Tahini Kale Caesar Salad with Whole-Grain Croutons

Hello! You've landed on an older recipe. Sometimes the older recipes aren't written as clearly as they should be or something might need to be clarified. If something seems confusing or a question arises, send me an email and I'll help!

Tahini Kale Caesar Salad with Whole-Grain Croutons | Naturally Ella

Of all the cookbooks I'm sharing this summer, Love Real Food is one of the books I am most excited about. I've known Kathryne (aka Cookie + Kate) for years- she was one of the first bloggers I connected with, primarily because our styles of cooking were similar. It's been exciting to watch her grow her site and now I'm beyond excited to hold a collection of her recipes in my hands. Love Real Food is a beautiful compilation of recipes that showcases Kathryne's approachable plant-based cooking.

I decided to share her kale Caesar salad. Caesar dressing is one of those sneaky items that you might think is vegetarian but thanks to anchovies, it's not. Kathryne whipped up a smooth and tangy tahini dressing that is the perfect vegetarian adaption. Add to that her trick for the perfect kale salad (salt massage!)) and you have one delicious kale caesar salad.

Tahini Kale Caesar Salad with Whole-Grain Croutons | Naturally Ella
Print Pin Rate

Tahini Kale Caesar Salad with Whole-Grain Croutons

4 to 6 side salads
A lovely vegetarian salad that features a tahini caesar dressing that tastes amazingly close to the traditional Caesar dressing. From the book, Love Real Food by Kathryne Taylor.  
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
  • 6 ounces crusty whole-grain bread (cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 3 cups))
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fine sea salt
Tahini Caesar Dressing
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 to 1 1/2 lemons)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic (pressed or minced)
  • 1 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium bunch (about 8 ounces Tuscan (lacinato) Kale, touch ribs removed and leaves chopped into bite-size pieces)
  • Fine sea salt
  • 5 ounces romaine (about 1/2 small-medium head, chopped into bite-size pieces)
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 2/3 ounce)
  1. To make the croutons: Preheat oven to 400˚F.
  2. Place the cubed bread on a large rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toss until the cubes are lightly and evenly coated in oil, then arrange them in a single layer. Sprinkle the cubes with several dashed of salt. Bake until golden brown and crisp, 7 to 9 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  3. To make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, mustard, and salt. Whisk until blended, then add the water and whisk until you have a smooth, blended tahini sauce. Season generously with black pepper (about 10 twists). The dressing should be tangy, like classic Caesar dressings. If it's overwhelmingly tart or too thick to pour, whisk in an additional tablespoon of water.
  4. To prepare the salad: Transfer the chopped kale to a big salad bowl. Add a dash of salt and massage the leaves with your hands by scrunching big handfuls at a time, until the leaves are darker in color and the volume has reduced by about one-third.
  5. Add the chopped romaine to the bowl. Wait to dress the salad until you are ready to serve, since the romaine and croutons get soggy if they're in contact with the dressing too long. (If you plan to have leftovers, store individual components separately, and toss them together just before serving.
  6. When you're ready, drizzle enough dressing over the greens to lightly coat (you might not need all of it). Toss until the dressing is evenly distributed. Add the croutons and Parmesan and toss again. Serve immediately.
Tips & Tricks: If you're looking to keep this vegan, Kathryne says to use 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast instead of the Parmesan. 
You could make this sauce ahead of time and assemble when ready to eat. 
Stock up: get the pantry ingredients you will need: INGREDIENT, INGREDIENT, INGREDIENT
Link: This recipe is reprinted with permission from Rodale Publishing. Recipe can be found on page 72 of Love Real Food from Kathryne Taylor of Cookie + Kate.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time :10 minutes

Kale Caesar Salad


I don't like to vary too much from recipes I share from others but this salad lends itself well to a feel meal ideas. We eat a lot of salads-as-mains during the summer and I'm obsessed with this dressing now. This means this salad is on our weekly rotation!

Roasted Chickpeas: I like to make this salad a main by adding crispy chickpeas.

Bread: Kathryne uses multigrain bread but I also loved this salad with rye.

Wraps: I made M a couple lunch wraps using this recipe. I left off the croutons and add the salad in a wrap with mashed chickpeas.

Tahini Kale Caesar Salad with Whole-Grain Croutons from Love Real Food

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

9 comments on “Tahini Kale Caesar Salad with Whole-Grain Croutons”

  1. This looks delicious! However, in the directions for the salad dressing, it mentions lemon juice, but lemon juice is not listed as an ingredient? How much lemon juice should be used (if at all)?

  2. I got this cookbook because I enjoy Cookie & Kate blog, but have not yet had the opportunity to try any of the recipes. I'm actually reading the book through - it's good reading.

    A small correction for you: the non-vegetarian ingredient in Caesar dressing is actually anchovies rather than sardines.

  3. Thanks for this salad, which was a big hit at a potluck dinner picnic I attended. Love the tahini dressing!

    I used purple curly kale and added thinly sliced radishes for a little color next to the romaine. Decided to make a vegan topping by grinding together pine nuts, lemon zest, nutritional yeast, and sesame seeds to use instead of the croutons and cheese.

    Love your blog. A wonderful inspiration. Keep up the great work.

  4. Hey! This looks delicious, and I can't wait to try it 🙂 ! Just wanted to let you know though that it's not actually vegetarian unfortunately. Parmesan cheese is always made with calf rennet (otherwise it can't be marketed as parmesan). I nearly cried when I fount this out, but thought you'd be interested to know.


Welcome to my little internet nook. On this site you'll find over a thousand vegetarian recipes, pantry knowledge, and more. I'm ever obsessed with food from gardening, cooking, and preserving. I hope you'll find endless inspiration on these pages and visit often. 

Virtual hugs, Erin (aka: e.l.l.a.)

a few good grain recipes

Do away with ads, get access to the back issues of casual, be the first to know about upcoming events, and more.
become a member

beans. beans. beans.

Have a nerdy food question, need a recipe recommendation, or just want to share something exciting you've made?
magnifiercross linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram