Updated: Jun 15, 2020
As weather finally starts to warm up I'm suddenly craving cool salads, fresh fish and lemony flavors. This caesar dressing is healthy, densely nutritious and wildly flavorful. It uses no oils or mayonnaise and instead gets that creamy it factor from ripe avocados and a touch of greek yogurt. I based this recipe off of one I used to make growing up, I also included a bonus family crouton recipe that'll take this avocado caesar to another level!
You'll be shocked at how maintains that classic Caesar flavor but drastically cuts the fats and ups the protein and serving size!
This dressing is not that different from a traditional caesar but so different at the same time. That's why I love it.
Small swaps in ingredient lists can have a huge impact on nutrition without sacrificing any flavor!
In fact all the flavors we love in caesar dressing don't come from the mayo or oil at all. Those simply act as a creamy base, something the avocado and greek yogurt are perfectly fit for.
If you're wondering what exactly brings the flavor in our favorite creamy salad topper, let me enlighten you.
I grew up making what my family deemed "Colleen's caesar" which was really my mom's caesar that I learned to make and then got stuck making... haha! So when I played around with this trendy variation, I incorporated all those ingredients in it. For me, that was dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, parmesan, garlic, salt, pepper and everyone's favorite ingredient, anchovy paste!
If you're turning your nose up at the sound of that last one- don't knock it until you've tried it.
Anchovy paste brings a delicious salty flavor that makes caesar dressing great, but if you really can't do it, simply leave it out and add a pinch of extra salt!
Kale Caesar with Avocado Dressing and Cajun Sockeye Salmon
4 servings | Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes
1.5 oz avocado
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp anchovy paste
1/2 cup water
2 oz plain greek yogurt
1-1.5 lbs sockeye salmon (we prefer sockeye because we think it's more flavorful and prefer the texture but any salmon or other protein will work)
1/2 tbsp cajun seasoning
4 cups kale, destemmed
2 tsp olive oil
Additional parmesan for serving
Optional: Bacon bits and/or croutons for serving
Combine all dressing ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
Preheat oven to 375F.
Remove salmon from the refrigerator 15 minutes before baking.
Place kale in a large bowl and massage 2 tsp olive oil into the kale with your hands. Kale is a very fibrous vegetable and can be difficult to chew if not massaged prior to serving. Volume of kale will decrease and color will darken as it absorbs the oil and begins to soften. Place the massaged kale in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Spray a baking sheet with nonstick olive oil spray and place the salmon on it. Spray the top of the salmon with spray or use 1 tsp of olive oil and rub it all over. Sprinkle both sides of the salmon with cajun seasoning.
Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on thickness of salmon (Note: a general rule is 10 minutes/1” thick so if it’s 1” thick at it’s thickest point it will take 10 minutes, 1.5” will take 15 minutes etc).
Remove salmon from oven and set aside. Toss the kale with the dressing and top with salmon filets and extra parmesan. Sprinkle with bacon bits and croutons if desired!
Day Old Bread Croutons
Serving Size: 8, estimate about 1oz bread or 8 croutons/person | Cook time: 20 minutes
Note: quantities of oil and spices will depend on how much bread you have and your preference. This recipe is based off of 8 oz of bread or 64 cubes.
Tip: less is more, start by going light on oil and spices and add more if needed, go very light on the cayenne as it will give your croutons a kick!
8 oz any day old bread (sourdough or ciabatta are two of my favorites but literally any loaf or partial loaf you have leftover will work), cubed
1 tbsp Olive oil
1/8 tsp Cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp Garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
Preheat oven to 350.
Toss bread cubes with enough olive oil to lightly coat them. I would add in about 1 tsp at a time as bread type can vary oil needed.
Spread out on a baking sheet in a single layer.
Season bread with preferred spices. I would start with just 1/8 tsp cayenne and add more if you prefer them spicier. A good rule of thumb is if you use 1 tsp Italian seasoning, you probably want 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1/8 tsp cayenne and you can scale up from there (again depending on spice preference). Toss the croutons around on the baking sheet a bit and arrange in a single layer again.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the bread is crispy and browning. Croutons may take more or less time depending on size of cubes so keep an eye on them.
Remove and set aside to cool. Store leftovers in an sealed bag or an air tight container for up to a week.
Homemade croutons are great to have on hand to spice up any salad. There also great because they use up some leftover bread before it goes bad, so resourceful! It's a waste NOT to make these!
Screenshot/Printer Friendly Version:
Nutrition Facts are provided as a guideline only. Exact nutrition will depend on quantity, brand and ingredients used.