A classic caesar salad gets a spicy makeover. Hearty grilled kale drizzled with a lightened-up chipotle caesar dressing is topped with big + chewy paprika croutons. This is a full meal under the guise of a salad; it’s both the first and main course. And it’s a delight of a salad.
Grilling the kale adds a warm smokiness and complements the spicy kick of the chipotle dressing. The dressing is made with Greek yogurt, which makes it lighter and protein-rich when compared to traditional creamy caesar dressing. The smoked paprika croutons are perfectly toasty on the outside and soft, chewy, and seriously addictive on the inside. Dan and I ate our salads, and then proceeded to eat the leftover croutons dipped in the dressing. But do as I say and not as I do, and save those croutons for round 2 of your salad enjoyment.
- 7 ounces low-fat or fat-free plain Greek yogurt *
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- juice of 2 limes
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese*
- 2 chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 small baguette or chewy white bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 bunch kale, thoroughly washed + ribs and stems removed
- Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use. Note: the dressing recipe makes closer to 8 servings, so you could easily cut the recipe in half if desired.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and bread cubes. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with paprika and sea salt. Cook croutons until they have golden, toasted exteriors and chewy interiors.
- Heat a large grill pan over high heat. In small batches, add the kale leaves to the grill pan. Grill until just becoming crispy and golden. Remove from grill and set aside.
- To assemble the salad, distribute kale amongst the plates, top with a heavy drizzle of dressing, and garnish with croutons. Serve immediately.