Raw Vegan Cooking/ Vegan Main Dishes/ Vegan Recipes/ Vegan Salads/ Vegan Side Dishes

Southwestern-Flavored Kale Salad

Southwestern Kale Salad

Kale, corn, avocado, and tomatoes add up to a seriously delicious salad. With the optional beans, it’s a fantastic main dish salad. Without the added beans, it’s a great companion to tortilla specialties containing beans—burritos, enchiladas, and the like. Recipe adapted from  Wild About Greens by Nava Atlas. Photos by Rachael Braun.

Southwestern Kale Salad

Southwestern-Flavored Kale Salad

Kale, corn, avocado, and tomatoes add up to a seriously delicious salad. With the optional beans, it's a fantastic main dish salad.
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Course: Kale Salad
Cuisine: Vegan / Healthy
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6 to 8
Author: Veg Kitchen


  • 8- to 10- ounce bunch curly or lacinato kale
  • 2 cups raw or lightly cooked fresh corn kernels
  • 1 medium firm ripe avocado, peeled and diced
  • 2 to 3 medium tomatoes diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper cut into short, narrow strips
  • 1/2 cup green pimiento olives
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked or drained and rinsed black beans or pinto beans see note
  • 2 to 3 scallions green parts only, sliced
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil as desired
  • Juice of 1 lime more or less to taste
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro optional
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  • Strip the kale leaves away from the stems (kitchen shears are good for this). Discard the stems, or slice them very thinly. Cut the kale leaves into narrow strips. Rinse well and pat dry.
  • Transfer kale to a serving bowl. With a little olive oil rubbed into your palms, massage the kale for a minute or less, until it becomes bright green and softens a bit.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and toss together gently (use salt sparingly, if at all). Let the salad stand for 10 to 15 minutes if time allows, to let the flavors blend, then serve.


Note: Omit beans if serving this with a bean dish.

Nutrition Information: 
Per serving (without beans): 134 calories; 9 g fat; 13 g carbs; 4.4 g fiber; 5 g protein;
235 mgs sodium

Southwestern Kale salad


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  • Reply
    November 10, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Since there is no cooking involved, I suggest using a heart-healthy oil, such as unfiltered flax or hemp seed oil instead of olive oil. When consumed daily in small quantities, these seed oils provide the body with a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids, which has been observed to improve cardiovascular health.

  • Reply
    Martha Marshall
    February 6, 2014 at 11:49 am

    No need to massage the kale. The salt and other dressing ingredients will soften it.

    • Reply
      February 6, 2014 at 11:50 am

      If the kale is already tender, like from the garden, or for baby kale, that’s true. But for any other, I think massaging makes all the difference in the world for the mouth feel.

  • Reply
    Jill, The Veggie Queen
    February 6, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    For those that don’t use oil, you can do the massaging with avocado, tahini or nut butter. Works just fine. I use it in my kale salad.

    Massaging does make a difference and you get to add some love to your salad while giving your greens that massage.

    Thanks for the great recipe Nava.

    • Reply
      February 6, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      Hi Jill! Yes, that’s exactly right. Since this salad uses avocado, you can just mash a little up, rub it on your palms, and then massage as you would with oil. Kale can be massaged with any dressing you happen to be using, and a little goes a long way.

  • Reply
    Susan Kinsey
    February 6, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    I would love it if you could please make it possible to put these amazing recipes on our Pinterest boards.

    • Reply
      February 6, 2014 at 4:11 pm

      Hi Susan — there are sharing tools right under the titles of the recipes, plus if you mouse over individual photos, you should see the Pinterest symbol pop up. Is it not showing up for you?

  • Reply
    February 7, 2014 at 8:48 am

    Looks awesome – will make this this weekend

  • Reply
    July 23, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Is there any reason one could not use cucumbers in this recipe?

    • Reply
      July 23, 2014 at 1:21 pm

      No reason whatever! Alter as you’d like.

  • Reply
    June 9, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Going to give this recipe a try. Never used Kale before.

    • Reply
      June 9, 2015 at 5:01 pm

      I hope you like it! Massaging raw kale really does make a big difference.

  • Reply
    July 12, 2015 at 5:30 am

    I made this recipe for a BBQ we had last night. I used organic Tuscan kale and ‘massaged’ it with some olive oil as you said and it made all the difference. Also, the kale itself had a slight bitter aftertaste, but after the dish was put together, I let it sit in the fridge, and somehow it took away the bitterness. Maybe it was the lime. Anyway, great recipe!

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