Healthy Kale Caesar Salad

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Healthy Kale Caesar Salad with a homemade yogurt Caesar dressing that you will never believe is lightened up. Paired with kale and some quick homemade croutons, it's one of the best kale salads around.

157 CAL 18g CARBS 6g FAT 9g PROTEIN 3
1 Comment

This massaged Kale Caesar Salad totally fulfills my craving for Caesar salad without breaking the calorie bank. The secret is the homemade Caesar dressing that's made with yogurt. Add some Blackened Shrimp or Lemon Oregano Chicken to make it a full meal.

Like everyone, I have been trying to eat more greens this month but am finding myself seeking more variety as we approach the end of the month. And one of the things I have been craving is a restaurant-style Caesar salad. One of my favorites is actually made with kale and I love the earthy flavors it adds to the salad. Plus there are all kinds of added nutritional benefits from making a Caesar salad with kale instead of Romaine.

The other thing I absolutely love about a Kale Caesar versus the traditional options is that it keeps well in the fridge. Kale is sturdy and won't wilt to a soggy mess if you end up with leftovers. For that reason, kale salads are great for meal prep. 

This Kale Ceasar is great as a side dish and you can easily turn it into a meal. Consider adding rotisserie chicken, salmon, shrimp, or steak. It's also delicious with white beans or chickpeas for a vegetarian option. You can also opt to add a whole grain like quinoa or brown rice to bulk it up.

How to make healthy Caesar dressing?

Like any good Caesar, the key to the recipe is the dressing. This healthy caesar dressing starts out with Greek yogurt, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and olive oil. Then to add the trademark Caesar flavors, you'll add garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and anchovy paste.

The anchovy paste is optional but if you want authentic tasting Caesar, then you defintiely want to include it. It doesn't taste fishy at all and just adds a salty, umami flavor that makes a caesar taste like a Caesar. I opted not to include the raw egg, but you could definitely whisk one in as well. Here's the basic healthy Ceasar salad dressing recipe:

  • 1/3 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (freshly grated is best)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 tsp. anchovy paste (optional but recommended)
  • Directions: Stir everything together, adding a bit of water or milk if needed to thin out the dressing. If possible, refrigerate it for 1-2 hours to let the flavors really combine.

Kale Caesar Salad recipe on a white plate with a wooden background.

Recipe Ideas for this Healthy Kale Caesar Salad

  • If you don't love kale, you can use Romaine lettuce for a more traditional Caesar salad. I also love using a combination of kale and romaine.
  • If you want a vegetarian version, you can leave out the anchovy paste and use a vegetarian Worcestershire sauce. You can replace the Worcestershire sauce with soy sauce as well.
  • For a traditional Caesar, add one raw egg to the dressing. If you are worried about the dangers of eating raw eggs, you can use a pasteurized raw egg.
  • For a low carb version, use full fat yogurt and leave off the croutons.
  • For a vegan option, you can substitute plain vegan yogurt or mayonnaise for the dairy yogurt. Then use nutritional yeast in place of the Parmesan cheese and skip the anchovy pasta.

Kale Caesar Salad with parmesan cheese and croutons.

How do you soften kale for a salad?

The key to softened kale for a salad is to massage your kale. Massaging the kale helps break down some of the tough fibers in the kale and makes it softer and easier to eat. The best way to massage kale is with a bit of fat. You can use olive oil or salad dressing. Just add a bit to the chopped kale leaves and then use your hands to gently massage the leaves. You will notice they get softer as you massage them. Usually, a minute or two is all it takes.

How do you prep and chop kale for a salad?

Start by removing the steam from the kale since it is very fibrous and tough. You can do this by simply holding the kale stem in your hand and gently pulling off the leaves. You can also chop out the kale with a knife. Then simply pile up, or roll together, your kale leaves and chop into strands. If you prefer a softer kale salad, you will want to cut the kale into smaller pieces, which tend to soften more easily.

Looking for more healthy salad recipes?

Meal Prep Kale Caesar Salads

If you want to make this salad for meal prep, there are a few tips that will ensure it comes out great everytime.

  • To make sure the kale doesn't get too soft, especially if you are prepping a few days in advance, store the salad dressing separately. However, take the extra step to massage the kale with a bit of olive oil so the kale is softened for the salad. The olive oil isn't heavy and won't cause the kale to get completely wilted.
  • Pack the croutons seperately so that they don't get soggy. 
  • Consider using mason jars for easy prep. Start by placing the dressing on the bottom of the jar. Add any protein you are using, this is optional. Then add the kale leaves. Finish with the Parmesan cheese and croutons. Everything will stay separate enough that they won't wilt.

Here are some of the products and tools I used for this recipe

  • Anchovy paste is a great ingredient to have on hand to add salty, umami flavor to a dish. I use it in salad dressing, pasta dishes, and quick stir-fries. Plus it is key for a good Caesar dressing.
The Recipe
Kale caesar salad with croutons and Parmesan cheese on a plate with a fork.

Healthy Kale Caesar Salad

157 CAL 18g CARBS 6g FAT 9g PROTEIN 3
1 Comment
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  • 2 slices sourdough bread
  • 1/3 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (freshly grated is best)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 tsp. anchovy paste (optional)
  • 6 cups Lacinato kale, chopped

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Preheat the oven (or toaster oven) to 400 degrees. Chop the sourdough bread into pieces and spray with cooking spray (or toss with olive oil.) Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 8-10 minutes until crispy. Remove and set aside.


Mix together the yogurt, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and anchovy paste. Add a touch of water if it is too thick. Season with pepper.


Toss with the kale, massaging it gently into the leaves. Add croutons and serve.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1.5 cups
Amount Per Serving
Calories 157
Calories from Fat 55
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6g
Saturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 6mg
Sodium 356mg
Total Carbohydrate 18g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 1g
Protein 9g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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1 Comment
On Healthy Kale Caesar Salad
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Cathy Dellinger
February 15, 2018 - 14:18
Add a Rating:
Absolutely fabulous. Had it on crisp romaine, but will definitely get into the kale groove. The dressing was as good as anything I’ve had out without using a raw egg. Love it!
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