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kale caesar salad recipe with chicken and homemade croutons

Why I love this kale caesar salad

I suppose I should just warn you now. I’m on a mission to create as many kale salad variations as possible. Right now, my goal is ten, but I’m sure the possibilities are endless.

So far we have the kale mango salad, this kale chicken caesar salad,  and I have a BLT one up my sleeve when I’m craving my BLT pasta salad without carbs. Why am I on such a kick, you ask?

Well, kale salads are amazing. They hold up really well. They won’t wilt overnight, which makes them perfect for lunches and make-ahead salads. Plus, kale has more vitamin C than an orange and more calcium than milk? So, now I’m on a mission to cut lettuce out of my life and replace it with kale.

More kale recipes: kale and shredded brussels sprouts salad / turkey sausage and kale soup / strawberry caprese kale salad / garden vegetable soup

chicken caesar salad recipe made with kale and homemade caesar vinaigrette

How to make a chicken caesar salad with kale

Cook the chicken.

Use a meat mallet to pound your chicken to an even thickness, and season it with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. I don’t usually measure, but you can if you want. The more seasoning, the more flavor you’ll have.

Heat a large skillet to medium-high and cook the chicken for about 5 – 6 minutes per side, or until the center has reached 165˚F. If you aren’t using a non-stick skillet, use a little cooking oil or spray to keep the chicken from sticking.

Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 – 10 minutes before slicing.

how to massage kale (kale in a bowl before being massaged with oil, salt and lemon juice)
How to massage kale

Once your kale is cleaned and chopped (or torn) into small pieces, add it to your salad bowl. Drizzle a tiny bit of oil and lemon juice (maybe 1 – 2 teaspoons each), and add a pinch of salt.

Use your hands to massage the kale until it has turned from a cloudy green to a dark, vibrant green. The texture of the kale should be softer to the touch and look slightly wilted.

Add the dressing and mix the salad.

Since most caesar dressings out there have milk in them, I have just started making my own caesar vinaigrette, but there are several on the market that don’t include dairy.

Add the homemade croutons, cooled chicken and parmesan cheese. You can read all about our favorite dairy free cheese, but for this recipe I used this dairy free brand. If you’re making your salad in advance, I recommend adding the dressing and remaining ingredients just before serving.

FAQs and tips for making kale caesar salad

What kind of kale goes on salad? I normally use regular, curly kale for my salads. It’s more on the bitter side and definitely needs to be massaged before eating it raw.

If you can find flat (lactino kale, aka dinosaur kale), you can definitely use that. It has a milder, nutty flavor and won’t need to be massaged, but I have trouble finding it, so I usually just go with the curly.

Does massaging kale make it less bitter?

Yes. Massaging curly kale breaks down its fibers and helps tone down the bitterness of the kale. The lemon juice and salt added when massaging it also helps with this.

How long will massaged kale keep?

I find that after massaging my kale, it will keep for about 5 days to a week. Storage time will vary based many factors, including ingredient freshness, so always use your best judgment before consuming.


Kale Caesar Salad Recipe with Chicken

Kale Caesar Salad with Chicken | This easy massaged kale salad recipe makes the best caesar salad. It’s healthy and dairy free (paleo friendly). #dairyfree #caesarsalad

  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Salads
  • Cuisine: American


  • 1 large bunch kale, stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
  • Pinch teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 cooked chicken breast, sliced
  • 1 large handfuls croutons
  • 1/4 cup vegan parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup caesar vinaigrette


  1. In a large bowl, combine kale, olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Massage the kale until it begins to wilt and a darker color develops.
  2. Add the cooked chicken, parmesan cheese, croutons and caesar vinaigrette. Toss to combine.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 346
  • Sugar: 1.3 g
  • Sodium: 1192.2 mg
  • Fat: 22.5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 12.8 g
  • Fiber: 1.1 g
  • Protein: 23.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 70.6 mg

Keywords: dairy free, easy, healthy

Last Updated on November 5, 2021 by Melissa Belanger

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