Often, when you order a Caesar salad in a cafe you will get a bowl of iceberg lettuce with too much dressing, stale croutons and over-cooked, rubbery chicken – not exactly a dish fit for a nourishment seeking gourmand. Such instances are disappointing because a well done Caesar salad can be exceptionally tasty, and with a few tweaks and substitutes, it can become a nutrient dense meal full of antioxidants, fibre, protein and healthy fats.
To fix my Caesar cravings at home, I often prepare a Paleo friendly version of the salad with super greens like kale or rainbow chard instead of pale lettuce, gorgeous sweet tomatoes, caramelised onions, lovely free-range bacon, aged Parmesan or nutritional yeast for the non-dairy takers, and beautifully spiced chicken or grilled prawns. Top it with some soft-boiled eggs and you have a well balanced meal.
Cook’s notes: Nutritional yeast is used in this recipe instead of Parmesan cheese. Nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast made from sugar cane and beet molasses that has no leavening ability. It comes in a form of light yellow flakes that have a cheesy, umami flavour and is high in B-group vitamins. It can be purchased at most health food stores and online. For those who tolerate dairy, grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese can be used. Bacon can be replaced with fried mushrooms and grilled chicken or prawns can be added for extra protein.
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 10 rashers of bacon
- 1 large brown onion, peeled and sliced thinly
- Large bunch of kale or cavolo nero (Tuscan cabbage) leaves
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 4 whole eggs
- punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (see Cook's notes)
- 6 anchovies, chopped finely
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Fill up a small saucepan with water and bring to boil.
- Heat coconut oil in a large frying pan. Add bacon rashers and cook for a couple of minutes on each side, until crispy. Remove to a chopping board.
- Add sliced onion the frying pan and cook for a few minutes, until softened and lightly golden.
- Add 4 eggs to boiling water and cook for 6 minutes, until just a little firmer than soft boiled. Then rinse under cold water and peel.
- While bacon, onion and eggs are cooking, prepare the kale. Tear the leaves away from the stalks and slice very thinly. Add to a large bowl and drizzle with lemon juice (this will soften the kale leaves).
- Prepare the dressing by combining all ingredients in a small bowl.
- Slice bacon rashers into small piece and add to the kale together with the salad dressing and toss through using your hands or tongs, until well incorporated and the kale is evenly coated.
- Then add cooked onion, cherry tomatoes and nutritional yeast (or grated Parmesan) and toss through gently. Serve in bowls topped with halved egg and an extra anchovy or two.