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October 8, 2013

Strawberry, kale and toasted almond Caesar salad recipe {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Strawberry, kale and toasted almond Caesar salad.

Whether the idea for this salad originated with a neighbor's gift of some kale stalks, a few gorgeous strawberries in the refrigerator, or a bag of sliced almonds I found in the freezer when I was searching for walnuts, I really can't remember. What I do know is that the combination is magical: sweet strawberry, bitter kale and crunchy almonds, bound together with a yogurt-based vegetarian Caesar salad dressing. For the longest time, I never added fruit into green salads. I can't imagine why not, as the sweet bite of fruit really makes a salad pop. Strawberries are available year-round in my local markets. While they're not the same as garden-fresh berries, they're fine here, and the color brightens up my cold weather salads.

Strawberry, kale and toasted almond Caesar salad, from The Perfect Pantry.

Strawberry, kale and toasted almond Caesar salad

From the pantry, you'll need: garlic, nonfat plain Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, lemon, olive oil, kosher salt, fresh black pepper, almonds.

Serves 2-3 as a main course salad; can be multiplied.

Ingredients

For the dressing:
1 large garlic clove, peeled
1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup grated romano cheese (or substitute Parmigiano-Reggiano)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper

For the salad:

3 Tbsp sliced almonds
6 cups baby kale leaves, stems trimmed if too long or tough
12 strawberries, stems removed, cut in half lengthwise

Directions

In a blender, combine all ingredients for the dressing, and blend until the garlic is chopped and incorporated with the rest of the ingredients. Set aside.

In a small, dry, nonstick frying pan over low heat, toast the sliced almonds for 3-4 minutes. Shake the pan frequently, until the almonds are slightly browned. Remove from heat.

Combine the kale and strawberries in a large mixing bowl, and add just enough dressing to moisten the salad without drowning it. Divide into two or three individual salad bowls, and top with the toasted almonds.

Serve immediately.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]


More green salads with fruit in The Perfect Pantry:
Tangerine and feta salad
Fennel, pear and olive salad
Arugula, berries and goat cheese salad with poppy seed dressing
My favorite green salad, with tomato, cucumber, nectarines and olives
Pear and brie salad with cashews and dried cranberries

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Kale salad with pecorino and walnuts, from Smitten Kitchen
Chopped kale salad with grapes and feta cheese, from Cookin' Canuck
Kale salad with quinoa, tangerines and roasted almonds, from Gluten-free Goddess
Kale salad with apricots, avocado and parmesan, from The Kitchn
Kale and chard green power salad with maple vinaigrette, from Aggie's Kitchen

Need more ideas for how to create salads with pizzazz? Get Dress Up Your Salad, my e-book packed with easy mix-and-match recipes, full-color photos and a few fun videos. Exciting salad recipes from everyday ingredients can be just one click away, on any computer, tablet or smart phone, with the FREE Kindle Reading app. Click here to learn more.

Comments

I love fruit in salads!

Oh dear.... my favorite type of salad dressing on a gorgeous salad. You slay me. It looks fabulous! I love the idea of adding sweet berries and nuts to a kale salad.

Yes, I'm sure I would love this one!

Pam, me too!

Jamie, I love Caesar salads but even more, I love this dressing that has no anchovies. It gets its bite from cheese, and what could be better than that?

Kalyn, I'm sure, too. And the proportion of strawberries to kale is small, almost like a garnish.

I am a more recent fruit-in-salad convert, too. I love how the fresh sweetness contrasts the greens. A great combo with kale.

TW, I also love how there is always some fruit, at any season, that can sub in for strawberries in a salad like this.

Lydia,
I too am a fan of fruit in salad (though to be honest I'm not a fan of strawberries from the store, they taste like water to me). I'll have to try this with some of my neverending stash of dried cherries, as that would be sweet yet easy on the tooth.
Just need to farm share to transition from salad greens to kale (not in any rush, mind you, I'm still loving the salad mix).
My poor spouse--no more salad dressings to use up in the pantry, he's going to wonder what hit him when he returns!
Thank you for this recipe.

Sounds like a "winter" version of a classic strawberry spinach salad - love it!

This sounds delicious! I'll be making it tomorrow.

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About The Perfect Pantry®

  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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