Let’s be honest, sometimes it can be hard to get excited about salad. That’s why I’m always looking for ways to add unique touches to make it extra special. The traditional Caesar salad gets leveled up in this recipe thanks to hearty kale, perfectly baked salmon, creamy avocado, and everything bagel croutons that just might change your life.
There’s so much to love about this recipe, I don’t even know where to begin! Here’s a few reasons why it shines:
- You can make it in just 15 minutes flat.
- If you meal prep the salmon and croutons ahead of time, you can make it in less than 5 minutes!
- Kale is much more nutrient dense than standard romaine lettuce. It’s high in vitamin A, K, and C as well as antioxidants like quercetin and kaempferol.
- The everything bagel croutons are deliciously addictive.
- The avocado adds insane creaminess to the salad and helps balance out the crunch of the croutons.
- The salmon is easily flaked up so you can enjoy a little bite of salmon with every bite.
- Shaved parmesan cheese is the perfect salty accent to this kale Caesar salad
Lucky for you, there’s less than 10 ingredients you’ll need for this recipe!
- 1/2 lb wild caught salmon filets
- 6 cups of kale (curly, tuscan or lacinato work well)
- Caesar dressing
- 1 avocado
- 1 everything bagel
- 1 tbsp Everything but the bagel seasoning blend
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 lemon
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Kale-It is so abundant and inexpensive, but if it’s not your favorite, you can absolutely use romaine instead!
Everything Bagels-I love the denseness of the everything bagels in this recipe, however you can definitely substitute ciabatta or French bread and just use extra everything but the bagel seasoning.
Salmon-If you don’t have any salmon on hand, this salad would still be delicious with shrimp, chicken or even tofu! I’ve even used canned tuna in a pinch.
Everything But the Bagel Seasoning-If this isn’t something you can readily find at your grocery store, I’ve included a recipe below so you can make your own!
How to make this salmon kale caesar salad
If you follow the steps outlined below, you’ll see just how easy this salad is to make!
- Toss the cubed everything bagels with olive oil and everything but the bagel seasoning. Bake on a sheet pan at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy throughout.
- Sprinkle salmon filets with everything but the bagel seasoning and bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until cooked to your liking (10-12 minutes if you don’t like any rawness in the center).
- Massage chopped kale with caesar dressing for one minute like you’re giving it a deep tissue massage. Let rest for 5-10 minutes.
- Place salmon, avocado, croutons and shaved parmesan over the dressed kale and enjoy with fresh lemon wedges!
How to make tough kale more tender
Kale gets a bad rap for being a green with a tough texture to chew and digest. Luckily that’s easily remedied! By taking one extra step, it will make a world of difference in how tender you can transform the kale in this kale caesar salad.
While the salmon and croutons are in the oven, simply massage the caesar dressing into the kale. I’m not talking about using some tongs to toss the kale around in the dressing. I mean actually use your bare hands (or gloved hands) to really get in there and work the kale like you’re giving it a deep tissue massage. This with help break down the tough fibers and make it easier to digest as well.
How to make your own everything but the bagel seasoning
I’m pretty certain that Trader Joe’s gets credit for bringing the iconic everything but the bagel seasoning to market. Ever since then, plenty of knock off’s have spawned. And while I haven’t tried them all, I’m sure the generic ones you can find will do the trick. You can actually even purchase the Trader Joe’s version on amazon if you don’t live near one of their outposts.
If you find yourself in the process of making dinner without any EBTB seasoning on hand, the good news is that you can make your own blend with ingredients you likely already have in your spice drawer. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 tbsp white sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
- 1.5 tbsp dried minced garlic
- 1.5 tbsp dried minced onion
- 2 tbsp poppy seeds
- 2 tbsp coarse salt
Mix together and store in an airtight container. In addition to these croutons, the EBTB seasoning is delicious on avocado toast, sprinkled over hummus, on sliced tomato and even scrambled eggs!
Frequently asked questions
How do I make this recipe dairy free?
You can use vegan parmesan cheese and a vegan caesar dressing.
Should I use farmed or wild salmon?
Always buy wild salmon, even if frozen is all that you can find. Most “fresh” salmon you find in the seafood department is just frozen salmon that was already thawed. Farmed salmon is pumped full of antibiotics.
How far in advance can I meal prep the salmon?
When it comes to meal prepping any seafood, I never make it more than 2 days in advance for optimum freshness. So if I prep it on a Sunday, I try to eat it on Monday and Tuesday. Technically it should still be safe to eat on Wednesday but that’s as far as I would go before tossing it.
How far in advance can I meal prep the croutons?
When prepping the croutons, make sure they cool completely before putting them in an airtight container. Otherwise you’ll get condensation in the container which will make them go stale quickly. They will last for a week in an airtight container or ziplock if stored at room temperature
Making your own caesar dressing
I’m a big proponent of making my own salad dressings from scratch so I can control the ingredients. Authentic caesar dressing includes: egg yolks, anchovies, garlic, mustard, lemon juice, vegetable oil and parmesan. Nothing beats garlicky homemade caesar dressing and I love this recipe from Bon Appetit.
However, I also always keep pre-made caesar dressing in my fridge in case of emergencies. I happen to love the brand Cardini’s and you can find them at almost any grocery store.
GROWING YOUR OWN KALE
I am by no means a green thumb, so I rely on the heartiest of fruits and vegetables in my garden that I won’t accidentally kill. Kale is one of my favorites because it grows like a weed and is incredibly bountiful. If you’re interested in growing your own vegetable garden, check out this great resource to get you started.
Can I meal prep this kale caesar salad?
You know me, I’m ALL about the meal prep! When it comes to this salmon kale caesar, you just have to be strategic with how you attack meal prepping it.
You can bake the salmon up to two days in advance before it starts to smell fishy and lose it’s freshness. In addition, the croutons can be made up to 5 days in advance and will stay fresh. You just need to store them in an airtight container or ziplock bag at room temperature to keep them from going stale.
The furthest in advance I would dress and massage the salad is only 30 minutes, otherwise you run the risk of it getting wilted.
Kale Caesar Salad with Salmon and Everything Bagel Croutons
- 1/2 lb salmon filets, bones removed
- 6 cups shredded kale
- 1 everything bagel, cubed
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 tbsp everything but the bagel seasoning, divided see notes
- 1/3 cup caesar dressing
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/3 cup shaved or shredded parmesan
- 1 tsp olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
- Toss cubed everything bagel with 2tbsp olive oil and 2 tsp of everything but the bagel seasoning. Spread onto a sheet pan and bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pan and giving it a little shake halfway through. Bake until golden crown and crunchy throughout with no softness in the center of the cubes.
- Spread a teaspoon of olive oil onto the salmon filet. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tsp of everything but the bagel seasoning over the top of the salmon. Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until cooked to your liking. Depending on the thickness of your filet, 8 minutes should cook through to medium rare. To be cooked well done, it will take closer to 10 or 11 minutes.
- While the salmon and the croutons cook, put the shredded kale into a bowl. Drizzle over the caesar dressing and massage it into the kale using your hands. Massage well for 1 minute and then left the kale rest for 5-10 minutes while the items in the oven finish cooking.
- Assemble salad by dividing kale into two bowls. Place a salmon filet on the top of each and scatter around croutons. Shave or grate parmesan over the top. Place sliced avocado around and serve with a fresh lemon wedge.
- If you don’t have an everything bagel, you can substitute for any crusty bread such as French or ciabatta bread.
- The croutons will keep fresh in an airtight container at room temp for 5 days.
- You can cook the salmon up to two days in advance.
- If you don’t have everything but the bagel seasoning on hand you can make your own with 1 tbsp white sesame seeds, 1 tbsp black sesame seeds, 1.5 tbsp dried minced garlic, 1.5 tbsp dried minced onion, 2 tbsp poppy seeds, and 2 tbsp coarse salt.