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Angeled view of a bowl of Kale Caesar Salad with Polenta Croutons with caesar dressing in the background on an off white surface.

Kale Caesar Salad with Polenta Croutons

  • Author: Sabrina Russo
  • Total Time: 48 minutes
  • Yield: 3 to 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


This Kale Caesar Salad is dressed with the best Caesar Dressing and delicious, fried Polenta Croutons, which are easy to make with store bought polenta.


  • 1 bunch lacinato kale, de-stemmed and finely chopped (89 cups, loose packed, chopped kale)
  • 1 ½ cups cubed, store-bought polenta, or leftover, homemade polenta*
  • Neutral oil, such as vegetable or canola, for frying


  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced
  • 56 oil packed anchovy fillets*
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil*
  • 4 tsp lemon juice, or to taste
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese, preferably parmigiana reggiano (4 tbsp if grated with microplane)*, plus more for serving
  • Kosher salt


  1. Make garlic-anchovy paste: Place minced garlic and anchovies on a cutting board. Sprinkle with salt to act as an abrasive. Finely chop mixture and scrape with back of knife to form a paste like consistency.
  2. Make dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together anchovy garlic mixture, egg yolks and Dijon. Place a dish towel under the bowl to stabilize it. Drizzle in oil starting drop by drop, while whisking constantly. Drizzle in olive oil more quickly once mixture starts to thicken. Continue to whisk until you have a thick and creamy emulsion.* Stir in lemon juice and cheese. Thin out with a few drops of water, as needed. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Fry polenta: Heat ¼ inch of oil in a large skillet. Carefully add cubed polenta to pan, making sure not to overcrowd pan as they will stick together. Fry for 3-4 minutes per side or until golden and crispy on the outside. Transfer to a baking rack or paper towel lined dish to drain. Season with salt and parmesan cheese if desired.*
  4. Serve: Toss kale in enough dressing to coat. Separate onto serving dishes. Top with polenta croutons and additional parmesan cheese, as desired. Enjoy.


If you’re using my homemade polenta recipe, omit the cream. Allow it to set up overnight in the fridge and cut into cubes before frying.

Use fewer anchovies for a less strong flavor. You can also substitute with 2 to 3 teaspoons of anchovy paste. If you want to leave out the anchovies, try adding in a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce.

For a lighter flavor, use half extra virgin olive oil and half lighter oil, such as canola, vegetable or grapeseed oil.

Parmesan cheese grated with a microplane is much less dense compared to store bought grated cheese, or cheese blended with a Vitamix. In any case, add as much cheese as you like!

If you’re emulsion breaks, try adding a few drops of water to the dressing, and continue to rapidly whisk until it comes back together.

Using cold polenta straight from the fridge usually holds it shape best when frying. Be more cautious with homemade polenta, as store bought polenta tends to be very stiff to start.

Fry just enough polenta for what you plan to eat that day as they do not store or reheat well.

The Caesar dressing will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.

  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Toss, whisk, fry
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • Serving Size: 1/4 of salad and dressing
  • Calories: 430
  • Sugar: 1g
  • Sodium: 570mg
  • Fat: 37g
  • Saturated Fat: 6g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 31g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 19g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 10g
  • Cholesterol: 102mg

Keywords: kale caesar salad, healthy caesar salad, caesar salad with kale, polenta croutons, kale salad with croutons