Kale Caesar Quinoa Bowl

By Updated on

This Kale Cesar Quinoa bowl is packed with protein packed quinoa, nutritious kale, black olives, and Parmesan cheese all in an easy, healthy homemade caesar dressing.

352 CAL 40g CARBS 17g FAT 13g PROTEIN
1 Comment

A hearty Caesar Quinoa Bowl with Kale that is easy to toss together, great for meal prep, and has all the flavor of Caesar dressing without the heavy dressing. Just looking for a salad? This is a heartier version of this Kale Caesar Salad.

This quinoa bowl, it's seriously my favorite thing for lunch lately. Hearty quinoa, crunchy kale, and a creamy homemade Caesar inspired dressing that I am happy to drizzle over almost anything. It makes a delicious vegetarian entree or can be paired up with some roasted chicken, shrimp, or steak. Tofu or chickpeas are also a great addition if you are looking to add some extra protein.

Plus since it keeps great in the fridge, you can make up a big batch and have it all week for quick meals.

Also if you love Caesar dressing, this is a great dressing recipe to have on hand. It's made with reduced calorie mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese. It's garlicky, peppery, and in my opinion, has just the right amount of creaminess from the mayonnaise.

A few readers have asked about substituting yogurt for the mayo. While it works, it won't be as creamy and will be a bit more tart. Sour cream may work better but I haven't had a chance to try it yet. And if you love anchovies in your Caesar dressing, you could definitely add a couple as well.

Caesar quinoa bowls with kale in a bowl with black olives, chopped kale, quinoa, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese.

How to make lighter caesar dressing?

Caesar dressing typically is made by emulsifying eggs yolks and oil (which is similar to how mayonnaise is made) and combining that with anchovies, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, black pepper, and other spices. While delicious, it can be very high calorie with over 80 calories and 10 grams of fat in just one tablespoon of typical restaurant Caesar salad dressing.

This version is much lighter and still packs in plenty of flavor.

  • 2 tbsp. hot water
  • 2 tbsp. reduced fat mayonnaise
  • 1.5 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tbsp Parmesan cheese

Recipe Ideas, Pantry Swaps, and Tips for Kale Caesar Quinoa Bowls

  • Make this Caesar bowl with any type of greens you like. You could use kale, spinach, Romaine lettuce, arugula, or mixed greens. However, if you make this with warm quinoa, it will wilt the greens. This works with the quinoa but for a more traditional salad green like Romaine or arugula, cool the quinoa first.
  • Swap in another grain or cooked pasta for the quinoa. 
  • Add extra protein with cooked chicken, steak, shrimp, salmon, canned tuna, chickpeas, or tofu.
  • Add extra veggies like cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, or celery. Roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, and hearts of palm are also delicious additions,
  • Play up the brininess of the recipe by adding some capers or sliced anchovies.
  • For a quicker option, a store bought Caesar dressing works as well. 
  • Pine nuts can be hard to find and expensive. If you don't have any on hand, just leave them out.

How to prep kale? What kind of kale to use?

Kale has a bad reputation for being coarse and fibrous. This is mostly due to not preparing it correctly. Always start by washing and drying the kale well to remove any debris and dirt. Then remove the kale stems, which are strongly and hard to eat. Cut the kale into small pieces by rolling the kale together and running a knife through it. 

Then take a minute to massage your kale. Do this with a touch of oil, cooking spray, or lemon juice. Use your hands to massage the leaves. This softens the kale and it will also darken the color a bit.  In this recipe, the warmed quinoa also helps to soften the kale.

This recipe works with both curly kale and Lacinato kale. 

How to meal prep Caesar Quinoa Bowls?

This is a great recipe for meal prep since kale is a hearty green that stands up to a few days in the fridge. It won't wilt in the same way that other greens wilt after a few days in the fridge. 

To meal prep this recipe, pack the kale, quinoa, olives, Parmesan cheese, and pine nuts together. Make the dressing separately and store it on the side. Add right before serving.

Looking for more quinoa recipes?

The Recipe
Kale caesar quinoa bowl with shredded kale, cooked quinoa, creamy Caesar dressing, and black olives in a wooden bowl.

Kale Caesar Quinoa Bowl

352 CAL 40g CARBS 17g FAT 13g PROTEIN
1 Comment
  • Print
  • Download
  • Send to your inbox


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 tbsp. hot water
  • 2 tbsp. reduced fat mayonnaise
  • 1.5 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup black olives, diced (I used Kalamata)
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan
  • 6 cups Lacinato kale, stems removed and chopped
  • 2 tbsp. pine nuts

Like this Recipe? Try our Meal Plans!

Slender Kitchen Meal Plans
  • Weekly Meal Plans
  • Easy Shopping List
  • Healthy, Low Carb, & Vegetarian
  • Nutritional Information


(Hide Media)

Switch to prevent your screen from going dark.


Cook the quinoa according to package directions. Massage the kale to slightly soften it. This can be done with a touch of oil, lemon juice, or cooking spray.


Whisk together the water, mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice, olives, garlic, pepper, and half the Parmesan cheese. Taste and season as needed.


Toss together the quinoa, kale, and dressing. Top with Parmesan cheese and pine nuts.


If making this for meal prep, pack the dressing separately.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 2 cups
Amount Per Serving
Calories 352
Calories from Fat 152
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 17g
Saturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 7mg
Sodium 305mg
Total Carbohydrate 40g
Dietary Fiber 6g
Sugars 1g
Protein 13g

* 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.

user image
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
† We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
1 Comment
On Kale Caesar Quinoa Bowl
user image
user image
Megan Eaton
January 6, 2016 - 17:33
Add a Rating:
I usually despise kale but I'm so glad I decided to try this recipe! I loved it! I massaged the kale first and put the dressing over it before adding in the hot quinoa. It came out super tender. Will definitely make this one again!
Instagram Icon
Did you make this?

Snap a picture and show us what you made on Instagram or Facebook. Tag us using @SlenderKitchen or #slenderkitchen.