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Grilled Kale Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons

Difficulty 3/5
Prep time 20 mins

Cook time 50 mins
Serves 4-6

Hardwood Hickory

We’re taking everyone’s favorite salad, making it even better with homemade, wood-fired croutons and mixing in grilled kale into this smokin’ caeser salad for a healthier twist.



2 heads kale, red or lacinato, leaves washed and towel dried

Extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

2 heads romaine, sliced in half lengthwise with core kept intact


2 lemons, halved

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp Anchovy paste, optional

Freshly ground pepper

3 cups cubed country bread, preferably a day old

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


When ready to cook, set the Traeger to 300℉ and preheat, lid closed for 15 minutes. 
Place the whole kale leaves in a large salad bowl and sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt. Add 2 Tbsp of olive oil and toss until the leaves are coated evenly. Place the kale on a baking sheet and place on the grill. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the kale is slightly wilted.  
Remove it from the grill, allow it to cool and strip the kale off the stems. Coarsely chop the kale and place in a large salad bowl. 
Brush the halved heads of romaine with a tablespoon of olive oil on the cut sides, then sprinkle with salt. Place them cut side down directly on the grill grates and cook for 10 minutes.
At the same time, place the lemon halves cut side down and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes, or until juicy and slightly charred.  
Remove the lettuce and lemons from grill and allow to cool. Coarsely chop the lettuce and add it to the kale. Juice the lemons, they should yield at least 1/4 cup of lemon juice.
Increase the grill temperature to 350℉ and preheat. 
For the Vinaigrette: Combine the minced garlic with the Dijon mustard and anchovy paste (if using) and whisk to combine. Whisk in 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of olive oil until the mixture is emulsified. Taste, adding salt and freshly ground pepper.  
For the Croutons: Place the bread cubes in a large bowl. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt, then drizzle 1/2 cup of olive oil over the bread. Toss the bread cubes in the oil until they are well coated. If necessary, add a few more tablespoons of oil so they are very well coated. 
Spread the croutons out evenly on the baking sheet. Place on the grill and cook, stirring once, until the croutons are crispy and browned, about 20-30 minutes.
Remove from the pan and let dry on paper towels.
To serve, drizzle half of the vinaigrette over the lettuce, add the croutons and 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Toss to coat, adding more vinaigrette until you reach the desired consistency.
Finish with a freshly ground pepper. Enjoy!
*Cook times will vary depending on set and ambient temperatures.
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