy.
  • Garlic: I add garlic to almost everything, as it adds strong, delicious flavor and aromatics.
  • Dijon mustard: A tad bit tangier and spicier than regular mustard, it adds great flavor to the dressing.

How to Make Kale Caesar Salad

Chopping kale

Start your Kale Caesar Salad by cleaning and cutting your kale. I like to shred it into very thin pieces.

Grating garlic

Next, start your dressing by putting anchovy paste and grating garlic into a large bowl.

Adding parmesan cheese to bowl

Then add the grated parmesan cheese.

Adding dijon mustard to bowl

Followed by the dijon mustard.

Squeezing lemon juice

Next add the lemon juice, making sure you catch any seeds.

Whisking in olive oil

Gently whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is combined.

Mixing kale in dressing

Add your shredded kale and gently massage leaves until evenly coated and leaves are softened.

Kale caesar salad.

If desired, season with salt and pepper, then top with fresh parmesan cheese and enjoy your Kale Caesar Salad!

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can you eat kale raw in a salad?

Yes, in this salad the kale is raw! Like I’ve mentioned, you want to make sure the kale leaves are massaged and evenly coated in the dressing to help soften them.

What do you eat with a caesar salad?

This salad pairs great with pasta, seafood, or grilled meats!

How do you store leftover kale caesar salad?

Keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Kaley caesar salad

More Salads

Eat It, Like It, Share It!

Did you try this salad? The next time you make it, snap a picture and share it to your socials. Tag @thelemonbowl and #thelemonbowl so we can admire and share your meal.

Liz eating kale caesar salad.

Don’t be afraid of the anchovy paste! My kids love this salad, and have never mentioned anything fishy about it. Give this Kale Caesar Salad a try and see for yourself!

Your fork is waiting.

Kale caesar salad 2

Kale Caesar Salad

4.47 stars average
In this Kale Caesar Salad, kale is massaged until tender in a bright and flavorful dressing made with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and Parmesan cheese.
PREP: 5 minutes
TOTAL: 5 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 8 cups shredded kale (any kind works)
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon anchovy paste
  • 1 clove garlic (grated)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the Caesar dressing (lemon juice through Dijon mustard.)
  • Add kale and massage until tender, about 45-60 seconds.
  • Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. 


Note: you’re welcome to use less lemon juice but I prefer mine on the tangier side as the acid helps break down the hearty kale. Additionally, if you’re not concerned with calories, feel free to add more olive oil. 

What can I substitute anchovy paste with?

If you’re not a fan of anchovies you can try substituting roasted sesame tahini instead.


Calories: 163kcalCarbohydrates: 14.8gProtein: 6.9gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 329mgFiber: 2.7gSugar: 0.4g

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21 thoughts on “Kale Caesar Salad”

  1. Here’s a trick for people who don’t like an overly tart lemon flavor. If you can find Meyer lemons, use them instead. They are a cross between a lemon and (I believe) a mandarin orange. Anyway, they look like darker yellow lemons, but are sweeter. They are my favorite lemons.

  2. Thanks for introducing me to the proper way of softening kale. This was fast and delicious although a wee bit too lemony for me. I added a spoonful of organic honey to balance and let it sit for a bit and for us, this worked better.
    FYI – I asked the family if they noticed the anchovies. No one did. But I felt they added depth to the overall flavour. Thanks again.

  3. We enjoyed the recipe, I exchanged the anchovy paste for roasted sesame tahini because I don’t like anchovies I also added 2 strips of chopped bacon for my husband. The most fun is that I can add or substitute and it is still a great tasting and great looking salad. Thank you for putting it together.

  4. We loved this – although we also found the lemon a bit too heavy and cut back on that. And without a doubt — the anchovy paste is essential.

  5. I had high hopes for this recipe but there was so much lemon that it made it more of a [super pucker-y] lemon vinaigrette; it didn’t taste at all caesar-salad to us. Disappointed; the recipe looked great at first glance.

    1. Hi Janna,

      So sorry you didn’t enjoy this recipe! If you ever find the lemon to be too strong just add more oil and salt. :) Admittedly, I prefer to keep the calorie count low so I double up on citrus and keep the oil lower!

  6. I had the most amazing kale caesar salad at a restaurant a few months back and have been frantically searching for a recipe to match it! Thanks for the post – I can’t wait to make this!

  7. Oh my gosh! We’ve eaten this tonight and it was A.Maze.Ing!!! Fresh leaves from the garden made it even more special. Thank you :)

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