Kale Caesar Salad with Salmon Bites
Kale Caesar Salad with Salmon Bites- Hearty kale, air fried salmon bites, parmesan crisps, and a homemade lite Caesar dressing makes up this protein rich salad.
November 7, 2022 by Nicole Collins
So unless you follow me on TikTok, you wouldn’t know this.
Especially with all the dessert content we’ve had around here recently.
But, I just finished a round of 21 day fix, and it went great!
We haven’t talked about this much here, but my mental health took a HUGE hit during this pandemic. I was forced to deal with feelings that I always had but didn’t have a name for. And it turns out, I suffer from very bad anxiety. And my anxiety was only heightened during the pandemic.
It’s no surprise that with my mental health on the fritz, my physical health went down the toilet as well.
But with lots of therapy and work, I’ve gotten my mental state to a place where I’m ready to tackle the physical piece of my health again. And I had so much success on 21 day fix the first time, I decided to start there.
I documented the journey on TikTok to hold myself accountable and to share meal ideas with anyone that’s afraid they’d be losing out by adjusting their eating habits.
In order to take it easy on myself, I told myself that I wasn’t going test any new recipes during that week. But, I failed at that task lol. And today’s recipe is one of the easy, healthy, protein rich, well balanced meals that came out of my kitchen during that time frame.
Today, we’re making Kale Salad with Salmon Bites!
There are SOOOOOO many things that I’m obsessed with about this salad. But, we’ll get to that. We’re going to build this salad in layers: dressing, parm crisps, and salmon. But the end result is a hearty bowl of goodness loaded with flavor, color, and protein.
So, let’s get into it!
Let’s start with the dressing. We’re going to make a lighter version of a homemade Caesar style dressing. Instead of using mayo, we’re going to build the base of our dressing with Greek yogurt. To the yogurt, we’ll add standard Caesar ingredients: lemon, evoo, parmesan, garlic. And to mimic the anchovy that we’d traditionally find in a Caesar dressing, we’ll use Worcestershire sauce instead. It’s a little less intimidating to most people to use Worcestershire sauce instead of tiny canned fish. Plus, it’s a staple ingredient that most people already have on hand. I like to blend the dressing together in a personal blender to smooth out the dressing and break up that cheese. And, our dressing is done!
You can’t have a Caesar salad without parmesan cheese. And, I also REALLY love croutons in a Caesar salad. But, I wanted to keep this lower carb, so I found a compromise…parmesan crisps! These are so easy to make and only take about 10 minutes in the oven. We just need freshly shredded parmesan cheese (you can even use the tub from the deli/cheese section of the grocery store that says “freshly shredded” if you don’t want to shred it yourself) and we need a silicone mat lined baking sheet. We’re going to drop little half tablespoon mounds of cheese onto the baking sheet, spread the cheese into a flat layer, and bake it for a couple mins until the color starts to darken. Once they cool down, they become crispy, crunchy, savory bites of heaven that are perfect for adding a little texture to our salad.
There are lots of stars in this salad, but the real A-lister to me is the salmon bites. Recently, I’ve seen people all over the internet cutting their salmon into cubes before cooking it; and I get it now. I GET IT. By creating more surface area that touches the cooking heat, we get to create a nice crust on all 4 sides of the salmon. So, every single bite has a little crunch to the exterior and that soft almost creamy texture on the interior. It’s AMAZING.
I also pretty much only want salmon air fried these days. The crust to creamy ratio that we just talked about is so so relevant with air frying salmon. Plus, it’s so fast! So, we’ll season the salmon in a little salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. Toss the spices and fish with a little olive oil. And pop it in the air fryer for about 5 minutes. That’s it! Salmon bites are done!
To assemble the salad, we’re going to start by dressing some chopped kale with about half of our dressing. We want to toss the kale really, really well; then let it sit for about 5 mins. This mimics the concept of massaging the kale, and it helps to tenderize those tough leaves a little bit.
Once the kale has done its thing, load it up with those salmon bites, the parm crisps, and the rest of the dressing. Toss it all together, and it’s time to devour!
Most people think salads taste like rabbit food. But, this one tastes like an indulgent meal if you ask me. The salmon is rich and luscious. The parmesan is crispy and oh so savory. The dressing is bold and creamy. It’s just such a pleasant bite when you toss it all together.
Ok, everyone. This kind of snuck up on me, but it’s about time to transition into holiday recipe mode. If there’s anything specific you want to see, make sure you let me know!
I hope you guys enjoy! So, let’s eat!
Kale Caesar Salad with Salmon Bites
Serves: 1 cup Print
For the Lite Caesar Dressing:
¼ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 tbsp lemon juice
½ tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 tbsp freshly shredded parmesan cheese
For the Salmon Bites:
12 oz salmon, skin removed and cut into 1 inch pieces
½ tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp paprika
For the Salad:
3 cup kale, chopped
3 tbsp freshly shredded parmesan cheese
Make the parmesan crisps: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat. Take 3 tbsp parmesan, and drop into ½ tbsp piles on the baking sheet. Spread cheese piles into a flat layer. Bake for 10-11 minutes until golden and crispy. Break into pieces if desired, and set aside.
Meanwhile, make the dressing: To a blender or small food processor, add Greek yogurt, lemon juice, ½ tbsp olive oil, Worcestershire, dijon, onion powder, ¼ tsp garlic powder, 1/8 tsp each salt and pepper, and 2 tbsp parmesan. Blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
Make the salmon bites: Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees. Add salmon chunks, ½ tbsp olive oil, and ¼ tsp each salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika to a bowl. Toss well to completely coat the salmon. Arrange salmon bites in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Air fry for 4-6 minutes until the internal temperature of the salmon reaches 145 degrees. Set aside.
Assemble the salad: Toss kale with about ¼ cup of the dressing until it’s completely coated. Allow kale to sit in the dressing for 5 mins to help soften the kale. Divide kale between serving bowls. Top with parmesan crisps, salmon bites, and drizzle over the remaining dressing. Enjoy!
*I use the Ninja Foodi Grill as my air fryer, but not all air fryers cook the same. Use a meat thermometer to check them temp of your salmon starting at 4 minutes. My salmon bites took 5 mins.
*Kale can be pretty tough. But chopping it into small bites and letting it hang out in the dressing for a few minutes helps to break it down and make it more manageable to eat.
*You could use parchment paper spritzed with olive oil to make the parmesan crisps if you need to, but these work much better with a silicone mat.
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