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Several years ago while visiting Atlanta we ate at Brezza Cucina (it has unfortunately closed) which was the brainchild of James Beard award-winning chef Jonathan Waxman. We ordered a short rib pizza and their kale salad. Both were amazing but the kale salad really stuck with us. It was topped with a mountain of toasty, buttery Panko breadcrumbs and this amazing anchovy dressing. We took inspiration from that kale salad to make this recipe for Kale Caesar Salad with Salmon.
Key Ingredients and Substitutions
Move over boring Caesar Salad – this recipe includes nutrient-rich kale, salmon, and crunchy, golden-brown breadcrumbs.
The complete ingredient list and measurements are listed in the printable recipe below.
- Lacinato Kale: Also known as dinosaur kale or Tuscan Kale, it tends to be more tender than other kale making it perfect for a salad. Curly kale is the most common variety found in most grocery stores but it is a bit tougher and more bitter than Lacinato kale.
- Salmon: Center-cut salmon fillets with the skin. The skin adds a little protection during the cooking process but skinless will also work.
We also like steelhead trout or if you are not a fish fan, chicken is a great substitute.
- Panko: One of our favorite things about this salad is the light, toasty panko breadcrumbs. Every bite has a little bit of that buttery, crunchy crouton flavor. You can substitute with your favorite store-bought or other homemade breadcrumbs.
- Caesar Dressing: There are a lot of wonderful Caesar dressings that you can pick up at your local supermarket but it is also really easy to make at home. This is our favorite homemade Caesar dressing recipe.
How to Make Kale Caesar Salad with Salmon
Here are the quick step-by-step instructions with visuals; you can find the full instructions with the exact ingredients in the recipe card below.
Pro-tip: The toasted panko breadcrumbs will get soggy if added with the dressing to the salad too soon, so add them just before serving.
1. Cook the Salmon: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the salmon in a medium-size baking dish, lining the baking dish with parchment or aluminum for easy clean-up. Brush the top of the salmon with room-temperature butter and sprinkle with the smoked paprika, orange pepper, onion powder, and kosher salt. Place it in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the salmon flakes easily with a fork. Allow it to cool slightly before removing it from its skin.
2. Cook the breadcrumbs: While the salmon is cooking prepare the kale and breadcrumbs. For the breadcrumbs, melt butter in an 8-inch nonstick skillet. Add the panko breadcrumbs and toast for 1-2 minutes until golden brown and fragrant, then remove from the heat and set aside.
3. Prepare the Kale: Remove the thick ribs (or spines) from the kale then wash and dry thoroughly. Cut the kale into thin ribbons by stacking several kale leaves on top of each other and rolling them into a tight cylinder. Using a sharp knife cut them crosswise into thin ribbons. Toss the kale ribbons, kosher salt, black pepper, and Caesar dressing until thoroughly combined. Allow the salad to sit for approximately 5 minutes (or up to an hour in the refrigerator) so the kale will slightly soften. Right before serving top with toasted breadcrumbs and Parmigiano Reggiano and gently toss.
4. Serve: Divide the salad into two bowls (or more if you are making a larger quantity) and then top with the baked salmon. Add additional dressing, cheese, or breadcrumbs if desired.
Recipe Tips and Notes
- Not all kale is created equal. The best kale to use for salad is Lacinato kale (also known as Tuscan kale or dinosaur kale).
- Make sure to wash and dry the kale well to remove any sand or dirt that has been trapped in the leaves.
- Remove the ribs (or spines) before cutting or tearing them for the salad.
Frequently Asked Questions
The leftover kale salad should last 1-2 days in the refrigerator. Do not add the breadcrumbs to the salad prior to refrigerating as they will get soggy. The salmon can be stored in a separate air-tight container for 1-2 days in the refrigerator. Store the toasted panko breadcrumbs in an air-tight container at room temperature.
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Kale Caesar Salad with Salmon
This recipe may contain paid affiliate sales links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please see my full disclaimer policy for details.
- 8-inch Nonstick Frying Pan
- Baking or Casserole Dish
- ½ pound salmon
- 1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon orange pepper
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Kale Caesar Salad
- 1-2 bunches of lacinato kale, washed, dried, and with thick ribs removed
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅓ cup Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
- ½ cup Caesar Dressing
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Place the salmon in a medium-size baking dish then brush the top with the room-temperature butter and sprinkle with the smoked paprika, orange pepper, onion powder, and kosher salt.
- Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the salmon flakes easily with a fork.
- Allow salmon to cool slightly before removing it from its skin.
- Melt butter in an 8-inch nonstick skillet. Add the panko breadcrumbs and toast for 1-2 minutes until golden brown and fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside.
Kale Caesar Salad
- Remove the thick ribs from the kale then wash and dry.
- To cut kale into thin ribbons, stack several leaves of kale on top of each other and roll them into a tight cylinder. Then with a sharp knife cut them crosswise into thin ribbons.
- Toss kale, kosher salt, black pepper, and Caesar dressing until thoroughly combined. Allow the salad to sit for approximately 5 minutes so the kale will slightly soften.
- Top with toasted breadcrumbs and Parmigiano Reggiano.
- Divide the salad into two bowls and topped the baked salmon (with skin removed) to the salad and serve.