Kale and avocado salad is seriously delicious, with the addition of corn and tomatoes. Add the optional beans and it becomes a main dish salad. You can use lacinato, otherwise known as “dinosaur kale” in this recipe, and it’s just as good with the more common curly kale.
Without the beans, it’s a great companion to tortilla specialties containing beans—burritos, enchiladas, and the like. If you choose to include the beans, consider serving this hearty kale and avocado salad with fresh tortillas — you can even use them to scoop up some of the salad, taco-style.
Without the beans, a fun companion to this bountiful salad with a Southwestern flair is Crazy-Easy Vegan Hot Bean Dip and plenty of tortilla chips.
A few notes about kale
Though the crazed devotion to kale seems to have peaked, it’s still a vegetable that deserves a regular place in your rotation. Here are a few things to know:
- Kale is in the family of cruciferous vegetables, along with broccoli and cauliflower. It comes in several varieties, the most common of which are the curly green, lacinato (also called dinosaur kale), and Russian.
- Lacinato kale has long, narrow leaves that are a handsome forest green, sometimes blue-green. Russian Kale is also curly, with red-tipped leaves and a slightly less sweet flavor than its monochromatic counterpart.
- The mild, slightly sweet flavor of the curly variety is the most widely adaptable to all manner of preparations (including smoothies!), but lacinato and Russian kale are totally worth using if you happen to spot them.
- 8 to 10 ounces kale, preferably curly green or lacinato
- 1 medium firm, ripe avocado, peeled and diced
- 2 cups cooked fresh or frozen corn kernels
- 3 medium tomatoes, diced
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into short, narrow strips
- 1/2 cup green pimiento olives
- 2 cups cooked or drained and rinsed black or pinto beans, optional
- 2 to 3 scallions, green parts only, sliced
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1 lime, more or less to taste
- 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro, optional
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Cut the kale into ribbons or bite-sized pieces and give it a good rinse, then dry it thoroughly. You can let it air-dry on a clean kitchen towel; blot between layers of paper towel; or use a salad spinner.
- Transfer the kale to a serving bowl. Rub a small amount of olive oil onto your palms and massage the kale leaves for 45 to 60 seconds, until they turn bright green and soften. Really get in there and don’t be afraid to use some muscle! The leaves won’t fall apart.
- Add the remaining ingredients and toss together gently (use salt sparingly, since you’re using briny olives). Let the salad stand for 10 to 15 minutes, then serve.
If you like this hearty kale salad, you might also enjoy …
Here are lots more easy vegan salads & sides.