Loaded Mexican kale salad with avocado, black beans, corn, tomatoes, and peppers, tossed in a delicious honey lime dressing! Vegan-friendly with plant-based protein, it's great for meal prep and ready in 20 minutes.
This loaded Mexican kale salad is our go-to when we're craving something fresh, tasty, and loaded with vegetables! It's packed with nourishing veggies, and is a little more hearty than your average salad thanks to the black beans and crunchy tortilla chips.
Topped with a delicious honey lime vinaigrette, it's bursting with fresh, zesty flavor! Best of all, this salad can keep for meal prep with a few simple tweaks (see our tips below).
Reasons you'll love this recipe
- it's ready in just 20 minutes
- is vegan-friendly
- can work for meal prep with a few tricks
Watch the video below to see exactly how this Mexican kale salad is made! You can find more of my recipe videos on my YouTube channel.
- kale - you can use any type of kale for this salad! We used curly kale, but Tuscan (aka Lacinato or dinosaur kale), or baby kale will also work. If using baby kale, skip the massaging step. If you use curly or Tuscan kale, make sure you cut the stem out
- black beans - we used canned black beans, but you can also make a batch of black beans in the Instant Pot in a flash, or cook them on the stovetop
- avodado - here's how to slice an avocado
- tortilla strips - or tortilla chips; whichever you have on hand will work
Step by step directions
Place washed & dried kale into a large bowl. Massage with your hands for 3-5 minutes, until soft and sort of wilted.
💡 Tip - If you avoid kale because of it's bitter flavor and tough texture, you've got to try massaging it! While this might sound kind of strange, giving your kale a 2-3 minute massage works amazingly well to mellow the flavors and give it a softer texture. Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, so you don't want to miss out on this nutritious veggie!
Add all other salad ingredients, including corn, black beans, red onion, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, red pepper, avocado, and tortilla strips.
🥑 Meal Prep Tip - if preparing this salad for meal prep, leave the tortilla strips off until serving so that they do not become soggy. You'll also want to omit the avocado and cilantro (avocado will brown, and cilantro may become soggy).
Shake vinaigrette ingredients together, then pour over the salad.
Toss everything up until well combined, and serve!
In addition to the delicious toppings listed, you can totally get creative here and add in some other things you might have in the fridge to your chopped kale salad:
- quick pickled red onions
- roasted sweet potato
- other greens such as spinach or romaine
- add in fluffy quinoa to make it a macro bowl
This salad is pretty hearty on it's own, but you could serve it with a side of cashew queso, guac, salsa, and chips! Or, if you want to make it a little more filling you can add in extra protein such as perfect baked chicken breast, or shredded chicken!
Absolutely - to make it vegan, substitute maple syrup for the honey in the honey lime vinaigrette. For gluten-free, ensure that your corn tortilla chips are gluten-free. Alternatively, you can swap the dressing for one of the other options listed above.
storage + meal prep
With a few adjustments, this Mexican kale salad can work for meal prep. Some of the ingredients in this recipe are not meal prep friendly: crispy tortilla strips, avocado, and cilantro, so we need to leave these off the salad until just before serving.
To store this kale salad for meal prep, we reccomend storing in mason jars and layer in the following order:
- vinaigrette on the bottom
- beans, corn
- bell peppers, onions
- tomatoes on the top
- Refrigerate - Store in an airtight meal prep container or jar for up to 4 days in the fridge.
- Serve - shake it out in a bowl, top with tortilla chips or strips, and add avocado if desired. We would leave the cilantro out, as it become finicky trying to chop fresh cilantro at lunchtime 😆
- 8 cups kale shredded, washed & dried
- 11.5 oz can of corn drained & rinsed
- 15 oz can of black beans drained & rinsed
- ⅓ cup red onion diced
- ½ cup cilantro chopped; loosely packed
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 bell pepper diced
- 1 large avocado cubed
- 1 cup tortilla strips
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ lime zested
- ½ teaspoon dijon
- salt and pepper
- Prepare kale - Place washed & dried kale into a large bowl. Massage with your hands for 3-5 minutes, until soft and sort of wilted.
- Combine salad - Add all other salad ingredients, including corn, black beans, red onion, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, red pepper, avocado, and tortilla strips.
- Vinaigrette - Shake vinaigrette ingredients together, then pour over the salad.
- Serve - Toss everything up until well combined, and serve!
- Omit the avocado, cilantro and tortilla strips.
- Store in 1 pint mason jars for up to 4 days.
- Layer in the following order: vinaigrette on the bottom, beans, corn, kale, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes on the top.
- To serve: shake out the jar into a bowl. Top with tortilla strips and freshly cut avocado and enjoy!
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