Salad and fries. The restaurant power-combo.
It is impossible for me to order a salad at a restaurant without a side of fries. Um, a little flavor-loaded fresh veg action with a fistful of hot and crispy fried potatoes to carb it up and wash it down? AND YES I WANT A SIDE OF RANCH DRESSING, DUH.
What was already a beloved food combo in my heart has just been elevated to a new status. This homemade Avocado Kale Caesar Salad — you guys, what can I even say right now. I literally do feel like it has changed my life. Just hear me say this: I love to eat kale right now. I LOVE TO EAT KALE! Because fun fact – kale is delicious when soaked in a creamy homemade caesar dressing and tossed around with chunks of avocado and handfuls of crunchy nuts. If you’re not opposed, Parmesan is a nice addition, and the sweet potato crispers filling out the other half of your plate make it a done deal.
Let’s start with the (EASY) Caesar dressing.
My rules for Caesar dressing:
- Let’s use avocado instead of a whole ton of mayo.
- Okay but let’s still use a little mayo, because the creaminess, you guys. Use vegan mayo if you want – it’s tasty.
- Exactly zero anchovies. Anchovies are not in my pantry, like, ever, so therefore they are a not in my Caesar dressing. I know it’s the true way of Caesar dressings, but look at who you’re talking to. Recipe rule-following was never my game.
- Dijon, salt, garlic, lemon, mwah. It’s honestly magic.
The sweet potato fries should get done first – they take about 30 minutes whereas the salad takes about 2, so start on those right away if you want fries with that pile-o-greens.
And then? Voila.
You have a plate full of hot fries + lemony, avocado-creamy, crunchy salad and it’s all just SO GOOD (dip your fries in the dressing, I dare you) and also – I might quit the blog now because this is the food I want to eat forever.
I mean, I never said I was fancy.
Avocado Kale Caesar Salad! Kale, avocado, and crunchy seeds drenched in a quick creamy avocado caesar dressing that can easily be made vegan, too. Toss some crispy sweet potato fries in are you are SET FOR LIFE.
Avocado Caesar Dressing:
- 1 avocado, divided
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise (optional – see notes)
- 2 small cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Kale Caesar Salad:
- 1 bunch kale, stems removed, chopped (5-6 cups)
- Parmesan and/or pepitas for topping
- Cut the avocado in half. Reserve one half for the salad. Blend the other half with the water, mayo, garlic, lemon juice, Dijon, and salt. Taste and adjust!
- Toss the chopped kale with the dressing. Throw in a handful of pepitas and Parmesan and toss it all around. Finish the salad with the remaining half of the avocado, cut into cubes. YUM!
Sweet Potato Fries (do this first, because the salad doesn’t take long): Preheat oven to 450 degrees with the pan in the oven so it gets hot. Peel 4 sweet potatoes and cut into fry-shapes. The thinner they are, the more crispy they’ll get. Toss with a teaspoon or two of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Remove hot pan from oven, arrange fries evenly, and bake for 20 minutes. Turn and bake for another 10 minutes or so until crispy.
How to make this vegan: Leave out the Parm and sub vegan mayo.
Thoughts on mayo: I found mayonnaise to be the right ingredient to add creaminess and flavor to the dressing. If you really don’t want to use mayo, you could sub Greek yogurt (more tangy flavor), or just leave it out altogether with the consequence of a more watery but still delicious dressing.
Thoughts on anchovies: Traditionally, Caesar salad is made with anchovies – paste, oil, or whole. I don’t normally keep anchovies on hand and I thought the dressing tasted great without them, so that’s why you don’t see them included them in this recipe.