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Mexican Kale Salad

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 makes 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 the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, this is one of my favorite recipes. Even a classroom of high school students lined up for seconds, and only 1 out of 25 had ever had kale before!

The recipe card at the bottom of the page has the full list of ingredients with measurements and instructions.

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.

A great dish to serve this with is my Mexican Stuffed Peppers.

Recipe from The 21-Day Weight Loss KickStart book.

Other great kale recipes

For those of you new to the whole food plant-based lifestyle, we’ve created a FREE 7-Day Plant-Based Menu Planner to help you get started!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.

For those of you new to the whole food plant-based lifestyle, we’ve created a FREE 7-Day Plant-Based Menu Planner to help you get started!

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 tablespoon 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.

Did you make this recipe?

Please rate and leave a comment because I love hearing from you. Remember SHARING IS CARING!

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mexican kale salad

Deb Christy

Saturday 30th of April 2016

Score! This is absolutely my new fav meal and Joe loves it too!


Saturday 30th of April 2016

Terri.....This is awesome!!! Thanks so very much for sharing. It will definitely be a dish I will make a lot.

Saturday 30th of April 2016

You're welcome! So glad you like it. We do too! :)


Tuesday 15th of September 2015

What kind of blue chips do you use ?


Wednesday 16th of September 2015

Bev, I use the baked blue corn chips from Trader Joe's. They are only $1.99 per bag. If you can't find baked corn chips or don't have a Trader Joe's nearby, it's easy to make your own. Use corn tortillas found in most any grocery store, slice into 6-8 wedges, place on baking pan, spritz with water or lime juice, sprinkle with garlic powder, and bake at 400 degree for about 10 minutes. They will come out crispy and are great for this recipe.

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