by Olena

Mexican Kale Salad

Olena Osipov
4.8 from 17 votes

Creamy Mexican Kale Salad with raw kale, black beans, corn, cilantro and creamy cumin flavoured avocado dressing.

This simple kale salad recipe is equally good on a hot summer night or as a Thanksgiving side dish.

Mexican Kale Salad

Kale Salad

Oh, this Mexican kale salad is sooo good! Even your deli potato salad grandpa will like it.

Hearty and crunchy salad where veggies are “swimming” in avocado cilantro dressing. Raw chopped kale, black beans, corn and tomatoes are combined with a bit of jalapenos, red onion and cilantro. Then tossed in a tangy, creamy with a cumin flavour punch avocado dressing.

Serve alongside grilled chicken and your dinner is done.

Types of Kale You Can Use

Traditionally, 4 types of kale are used to make chopped kale salad. And it’s always raw.

There are 4 types of kale that you find in your North American supermarket and you can use any:

  • Baby kale as name suggests are not mature kale leaves, pre-washed and packed in plastic tubs. They are very tender and vary in shape based on what type of kale it is. This is the kind I used and you see in photos.
  • Lacinato or dinosaur kale is kale with dark green, narrow leaves with the bumps. Hence, the name. It has a nice chew to it but is yet soft and more delicate than other kale types. It reminds me of a seaweed in a miso soup.
  • Curly kale is bright green leafy kale with broad leaves and lots of curls at the end. Like curly parsley. It has thick stems.
  • Purple kale has thin curly leaves and skinny stalk with a lot of purple colouring to it. But green is there too.

How to Prepare Kale for Salad

Unlike many other kale salad recipes suggest, I do not massage kale for the salad. I find this process unnecessary, I don’t have time for it and it deters me from making and eating a salad.

Instead, make sure to remove the leaves from the stalk and chop them into thinner strands than you would usually chop let’s say Romaine lettuce. That’s it. Kale leaves will not be tough. They just have a chew to them.

If you want to enjoy very soft kale salad, buy baby kale. Easy-peasy.

diced avocado, tomato, bell pepper, jalapeno and corn and beans in a white bowl

How to Make Kale Salad Dressing

To make kale salad dressing, just add avocado, warm water, lime juice, cumin, salt and pepper to a blender or food processor and process until smooth. It comes out like guacamole only thinner.

Warm water helps with smooth texture and I made sure you are not left with half avocado after making the salad. We incorporate everything.

Surprisingly enough, this avocado dressing can be made ahead. It does turn brown a bit within 24 hours but once you mix it into the salad, it is not noticeable.

How to Store and Make Ahead

Store: Refrigerate tossed salad for up to 24 hours. That’s the beauty of sturdy kale leaves, they don’t wilt as their green brothers.

Make Ahead: You could prepare salad and dressing in advance, refrigerate for up to 24 hours and combine before serving. Dressing does get brown a bit but once mixed with the salad ingredients, it’s not noticeable. Make sure to store everything tightly covered.

More Kale Salad Recipes

Mexican Kale Salad in a white bowl with wooden spoons

Mexican Kale Salad

Creamy Mexican Kale Salad with raw kale, black beans, corn, cilantro and creamy cumin flavoured avocado dressing.
4.83 from 17 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 servings (as a side)
Calories: 240kcal
Author: Olena Osipov


Kale Salad:

  • 4 packed cups baby or full-grown kale stalks removed & coarsely chopped
  • 14 oz can low sodium black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn fresh or frozen (thawed)
  • 2 large bell peppers diced
  • 1 1/2 large avocado pitted and diced
  • 1 large tomato chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp jalapeño peppers seeded & minced

Avocado Dressing:

  • 1/2 large avocado pitted
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 lime juice of
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper


  • In a large salad bowl, add kale, black beans, corn, bell peppers, avocado, tomato, red onion, cilantro and jalapenos.
  • In a food processor or blender, add 1/2 avocado, warm water, lime juice, cumin, salt, pepper and process until smooth.
  • Pour over salad, gently toss and serve.

Store: Refrigerate tossed salad for up to 24 hours.

    Make Ahead: You could prepare Salad and Dressing in advance, refrigerate for up to 24 hours and combine before serving. Dressing does get brown a bit but once mixed with the salad ingredients, it's not noticeable.


      Serving: 1.67cups | Calories: 240kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 396mg | Potassium: 738mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 5491IU | Vitamin C: 113mg | Calcium: 78mg | Iron: 2mg
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      olena osipov in the studio

      Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

      My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

      What You Will Find Here

      Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

      A Little More About Me

      Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

      44 comments on “Mexican Kale Salad

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      1. 5 stars
        This salad was so flavorful. We loved it and will make it again and again!!! Plus, it was so easy!!

      2. 5 stars
        This is the best of both worlds! I’ve been making something we call Texas Caviar for years. The dressing I use is a simple vinaigrette. Your dressing is awesome. Thank you for sharing this!

      3. 5 stars
        This recipe was really simple and really hearty and I am excited to make this again! Excellent salad for people looking for a low calorie meal that won’t leave them still feeling hungry when they finish.

      4. 4 stars
        Love this recipe! I have made it several times. Once with grilled shrimp, once with cilantro lime grilled chicken and just once on its own. I like it spicy so I add more jalapeno and also some pepitas and queso fresco on top. Definitely a new favourite of mine!

      5. Tried this tonight and yum yum! I added quinoa to the salad bc i already had it cooked, and fresh cilantro to the dressing. Btw, love this idea for a dressing, NO OIL, LOVE! Thanks for sharing!

      6. It was a hot day in Missouri USA today and your salad went perfect with some Honey Lime marinated Tilapia for dinner. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

      7. Made this twice since I found it. Love love it. The second time I added more hot peppers. Will made it many more times.

      8. Hint: make the dressing, massage it into the kale, then toss the other ingredients in. Makes a difference in the kale, almost melts together – tender and yummy!

        1. Hmmm. Too messy for me, personally. This dressing is just so thick and creamy and having it all over my hands and then serving it to everyone in a salad…I don’t know…That is me though. I do not mind massaging kale with salt and oil in the beginning, just a bit of it. However, I do not care if kale isn’t massaged.

      9. I made this without the tomato, cilantro, or jalapeno as I had everything else on hand and wasn’t going to be getting to a store for a few days. It was so delicious and satisfying. I will be making it often.

      10. Hi Olena, I found this on Pinterest and decided to try….wonderful salad….I loved it! Even without the dressing it is very good. Regards from Brazil !

      11. I saw this on pinterest and since I had a bag of kale decided to make it right away. It is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING, so refreshing, crunchy and yummy. My husband loves it too saying it tastes a lot like chipotle, no idea how since he only gets meat there. THANK YOU this will be a staple in my fridge for years to come.

        1. LOL, you made me laugh out loud. You are so welcome. I made this salad 3 times the past week – so hot outside!!! I could say the same thing as your husband, cause I have never even been to Chipotle.:)

          1. 5 stars
            I premade the dressing and chopped everything for a camping trip. Tossed it up and everyone loved it!

      12. This looks so colorful and delicious! Love the use of nutrient rich kale in this recipe; a welcomed change from typical greens!

      13. Looks good, can’t wait to try it. Since I don’t like avocado is there something you can recommend I replace it with for this salad? Thank you 🙂

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