Home > food, salad, vegetables, vegetarian > Kale salad: Avocado Caesar Dressing

Kale salad: Avocado Caesar Dressing


Dinner: avocado Caesar kale salad, cous cous grain mix from Trader Joe’s w/pesto, pan-fried tilapia w/pesto

I am so late to the game! First with the quinoa, now with the kale. I’ve always sauteed kale or put it in soups but only recently have I begun to eat it in raw salads. There’s a place near my office that does kale salad with an avocado (not caesar) dressing but whenever I eat it, I find myself sympathizing with cows. The chewing required is absurd and tedious. What I learned from making the Smitten Kitchen kale salad with pecorino and walnuts (substituting cranberries for raisins, now a requested favorite among my carnivorous extended family) is that the secret to kale salad is removing the ribs and thinly slicing the leaves. Over time, I’ve figured out a faster way of doing this–the leaves are so sturdy that you can pinch the bottom of the stem and zip your fingers along the stem and the leaves will come right off! Roll everything into a rough ball and chiffonade away…


Smitten Kitchen’s kale salad with pecorino and walnuts (substituting cranberries for raisins because ick–raisins)

The wonderful thing about the internet is that I don’t really need cookbooks anymore (sorry, writers! yes, I still buy some but not many). A flavor or idea flits through my head, a quick internet search, and I have a few directions to head in. In this case, I had an avocado to use and wanted a new way to do kale salad. I love caesar salads but never make them because they’re not the healthiest…but I figured avocado could substitute for the mayonnaise…and sure enough, I found a recipe to guide me in the right direction. I used only a small squirt of mayonnaise but I think the dressing will be fine next time without any mayonnaise at all. Since we’ve been leaning gluten-free lately (I know cous cous isn’t gluten-free but I’ve had that mix from Trader Joe’s lying around for a while and thought I should use it. We won’t be buying it again), I skipped croutons and just added some almonds for crunch.

The other great thing about kale salad is that it holds up well to heavy dressings, even the next day, so you can bring it for lunch, too! Or save half the dressing for later in the week and wait until you’re about to eat to dress your salad. I prefer to dress my salad 20-30 minutes prior to serving (or more) to give the kale some time to absorb the dressing (or break down, or whatever is happening).


Doesn’t look like much, but this avocado caesar is really tasty!

Kale Salad w/Avocado Caesar Dressing (4-6 servings, adapted from Five and Spice)

  • 6 anchovies, preserved in oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire
  • 1 avocado
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 bunches of kale, washed & chiffonade
  • handful of slivered almonds
  1. In a food processor, add anchovies, garlic, mustard and Worcestershire. Mix.
  2. Add avocado, lemon juice, olive oil and Parmesan. Mix again.
  3. Season with salt & pepper to taste. If the dressing is too thick, dilute with a tsp of water at a time.
  4. Mix dressing with kale to taste. Add in almonds. Let dressed salad sit for 20-30 minutes prior to serving.

Mom with her siblings (minus the youngest) plus me. Redwood City, CA c.1982


Family after one of our weekly Sunday lunches. Redwood City, CA 1982


We lost my uncle this week. He was my mom’s older brother, the eldest and only brother with six younger sisters. He joins my mom, aunt and grandparents wherever people go after they die. As I get older, fewer and fewer people in these pictures are with us. I guess that’s just what happens.

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