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Mexican Kale Salad

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Greens and beans! They are an excellent source of calcium and trump anything that cow’s milk could provide. This fresh Mexican kale salad is a terrific way to add more calcium to your diet and enjoy every bite!

mexican kale salad

You’re going to love this kale salad because it’s…

  • Salsa-flavored
  • Veggie-packed
  • Full of protein
  • Loaded with crunchy baked corn chips
  • Simple to make
  • No cooking
  • Oil-free

Massaging kale tames the angry lettuce

Kale has been called the angry lettuce because is it much more fibrous and less delicate than say baby spinach, romaine, or other leafy greens.

I have found that massaging kale with lemon juice and a little sea salt make it much more tender and flavorful. And who can blame it? We all could use a little massage to soften our attitude every now and then. Massaging the kale first makes this Mexican kale salad tender and delicious!

massaging kale for mexican kale salad
Massaging kale softens it up for salads.

One thing I’ve noticed with the pre-cut kale in bags is that the leaves are sliced horizontally which causes the stems to be included in them. The stems are so fibrous that it’s best to take them out because they won’t cook down to being soft.

raw kale on cutting board

Those cut bags of kale are great for things like smoothies, but not so much for this recipebraising, or kale salad. I always buy the whole leaf kale and de-stem it. Only takes a few minutes.

Destemming kale for salad

Destemming is not difficult and doesn’t even require a knife or scissors.

To strip out the stems, simply grasp a kale leaf with one hand by the stem. Wrap your other hand firmly around the lower end of the leafy part. Slide your hand up the leaf, staying close to the stem, to strip off the leafy part.

hand holding bunch of kale

There is even a kitchen tool called Loose Leaf Kale, Chard, Collard Greens and Herb Stripper to make it even more simple.

When I teach KickStart Your Health classes for Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, this is one of the favorite recipes. Even a classroom of high school students lined up for seconds, and only 1 out of 25 had ever had kale before!

Nutrition in Kale

One cup of kale contains 34 calories, 6.7 grams of total carbohydrates and 1.3 grams of dietary fiber.

Based on a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet, these measurements represent 2 percent of the recommended daily value, or DV, used by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, for carbohydrates and 5 percent for dietary fiber. Kale also provides 2.2 grams of protein.” LiveStrong

raw kale in stainless bowl with kale stem on side

Once the kale is massaged and prepared, set it to the side and gather the other ingredients.

If you’re using canned black beans, drain the liquid from them and rinse under cool water before adding them to this salad.

Add the beans and other ingredients to the prepared kale and mix well.

Recipe from The 21-Day Weight Loss KickStart book.

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Other great kale recipes

Mexican Kale Salad

Mexican Kale Salad

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Greens and beans! They are an excellent source of calcium and trump anything that cow's milk could provide. This fresh kale salad is a terrific way to add more calcium to your diet and enjoy every bite! Recipe from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.


  • 1 small bunch kale
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice, or juice from one fresh lemon
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1-1/2 cups corn, fresh, or frozen defrosted
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup blue corn chips, preferably baked


  1. Wash kale and remove stems. NOTE: checkout the article below 23 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Kale.
  2. Quick Tip: don't throw those stems away! Place them in a storage bag and continue to add other veggie scraps throughout the week (carrot tops, broccoli cores, potato pieces, onion pieces, just anything). Once the gallon size bag is filled, make your own veggie broth. Find the recipe under "Kitchen Tips & Suggestions."
  3. Tear into bite-sized pieces and place in large bowl.
  4. Add the salt and 1/2 of the lemon juice. Massage the kale for 1-2 minutes and set aside.
  5. Defrost frozen corn by placing in drainer and running warm water over.
  6. Drain and rinse black beans.
  7. Add diced red onion, black beans, corn, and salsa and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle with crushed blue corn chips and drizzle with remaining lemon juice.
  8. Serve immediately.
  9. If not serving immediately, reserve the corn chips until ready to serve, or they will get soggy.


Detailed instructions, in-process photos, and my personal helpful tips can be found in the article above.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 243Total Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 10gProtein: 11g

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

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I love that this is a no-cooking dish!

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