Kale Caesar with Cornbread Bits

November 29, 2016
Kale Caesar with Cornbread Bits - A beautiful kale salad with toasted cornbread and a creamy dressing of garlic, anchovy and a touch of horseradish drizzled across the top

“We're a nation of largely exhausted cooks today ”     ~ The New York Times

Food at First - Thanksgiving 2016

Photo Credit: Facebook – Food at First – Thanksgiving 2016 (The mastermind behind Thanksgiving for 700 +)

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The refrigerator at our house has been a leftover extravaganza the past few days.  A little piece of heaven, if ever there was one.

Stuffing is better if it's re-heated, but somehow we never got around to it.  Instead, picking off a piece or two every time we opened the door. Turkey is better cold and on a sandwich, with either ketchup or mustard (depending on which one of us you ask)

Leftover sweet potato pie requires only a hot cup of coffee, and a plate (if my husband is feeling extra fancy)

Not to mention the slices of pumpkin & coconut cream pie we'd been hoarding ..

courtesy of my brother


Photo Credit: Facebook – Food at First – Thanksgiving 2016  (All of the placemats were drawn by kids)

Growing up, my grandparents hosted our holiday dinners.

While neither side of the family was terribly large, the events were still week-long affairs.  Furniture was moved, leaves slid into tables, tablecloths ironed, grocery shopping with two carts, peeling potatoes and butternut squash late into the night

Growing up, these were some of the happiest memories for me.  The days when my grandmother's recipe cards were strewn across their kitchen tables, and the afternoons I spent alongside them in their kitchens, baking all of our

family's favorites

These were the recipes I knew were special. Those that had been passed down, and were reflected in our family's stories

My grandmothers showed me how to make lefse (best eaten with jam or cinnamon-sugar), rocky road fudge, kringla, and cut-out sugar cookies.  The things every family made, although each had a different recipe and every family claimed their's to be the best

Photo Credit: Facebook - Food at First - Thanksgiving 2016

Photo Credit: Facebook – Food at First – Thanksgiving 2016

The meal was on the table, without fail, between three and four pm.  Heads would bow, and hands would clasp, while a grandparent said grace. Giving thanks for the health of those gathered around, a blessing for the food, family, and the day.

The menu never varied: turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce.

Not to mention the loaves of airy white bread that were perfect for sandwiches the next day.  Pies made with berries picked from the garden in July and frozen, heaped into a pie plate for these very occasions. If we were lucky, ice cream would be churning in the garage

Without fail, there would be mail-ordered red-tinned fruitcake

that no one ever ate

Every year proclaimed the best year ever; every dish the best it'd ever been.  Always, someone would say that we'd eaten too fast.  Always, someone who claimed to be too full to swallow one more bite would agree to seconds anyway ..

if only to make it last.

Photo Credit: Facebook - Food at First - Thanksgiving 2016 (All the placemats were drawn by kids)

Photo Credit: Facebook – Food at First – Thanksgiving 2016  (All of the placemats were drawn by kids)

Neither grandmother owned a dishwasher, but somehow, by the time the last car had pulled out of the drive and disappeared into the night, the kitchen would be restored to order, the dishes put away, the turkey's carcass encased in foil and tucked away in the fridge, surrounded by precarious stacks of left-overs.

Like any true master of their craft, they made the entire thing look easy

— — —

Last week, we spent Thanksgiving day at Food at First, a place near and dear to our hearts.

“A free meal program that serves a meal every night of the week, to anyone who is hungry; no questions asked. A program whose source of food is something that would otherwise have been thrown away by local grocery stores and food services .. but instead has been turned into some pretty incredible meals”     ~ Food at First  

What began as a meal for those in need has truly become a community event.  This year, between those who came, and those who received meals via special delivery, the total count was 700 + people(!)

Kale Caesar with Cornbread Bits - A beautiful kale salad with toasted cornbread and a creamy dressing of garlic, anchovy and a touch of horseradish drizzled across the top

With our families scattered around the country, the holidays are mostly spent with just the two of us.  Therefore, my husband can be found volunteering in the kitchen, and I'll join him toward the end for Thanksgiving dinner.

The meal has been edited a bit from when I was a kid: no fruitcake, lefse, or home-made ice cream.  But otherwise, it's the one I've eaten all of my life.

My favorite part of the day?  The sweetest elderly couple who sat across from us. He with a tear in his eye as he said “I'm just glad we can still come to this. God bless all of the volunteers.

They make it look so easy”  

— — —

Earlier in the day, I'd taken the puppies for a walk.  Along the way, passing a house where a dozen or more family members were tossing a football on the front lawn.  For an instant, I found myself feeling nostalgic, and even a little sad

A longing of my spirit for the good old days when the holidays were a production. Those of my childhood or when I was a younger mom myself, and the kids were little.

And just as quickly as it had come, an instant later the feeling was gone. “I've had that,”  remind myself.  “I've lived it, loved it, and am now in a different season of life's journey”

Kale Caesar with Cornbread Bits - A beautiful salad with toasted cornbread and a creamy dressing of garlic, anchovy and horseradish drizzled across the top

The rest of the day, we puttered around the house, called the kids, played Scrabble, and ate left-overs. Thanksgiving abundance that would carry us right through the weekend.

Someday maybe I'll be the one baking from old family recipes, and trying my hand at a home-cooked turkey.  But until then, my only focus is being thankful for new holiday traditions, and the beautiful life we have today

— — —

This is the salad I made over the weekend when a sea of green was required.  There was no real plan, aside from that. No real intent to feature it here.

It started as simply a way to make a dent in the end-of-season kale harvested from the garden.  A new recipe chosen from the many I'd flagged, and it turned out to be a good one.  A simple Caesar, an assortment of kale and romaine. Toasted cornbread replacing more traditional croutons.

Flash forward a few hours, and I'm in the salad zone.  As I was tossing the greens, I kept getting more and more excited about the way the creamy dressing with garlic, anchovy, and a touch of horseradish drizzled across the top was perfect.

Before I knew it, I'd grabbed my camera and taken a few shots.

I didn't make a special cornbread for this recipe since it doesn't call for much. Instead, I picked up a square at the co-op. (Remember, it will crisp up a bit better after it's a few days old)



~ Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen Bowl and Spoon by Sarah and Hugh Forte

Kale Caesar with Cornbread Bits


  • Dressing
  • 1 large clove garlic, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise (or Greek yogurt)
  • 1 tsp horseradish
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 anchovies (or 1 tsp anchovy paste)
  • fine grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • Salad
  • 1 cup crumbled cornbread, preferably a few days old
  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small bunch kale, stemmed and chopped
  • 3 cups chopped romaine
  • ½ cup shaved Parmesan cheese (to convert this to a Vegan recipe, omit the cheese or substitute a Vegan equivalent)


  • Dressing
  • In a food processor or blender, add all of the dressing ingredients, along with a pinch of salt, a couple grinds of black pepper. Process until smooth
  • Store in the fridge until ready to use

  • Toast the Cornbread
  • Preheat the oven (or toaster oven) to 375° F
  • Spread the cornbread pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss gently with your hands to coat.
  • Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until dry and crispy. Set aside to cool.

  • Salad
  • In a large salad bowl, combine the kale, romaine, and half the Parmesan.
  • Toss with the desired amount of dressing.
  • Sprinkle with the cornbread crispies, the remaining Parmesan and serve.
Serves: 4
Nutrition + Show
Calories 278
Total Fat 21.3g
Saturated Fat 4.7g
Carbohydrates 16g
Fiber 2.4g
Sugars 4.5g
Protein 6.8g
Print This Recipe

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  • Reply Dustin April 10, 2017 at 5:31 am

    4 stars
    This sounds delicious. Never had a kale caesar. Plus, the cornbread is a nice touch!

  • Reply Anosa May 13, 2017 at 7:42 am

    How nice of your husband to volunteer and help those in need and loving the food at first program.

  • Reply Candy May 13, 2017 at 7:54 am

    We enjoy kale all year long from our garden. Helps us get through the winter months with some special greens.

  • Reply Brandy May 14, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    I have never had kale but this makes it look so yummy. Interesting addition to have cornbread bits. I will give this a try for sure because it’s good to try new things!

  • Reply Katie Kinsley May 14, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    Mmm, the kale caesar salad popped up in my pinterest when I was searching for recipes to make this week. This recipe looks delicious!

  • Reply Leigh Anne Borders May 14, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    5 stars
    This looks like a great salad to enjoy this summer. It seems light and perfect.

  • Reply David Elliott May 14, 2017 at 11:35 pm

    The salad really does look delicious. I am looking for some different salads to make and try. I will have to be trying this recipe out.

  • Reply Debra J Hawkins May 14, 2017 at 11:56 pm

    I love the cornbread bits idea! I haven’t had a caesar salad in absolutely ages! I think I am going to have to fix that very soon!

  • Reply Catherine May 15, 2017 at 12:00 am

    This kale caesar salad looks so delicious! I wouldn’t have thought to try it with cornbread bits–great addition!

  • Reply Rika May 15, 2017 at 12:22 am

    This salad looks so delicious! I love corn bread! Can’t wait to try this soon.

  • Reply Rebecca Swenor May 15, 2017 at 3:44 am

    5 stars
    This sounds like an interesting salad indeed. I don’t think I would like it but my family probably would so I will try making it for them. Mayo or anything like it or dressing I don’t eat. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  • Reply Marielle Altenor May 15, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    5 stars
    That recipe sounds like a flavor party in my mouth. I can almost taste the horseradish and anchovy just from reading this post.

  • Reply Chrishelle Lynn Ebner May 15, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    5 stars
    I love this recipe. I have been trying to find some new ways to serve kale and this sounds delicious. What a cool new spin on a traditional Cesar salad.

    • Reply Pam May 23, 2017 at 1:11 pm

      I agree. I love Caesar salad in all it’s incarnations, but this sounds like a particularly tasty twist on an old classic.

  • Reply Garf May 15, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    That kale salad sounds really good and a healthy choice as well. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  • Reply Jaime Nicole May 15, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    I just love this recipe! Kale is so tasty and I really love the addition of the cornbread bits – we will definitely try this out!

  • Reply diana May 16, 2017 at 1:57 am

    This looks so delicious! I would love to try this recipe and cornbread bits are a great addition!

  • Reply Amber Myers May 19, 2017 at 7:17 am

    5 stars
    Yum, this looks so scrumptious. And healthy. I wouldn’t feel as guilty eating this because, you know, kale is present. I’d love those cornbread bits.

  • Reply Jeanette May 19, 2017 at 8:31 am

    I love Caesar salad, I never thought about putting in kale. It looks delicious and I have been looking for a flavorful salad, because I’m getting bored with the salads I am making.

  • Reply Pam May 19, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    I love Kale Caesar salads. I normally go with normal croutons, but these cornbread bits have me intrigued!

  • Reply Sarah Bailey May 20, 2017 at 9:56 am

    Hands up I do love kale it really has an interesting taste to it and this sounds like a really great way to use it.

  • Reply Emma Spellman May 20, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    This salad sounds incredibe. I love cheesy kale so I can only imagine how yummy this would be!

  • Reply Betty May 23, 2017 at 3:30 am

    Wow this salad sounds super healthy yet delicious! Haha love the picture with the peace signs and the army of turkeys! I love trying new salads so I will give this recipe a go!

  • Reply Robin May 23, 2017 at 5:14 am

    I love that you put cornbread bits in your salad. It reminds me of the cornbread croutons that my mom used to make 🙂

  • Reply Christy Maurer May 23, 2017 at 6:51 am

    That does look like a yummy salad! Leftovers at my house are never a good thing…unless the are from Thanksgiving like this lol. There are very few things that get eaten if they are leftover unless they’re used in a different way!!!

  • Reply Candy May 23, 2017 at 7:54 am

    This salad looks so fresh and delicious. Like the use of the cornbread bits. I have fresh spinach from the garden right now would that work in place of the kale? Thinking it would.

  • Reply Paula Schuck May 23, 2017 at 8:05 am

    5 stars
    This looks like a delicious salad! The idea of Kale in a Caesar salad sounds delicious and I love the addition of the cornbread!

  • Reply Leslie May 23, 2017 at 9:55 am

    5 stars
    I am actually attempting to grow Kale in my garden this year! I can’t wait to make a salad with it, hopefully, it comes out alright! It looks absolutely delicious! Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe!

  • Reply Rebecca M. May 23, 2017 at 11:34 am

    5 stars
    I love kale, caesar salad and cornbread so this recipe is a winner for me! The dressing sounds great and I love that it can be made vegan too 🙂

  • Reply Lisa Favre May 23, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    Kale has been my number one go-to for salads recently. Love the fact there are cornbread bits in this recipe – will definitely have to try it out.

  • Reply Ashley Whipple May 23, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Your salad is so light and bright. It looks delicious. I really love the cornbread bits. Nice unique touch.

  • Reply Emerson May 23, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    I love kale but am always looking for new ways to enjoy it. This recipe sounds so delicious. Can’t wait to try this.

  • Reply Melanie May 23, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    I have been eating salads once a day now, and this looks so good. I have never been able to find a way to make kale that I actually like it. I wonder if this recipe would be the key for me to enjoy it.

  • Reply Kristi May 23, 2017 at 8:18 pm

    Lots of love and wisdom in this post. I love the memories of Thanksgivings gone by, and the recognition of seasons of life in the phrase, “I’ve had that.” My husband and I both love a good Caesar, and can’t wait to try this!

  • Reply Marley May 23, 2017 at 10:38 pm

    BB knows this is supposed to be about the Kale salad, but after all those Thanksgiving tales Babushka wants some pumpkin pie!! Que Rico. The salad look amazing, pero pumpkin pie…

  • Reply Melanie May 24, 2017 at 10:08 am

    I have been obsessed with Caesar salads lately and kale salads are my favorite. Two in one! I am going to try this for sure!

  • Reply Anosa May 24, 2017 at 10:45 am

    I’d love this to serve with many sprinkles of parmesans. Love to read as well about the Thanksgiving memories.

  • Reply Tessa May 24, 2017 at 10:50 am

    Thank you for all the people like you and your husband, spending time to volunteer and make meals for other people. I really like you recipe, I would love to try it.

  • Reply Monica May 24, 2017 at 11:17 am

    5 stars
    This looks delicious. Something I really want to make for our future potluck at work and a birthday party that we have coming up soon. I like the recipe because you can make it for an everyday dinner or for a special occasion. Looks yummy. Cannot wait to make it.

  • Reply Mimi Green May 24, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    I’m a salad lover, but my absolute favorite salad of all times is a Caesar Salad. I’ve never had cornbread bits, but my gosh that sounds delicious. I’m going to try that in my next salad.

  • Reply Brooklyn May 24, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    I love kale, and I love kale salads! I also love the addition of the cornbread for added crunch. I usually add hemp seeds but I will try this gluten-free option!

  • Reply Nikki May 24, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    Oh, my mom loves Caesar Salad, I have to make this for her sometime! I bet the cornbread bits really make it awesome. They’re such a clever spin on croutons! It sounds like Thanksgiving was wonderful in your family!

  • Reply Terri Beavers May 24, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    5 stars
    What an interesting twist to this salad. I love salads and can’t wait to try your recipe. Ceasar salads are my fave.

  • Reply Farrah Less G. May 25, 2017 at 8:23 am

    My husband and I loves Kale , we can eat this type of salad almost everyday. is it so nice that when your hubby willing to help you making dinner. My husband does the same too esp. when I’m preparing a lot for family get together, He helps me with the dishes too I think its cute 🙂

  • Reply Adriana May 26, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    This looks soo yummy! What a delicious recipe – I will be trying this for sure! I love kale, it confuses me when people say they don’t haha! Love the mix of flavors!

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