Dairy-Free Kale Caesar Salad Recipe

Last Update: September 29, 2022

This recipe appears in the Thrive Market cookbook, Healthy Living Made Easy. Get your copy here, and find the ingredients in this shopping list.

The secret to getting kale tender enough to serve raw in a salad? Massage it with a little oil and salt! Really: the process tenderizes kale leaves by breaking down their tough cellulose structure.

Here, massaged kale forms a nutrient-packed base for a dairy-free take on the classic Caesar salad. Nutritional yeast mimics the umami flavor of Parmesan, and crispy bacon adds extra savoriness. 

Kale Caesar Salad

Yield: 3 to 4 servings
Total Time: minutes


For the salad

2 bunches Tuscan kale, stalks removed and discarded, leaves sliced or torn into pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
Large pinch sea salt
4 strips smoked bacon, cooked until crispy
1 avocado, sliced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast 

For the Paleo caesar dressing

1 (2-ounce) can or 7 to 8 fillets anchovies, oil drained and discarded
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Juice of 1 ½ lemons
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Massage the kale
Place the prepared kale in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Rub together pieces of kale, massaging with your hands, for about 3 minutes. The leaves will shrink a little and appear darker in color.

Make the dressing

Place all the ingredients except the pepper in the bowl of a small food processor. Process until smooth and season to taste with pepper.

Assemble the salad

Drizzle the dressing over the kale and toss together. Top the dressed leaves with crumbled bacon, avocado, red onion, and nutritional yeast.

Photo credit: Paul Delmont

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Merce Muse

Thrive Market Food Editor

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