The Ultimate Kale Quinoa Caesar Salad

I love the spin on adding Kale instead of Romaine because leftovers (if there are any) won't get wilted and mushy!  Using kale takes this from ordinary and creates the ultimate kale quinoa caesar salad.  This is the perfect salad to add leftovers from the Zuni Chicken recipe, or buy a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken (so convenient and EASY!), shred it and add to the salad.  A brief note about anchovies -- don't fear the anchovy, embrace it!  It adds a salty (not fishy) flavor, and, I promise, your kids won't notice!

The Ultimate Kale Quinoa Caesar Salad

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Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons  freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon  rice wine vinegar
  • 12  capers, roughly chopped  (if salt-packed, rinse before chopping)
  • 1 to 2 large  anchovies, roughly chopped   (if salt-packed, remove tail, fins, and bones before chopping -- you can also substitute 1 tablespoon anchovy paste)
  • 1/2  teaspoon  Worcestershire sauce
  • teaspoon  Dijon mustard
  • 1/4  cup  extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For the salad:

  • sprigs fresh thyme
  • sprig fresh rosemary, about 1 inch long
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons  extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 to 3  slices day-old, best-quality bread  (I like ciabatta or sourdough boule)
  • small bunch Lacinato kale
  • cups  of cooked quinoa (cook according to package directions)
  • slices thick cut bacon
  • 1/2  cup  grated ricotta salata cheese   (or you can substitute feta)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


For the salad dressing:

  • Add lemon juice, rice wine vinegar, capers, anchovy, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce to bowl of blender and whir until thoroughly mixed and smooth. (If you’d rather not deal with the hassle getting your blender out, you can make this dressing with a hand blender.) With motor of blender or hand blender running, add olive oil in a thin stream until thoroughly emulsified. Taste -- the dressing should taste vibrant and lemony. Add a pinch or two of salt, a grind of pepper, and more lemon if needed. Put dressing aside until needed. (Note: Dressing can be made a few days ahead. Keep in a glass jar in the refrigerator and let sit out for about 15 minutes before dressing the salad.)


  • Cut bread into large bite-sized cubes. Keep crusts on for more rustic croutons. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in large heavy pan. (I use a cast iron pan.) Add bread cubes and cook over low heat, turning occasionally, until all surfaces of bread cubes are toasted and golden. Remove and set on a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with salt while still warm and set aside. (Croutons can be made a few days ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)


  • Wash kale in cold water. Several rinses may be needed to remove dirt and grit. Dry kale with a few layers of kitchen towels. Working carefully, remove thick stems from kale and roll kale leaves into long cigarette-style rolls. Cut kale into very thin strips. Add kale to salad bowl or serving plate. Pour 3/4 of the salad dressing over kale and toss with tongs or your hands until all leaves are coated.
    COOK BACON: Slice bacon lengthwise and then cut into 1-inch pieces. Sauté bacon in small skillet over medium low heat until cooked and crunchy. Pour bacon onto kale. If there is any rendered bacon fat in the skillet, add a spoonful of this to the kale, if you like. Remove onions from the oven and add half of them and any juices to kale.


  • Add croutons and ricotta salata to salad. Pour in reserved salad dressing if salad looks a little dry. Toss again. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed, adding a pinch or two of salt, a grind of pepper, or additional lemon. We enjoy this salad for dinner with a hearty vegetarian soup or fresh fish, simply prepared. Enjoy!
Have you made this recipe?I'd love to know! Leave a comment or recipe rating and tag me @amenuforyou on social media!

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