Crunchy Parmesan Toasted Bread Kale Caesar Salad
An easy delicious twist on the traditional Caesar salad! This kale Caesar salad is topped with parmesan and garlic toasted breadcrumbs, so you get a little bit in each bite! And the Caesar dressing is light and fresh – made with yogurt instead of eggs or mayo!
Holy moly! I like a ton of parmesan toasted bread on my salads!
This parmesan and garlic toasted bread kale caesar salad is a new favorite around here! Crunchy, toasty bread that’s seasoned with melted butter, parmesan cheese, and garlic. And unlike a traditional Caesar salad where you’ve got 5 sad little croutons on the whole thing, by crumbling the bread, we get a little bit each time, making each bite absolutely perfect!
Besides my obvious favorite part, there’s also finely shredded kale – use any kind you like. And the pièce de résistance – an easy yogurt-based Caesar dressing. By swapping the mayo and egg yolks for yogurt, I can pretty much eat this salad every day of the week!
What do you need to make a kale Caesar salad?
- French bread: I use French bread from the bakery section of my grocery store. Day-old bread works best as it takes less time in the oven to toast. However, fresh bread will work too. It’ll just take a bit more time to dry out and get crunchy!
- Parmesan: You’ll need grated parmesan to toss on the bread to get all golden, and you’ll want a handful of shaved or shredded parmesan for the salad
- Butter: A drizzle of melted butter and garlic seasoning help flavor the crunchy toasted bread that we use for the salad.
- Seasonings + Sauces: I use Asian fish sauce instead of anchovy filets in my Caesar salad dressing (an ingredient I never have on hand.) If you’re vegetarian, feel free to omit it from the recipe entirely or use a vegan fish sauce. You’ll also need a big pinch of garlic salt or garlic powder and salt for the toasted breadcrumbs.
- Garlic Cloves: a few cloves flavor the Caesar salad dressing.
- Mustard: A squeeze of dijon mustard is what I use. Feel free to use honey mustard if that’s what you have on hand – you only need a teaspoon!
- Lemon juice + vinegar: A splash of lemon juice and red wine vinegar gives this salad the acid that it needs.
- Yogurt: I use regular yogurt for this recipe as it’s an ingredient I always have on hand. Feel free to use greek yogurt instead if that’s what you have!
- Oil: We’ll use just a splash in the Caesar salad dressing. I use sunflower or canola oil because it’s colorless and flavorless, but you could even use olive oil or even avocado oil if that’s what you have on hand.
- Kale: I use curly kale in this salad. But you could also use lacinato kale for this recipe. It just adds a hint of bitterness, imo.
Here’s how to make the most delicious kale Caesar salad:
- Toast that bread; make it crunchy. Start by place the bread cubes on a baking sheet and let them bake in the oven on a rimmed baking sheet until toasty. Then, remove and let them cool for several minutes. When they’re at room temperature, pop them into the bowl of your food processor and pulse to break down into a large crumb. You could only need to pulse 1-2 minutes for a second or so! Then, add the butter to a bowl and the garlic salt and microwave on high until the butter melts. Stir to combine, then pour butter over the bread. Spread the breadcrumbs back out on the baking sheet in a single layer and bake them again. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with parmesan, and pop them back in until the cheese is golden and melted. Let the bread crumbs cool before placing them on the salad.
- Make that dressing. When the bread is toasting in the oven, add everything but the kale and parmesan topping to the food processor and run it until it turns into a smooth but thick sauce. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper as desired. If the dressing is too thick, you can add a splash of water or milk to thin it out.
- Dress it and serving it. Add the kale to a large bowl, toss with the dressing. Taste and adjust with salt and paper if it needs more. Then, add the toasted bread to the salad and serve immediately. Enjoy that crunch in each bite!
FAQs about this salad:
- I don’t like kale! Can I use something else? Use romaine or a spring mix if you’d like! A shredded cabbage mix could also work.
- Do I need regular or greek yogurt for this? You can swap the regular yogurt for Greek yogurt, no prob!
- Can I make the toasted bread crumbs in advance? Yes, you can! You can make the toasted bread up to one week in advance. Store them in an air-tight container. If the bread turns soft, pop it back on a baking sheet and place in a 300ºF oven until it toasts up again!
- What can I serve with this salad? You can make it with my pan-seared salmon, Greek grilled chicken, or toss in cooked tortellini!
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Everyday Kale Crunch Salad
- Lemon Basil Arugula Pasta Salad
- The Best Summer Panzanella
- Sesame Chicken Pasta Salad with Ginger Dressing
- Israeli Couscous Chickpea Salad
- Mediterranean Pasta Salad
- Marinated Mozzarella Tomato Salad
- 2 cups French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons butter
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt (or a ½ tsp salt + ¼ tsp garlic powder)
- 2 tablespoons grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
Caesar Salad + Dressing:
- ½ cup plain yogurt (or Greek yogurt)
- ¼ cup grated pecorino or parmesan (plus more for topping)
- 3 tablespoons canola oil (or avocado/olive oil)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon Asian fish sauce (or anchovy paste)
- 1 teaspoon EACH: dijon mustard AND red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ~5 cups (1- 1 ¼ bunch) shredded curly kale
- TOASTED BREAD: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325ºF. Place the cubed bread on a rimmed baking sheet and place the baking sheet in the oven for 15-18 minutes or until the bread is toasted. Allow the bread to cool for several minutes, break into small pie axes before placing it in a food processor, and pulsing it until it breaks down into large crumbs. You shouldn’t need to pulse more than once or twice! Add the butter and garlic salt to a small microwave-safe bowl, and melt. Toss the breadcrumbs with the melted butter mixture, spread evenly on the baking sheet, and place it back in the oven for 7-9 minutes or until lightly golden. Then, sprinkle with parmesan and continue cooking for another 6-8 minutes or until the cheese is golden and melted.
- DRESSING: While the bread is toasting the second time around, add everything but the kale and parmesan topping to the food processor and run it until it turns into a smooth, thick sauce.
- DRESS: Add the kale to a large bowl toss with dressing. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper as needed. Add the cooled toasted bread to the salad and serve!
- Day-old bread works best for this recipe and would take less time to toast than fresh bread. The recipe is written with fresh bread, but if you have stale bread, it'll probably toast in closer to 12-15 minutes the first time around. Toasting time may vary if you use GF, whole wheat bread, or other types of bread.
- Toasted parmesan bread can be made a few days in advance. Store in an airtight container. If it loses some crunch, just reheat in a 300ºF oven until toasty and crunchy again.