Kale-Romaine Caesar Salad Recipe (2024)

By Julia Moskin

Updated Oct. 17, 2023

Kale-Romaine Caesar Salad Recipe (1)

Total Time
1 hour
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Caesar salad, done right, is a bowl full of contrasts: cool, watery leaves against dry, crunchy croutons; sharp lemon against rich cheese, and biting garlic against soothing egg. Most recipes focus on flavor; this one also unlocks the Caesar's secrets of temperature, texture, heat and umami. Kale and romaine make an ideal combination of greens, but all romaine or all kale is fine: just stay away from tender, wilting leaves like mesclun and Bibb lettuce. Using strong greens also means that the salad can be tossed up to two hours before serving, as long as it is kept cold. We use an easy microwave method to poach the egg, but the more traditional saucepan will work, too.

Featured in: For a Better Caesar, Get Kale Into the Mix

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Yield:4 to 6 servings

    For the Croutons (optional)

    • 1small (or ½ large) day-old loaf peasant-style crusty bread

    For the Salad

    • 12 to 16ounces green kale and romaine lettuce hearts, in roughly equal amounts
    • 1large or 2 small garlic cloves
    • 4 to 6anchovies
    • 1teaspoon Dijon mustard, more to taste
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • ½cup extra-virgin olive oil, more to taste
    • 2tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, more to taste
    • 1egg
    • 4ounces freshly grated Parmesan, plus an extra chunk for serving

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (6 servings)

502 calories; 30 grams fat; 8 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 16 grams monounsaturated fat; 4 grams polyunsaturated fat; 37 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams dietary fiber; 5 grams sugars; 22 grams protein; 820 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Kale-Romaine Caesar Salad Recipe (2)


Make the recipe with us

  1. Step


    Make the croutons: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Pull the soft bread out of the center of the loaf, leaving the crust behind, and tear the soft bread into bite-size pieces. You should have about 3 cups. Spread pieces on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes, until golden and crisp. Let cool.

  2. Prepare the kale: One large leaf at a time, use the tip of a small, sharp knife to cut along the sides of the tough center ribs. (Or, use your fingers to pull the leaves off the rib.) Pull out the rib and discard. When all leaves are trimmed, cut into bite-size pieces. (Do not shred.)

  3. Step


    Prepare the romaine: Cut large leaves crosswise into bite-size pieces. Leave inner leaves whole.

  4. Step


    Fill a sink or salad spinner with very cold water and submerge the leaves. Swish and let soak 5 to 10 minutes. Working in batches, lift out and drain on a kitchen towel, then dry in a salad spinner.

  5. Step


    Place a plastic bag filled with ice in the bottom of a salad bowl. Pile the washed leaves on top, cover with a damp kitchen towel and refrigerate until ready to serve.

  6. Step


    In a blender (or using a hand blender), combine the garlic, anchovies, mustard, a large pinch of salt, about a dozen grinds of black pepper, olive oil and lemon juice. Blend until smooth.

  7. Step


    Cook the egg: Poach in simmering water or in a microwave, until yolk is thickened but still runny. (To poach in a microwave, break egg into a glass bowl or measuring cup. Gently pour in warm water to cover the egg by about ½ inch. In bursts of 30 seconds or less, depending on microwave power, cook egg until white is just firm and yolk is thickened. Hold a slotted spoon over the sink and pour the egg and water into it, so the cooked egg is held in the spoon while the cooking water and any uncooked whites drain off.) Put the egg in the dressing and blend.

  8. Step


    Taste and adjust the seasonings with mustard, oil, lemon, salt and pepper. It should be pungent and sharp but not acidic. Blend again, transfer to a container with a tightfitting lid, and chill until ready to use.

  9. Step


    When ready to serve (or up to 2 hours beforehand), remove towel and ice from the bowl and fluff the greens. (If necessary, transfer to a larger bowl; you will need plenty of room for tossing.) Shake the dressing. To the greens, add half the croutons, half the dressing and half the cheese and toss well. Taste and toss with remaining dressing as needed. (If necessary, transfer the tossed salad back to the salad bowl.) Add remaining croutons. Sprinkle remaining grated cheese over the top and grind coarse pepper over that. Serve immediately (or refrigerate for up to 2 hours). Toss once more at the table.



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Cooking Notes


All my cooking career I have followed one foolproof practice with romaine lettuce to remove bitterness: in Step 3, cut off the bottom inch of the romaine head to expose fresh ends, then place cut-side down in 2 inches of warm water in your salad spinner for 15 minutes. All the milky, bitter sap is drawn out and the lettuce crisps up. Then proceed with chopping and soaking the leaves in cold water. Trust me, this improves any romaine salad immensely.


Nice recipe but too much oil (1/2 cup is more than enough, if serving 4. That gives each equal portion 2 tablespoons of oil -- totally sufficient.

also, the anchovies, providing both salt and structure, are best when pulverized into oblivion as from a mortar and pestle -- many people object to the bits but love the taste. pulverizing them makes those tiny "hairs" of bones undetectable on the tongue.

Worcestershire sauce (in addition to the anchovies) also adds some zip.


I have found that putting anchovies in a blender changes the taste in a way I find unpleasant. Instead, I cut them up and use a whisk to blend all of the ingredients, then let the dressing sit (either on the counter or in the refrigerator) for at least a half hour and then whisk again. The anchovies virtually disintegrate and the taste is great. (And I would add a dash of Tabasco and use Coleman's dry mustard instead of Dijon).


Another hint: in Step 5, dispense with the ice bag. Just put the inner salad spinner bowl with the romaine and kale pieces in the fridge while you whiz up the dressing. Cold air flows through the spinner slots and chills the greens very nicely.


138 degrees Farhenheit is sufficient to destroy salmonella. (160 is the recommended temperature to kill e. coli.) The white of the egg doesn't set until it reaches a temperature of 140 degrees F., so you would not even have to fully poach the egg for it to be safe.

Andrea Carlson

Anchovy paste works great

Tim Murtaugh

(Worcestershire sauce has anchovies in it.)

Tom H

All my cooking career I have followed one foolproof practice with romaine lettuce to remove bitterness: in Step 3, cut off the bottom inch of the romaine head to expose fresh ends, then place cut-side down in 2 inches of warm water in your salad spinner for 15 minutes. All the milky, bitter sap is drawn out and the lettuce crisps up. Then proceed with chopping and soaking the leaves in cold water. Trust me, this improves any romaine salad immensely.


Great recipe, I've made numerous batches. One MAJOR miss in the preparation directions in my opinion for the kale(I don't use any romain). In step 5, squeeze all of the lemon juice on the kale and toss, then refrigerate. The lemon juice softens the kale. I also add well cooked bacon cut into bits, grilled chicken and avocado, then it's a serious meal!!


Very good, especially the dressing.. Not wild about kale, but it adds a twist that's not unpleasant. Cheated on the croutons: used a product called "Texas Toast" croutons, large pieces that don't crack your teeth biting into them. Recommended. For convenience, substitute anchovy paste.


This was a huge hit at our house. For the record I used dry mustard (about a teaspoon) and about a quarter cup of lemon juice. My kids loved the dressing so much they didn't notice the kale, and I had to make a second batch so everyone could have thirds.


LOVE the flavors! Wanted the dressing to emulsify & couldn't get there as written. Now I make it like aioli: garlic, anchovies, lemon, Dijon, & S&P in a mortar or food processor; mash or pulse to a fine paste; add eggs & combine until thick, then drizzle in oil while whisking or churning in the FP. Great texture for dressing, & also great as a zesty dip. Def recommend anchovy fillets - it's Caesar so if you don't like 'em, try another dressing :D


I noticed the article mentioned using Worcestershire sauce instead of anchovies which, as a someone who really does want to like anchovies, I hate to admit that I would probably prefer. How much Worcestershire would you substitute? I know ultimately the dressing recipe can be adjusted to taste but I wasn't sure if there was a formula or minimum recommended amount.

Nancy Braman

Delicious! Had it for dinner last night and lunch today. Didn't use the romaine (which I don't like), used more anchovies than called for, and "medium boiled" the egg, (a la Jacques Pepin), rather than poach which I've never mastered. I fussed less with the greens, just wrapping in a towel in a plastic bag after washing and keeping in the fridge until time to use. Thanks for this wonderful recipe which will be one of my regulars from now on.

Kate Kissinger

I followed the recipe as written, even weighing greens to assure getting the proportions right. It turned out great. My family loved it, as did I.

Grant Ave

It was good. My teen liked it too.


2x mustard, increase lemon Would use 6 anchovies next timeHalf the parm

Julia G K

My favorite dressing. Used chopped kale and skipped the egg. Lovely.

Gillian RS

I wouldn't go to all that trouble again. Kale is tough and wrestling it into some level of comfort for eating takes too long and is too unfulfilling! Also, you need to add stuff, maybe bacon at least, to make it interesting. Find something else.


Made this twice, once all-kale and once all romaine. Squeezed anchovy paste from a tube instead of using fresh, which was easier. Love the creaminess of the dressing. Great salad.


After trying so many different Caesar dressing’s this one is by far the easiest and full proof. Absolutely love it! Thank you Julia you’re amazing!!

Leslie K

A new favorite!


Romaine and kale fresh from the garden, and a fresh egg from the girls made this the perfect salad for this time of year. Delicious per the recipe as is!


Took to Em’s for Jackson’s first bday party. It was okay but not great.


Wonderful! Loved the kale addition and accidentally grabbed sardines instead of anchovies--not supposed to use those in lieu of anchovies. So, made dressing without fish. Excellent!


The secret to this recipe is the layering. The first layer of crunchy croutons and cheese sponges up some of the dressing, so the greens stay lightly dressed despite the 1/2 cup of oil. Then the final topping of half the cheese and dry croutons gives it a crunchy intensity. Love this. I used boxed baby kale with one head of romaine sliced crosswise.

Claire F

I've been trying multiple Caesar salad recipes from NYT cooking - this one is best so far for dressing, hands down. Blender method works well. I used stovetop poached egg instructions from Mark Bittman's recipe since I don't have a microwave. Only used 3 anchovies and that was plenty for me. I used Lacinato kale (in addition to Romaine). Recommend avoiding the tough curly type kale if you have an alternative (or massage the leaves with olive oil and let sit a bit to make less chewy/tough.


Substituted Lea & Perrins for the anchovies (LOATHE them). Adding a poached egg into the dressing was a revelation. So so good. I will be making this dressing for many other salads as well...


This dressing was amazing! I made it in advance and let it sit in the fridge for about two hours and the flavor was amazing! But the biggest thrill in this recipe is learning how to poach an egg in the microwave! Who knew?


I skipped the romaine and just went straight kale. Somehow my Dijon went MIA and I had to sub with regular mustard, but it didn’t make a difference. I found the tip for a microwaved poached egg particularly useful! I’d never done that before. I added a little bit of chicken and just loved the result. The dressing was sublime.

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Kale-Romaine Caesar Salad Recipe (2024)
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