Kale! Caesar!

By / Food / May 24th, 2023 / 1

Excerpted from Salad Pizza Wine by Janice Tiefenbach, Stephanie Mercier Voyer, Ryan Gray and Marley Sniatowsky. Copyright © 2023 Janice Tiefenbach, Stephanie Mercier Voyer, Ryan Gray, and Marley Sniatowsky. Photographs by Dominique Lafond. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

This is the salad equivalent of getting catfished. All the ingredients come together to trick your brain into thinking you’re eating a delicious Caesar salad, but there’s no mayonnaise and no anchovies anywhere in the recipe. The only thing it has in common with a Caesar are the croutons and the cheese (which we really couldn’t live without). Hail, Caesar!


Special Equipment


Tahini Caesar Dressing (Makes 2 cups)

  • 12 cloves garlic, divided
  • 3 tbsp + 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • ¾ tsp Dijon mustard
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt 2/3 cup canola oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • 3 cups Garlic Croutons (see recipe below)
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale, stems removed (about 3 cups when cut into bite-size pieces)
  • 1 head radicchio, shredded (about 5 cups)
  • 1 bunch baby kale, stems removed (about 2 cups)
  • Juice of 1 lemon Extra virgin olive oil Flaky sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup finely grated parmesan

Roast the garlic: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Create a pouch using foil and nestle inside it 10 garlic cloves and 3 tbsp olive oil. Seal up the foil to prevent any oil or steam from escaping. Place the garlic pouch on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until the garlic turns squishy, about 40 minutes. Remove the garlic from the oven but leave the oven on. Open the pouch to let the garlic cool down.

Make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini and cold water until smooth. When the garlic has cooled down a little, add it to a blender along with the tahini mixture, the two remaining raw garlic cloves, vinegar, Dijon and salt. Pulse to combine. With the motor running, gradually add the canola oil (adding it slowly will help emulsify the dressing). Repeat the process with 1/3 cup olive oil. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Reheat the garlic croutons: (see below for crouton recipe) Spread the croutons on a baking sheet and put in the oven to warm up while you make the salad.

Mix the salad: In a large bowl, break the kale into bite-size pieces. Add the radicchio and baby kale and mix with your hands. Add tahini dressing to your liking (you will probably end up with extra dressing, which you can use to make the Chicken Caesar hoagie on p. 219), lemon juice, a generous glug of olive oil, a pinch of salt and a few twists of pepper. Toss to coat evenly. Remove the garlic croutons from the oven and add to the salad along with the grated parmesan. Toss again and serve immediately.

Garlic Croutons

Makes about 3 Cups

  • ½ loaf country or sourdough bread (about 11 oz/340 g)
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp kosher salt 1 clove garlic

Even though this recipe makes about 3 cups of croutons, we highly recommend doubling it right away because you’re going to end up snacking on half of them before they’re even done cooking (it’s called taste testing, look it

up). If you plan on adding the croutons to your salad straight out of the oven, we recommend cooking them three-quarters of the way through so that they’re crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

bake the bread: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the bread into 1-inch-thick slices. Place the slices on a baking sheet in a single layer and douse them with the olive oil until both sides are fairly saturated. Sprinkle both sides with the salt. Bake for 8–10 minutes, until the bread is just starting to brown, turning each slice halfway through. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.

Make the croutons: Cut the garlic clove in half and rub it on both sides of each slice of bread to impart a bit of flavor. Cut the slices into 1-inch cubes. The croutons can be made 1 day ahead and stored in an airtight container.


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