An inventive take on a classic Caesar salad that substitutes baby kale for romaine lettuce and cauliflower fritters for croutons.
What do you get when you take a classic salad and mix it up with some trendy ingredients? Baby Kale Caesar Salad with Cauliflower Fritters! Although I love Caesar salad I’ll confess that I’ve just about had it with seeing it on virtually every menu. No matter what kind restaurant you’re at – whether fancy and upscale, or casual and pub-like – you’ll almost always find Caesar salad being served. It’s a bit overdone, in my humble opinion. That’s what prompted me to create this delicious salad which is an inventive take on a classic Caesar salad that substitutes baby kale for romaine lettuce and cauliflower fritters for croutons.
The cauliflower fritters on this salad are so crispy and delicious! Their golden-brown exterior belies the fact that they are baked, not pan fried. They’re easy to make and use a standard 1 lb. size bag of frozen cauliflower florets which is super convenient. The only tricky part of the recipe is extracting all the water from the cooked cauliflower. It’s important to get the cauliflower as dry as possible so that the fritters are not soggy. Be sure to use a clean, thin dish towel, a piece of cheese cloth, or a potato ricer to do this. If you haven’t done this before, it might sound a little strange. Here’s a video clip to show you exactly how it’s done. Zucchini is being used in this video but the method is exactly the same for cauliflower.
The dressing for Baby Kale Caesar Salad with Cauliflower Fritters is made with anchovies so it tastes authentically “Caesar”. However, not everyone is crazy about anchovies so substitute another type of dressing if you prefer. The cauliflower fritters make this salad more interesting and filling than one served with croutons. Feel free to add some protein, such as chicken or shrimp, to make it even more substantial. The recipe as written yields 4 appetizer sized salads but you could easily make entrée sized portions, in which case you’d get 2 or 3 servings.
Caesar salad fans who are loyal but growing tired will love Baby Kale Caesar Salad with Cauliflower Fritters. The classic Caesar taste is still there in all its glory, but with a nutritious twist that will delight the taste buds!
- CAULIFLOWER FRITTTERS
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil
- 16-ounce bag of frozen cauliflower florets
- ½ cup gluten-free bread crumbs
- ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¾ cup Parmesan cheese (½ cup finely grated for dressing and ¼ cup shaved for topping salads)
- 1 ounce anchovies (about 5 or 6) from a tin of flat anchovies in olive oil
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, preferably olive oil mayonnaise or avocado mayonnaise
- 1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic
- 1 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 5 ounces baby kale
- 4 ounces grape tomatoes (about 12), halved
- Make the cauliflower fritters. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Brush with half of the olive oil.
- Cook the cauliflower florets according to the package directions (microwaving is fine). Using a potato masher or the tines or a fork, mash and break apart the cauliflower until only small chunks remain. Let cool to room temperature.
- Once cooled, place the cauliflower on a clean dish towel or piece of cheesecloth and twist it tightly into a ball to wring out all the water. You can also use a potato ricer to do this if you have one.
- Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the bread crumbs, Parmesan, egg, Italian seasoning, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
- Using a 1½ ounce ice cream scoop, form the mixture into small patties about 2 - 2½ inches in diameter and place them on the baking sheet. Brush the tops with the remining olive oil and bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 15 minutes. Flip the fritters over and bake 15 minutes more.
- To make the Caesar dressing place ½ cup of the Parmesan cheese (finely grated), anchovies, mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice, and pepper into a blender, and with the motor running slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube. Stop when you have a smooth, well combined dressing.
- Put the baby kale and tomatoes in a large mixing bowl and add the dressing. Toss to combine and thoroughly coat all the kale leaves. Divide the greens evenly among 4 salad plates and place two cauliflower fritters on top. Sprinkle each salad with shaved Parmesan.
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