Mexican Kale Salad with Chili-Lime Vinaigrette

The weather here in New York was a little crazy this weekend. On Saturday, it was hot and sunny one minute and pouring rain the next. My husband and I walked down to the Lincoln Center for a Beatles exhibit and were lucky enough to miss the worst of it while we were inside.

By Sunday, the storms were gone, and we spent most of the afternoon in the park enjoying the weather. It seems like everyone in the city was out and about, and there was some seriously good people watching, like the Grim Reaper rollerblading around the Central Park loop. Only in New York?

Of course, a lazy day in the park wouldn’t be complete without a picnic! Now, I’m a huge fan of taco salad (the kind with crushed Doritos), but it’s not exactly healthy. So I did a little experimenting and created a Mexican Kale Salad with a Chili-Lime Vinaigrette. It’s the perfect thing for a lazy weekend picnic.

Mexican Kale Salad with Chili-Lime Vinaigrette | Hello Little Home #recipeThis isn’t your typical kale salad. Have you ever had one with tough, chewy bits of kale? Sure, it’s healthy, but it’s not exactly enjoyable to eat. I think that’s what my husband was expecting when I told him what was on the menu!

There are a few tricks to an enjoyable kale salad. First, I like to use lacinato, or “dinosaur,” kale, which isn’t as tough as curly kale. Next, toss the kale with a little olive and salt. This softens up the leaves and breaks down their waxy coating. Finally, instead of just tossing the vinaigrette with the kale, use your hands hands and massage it in. Yes, it’s a little strange, but it makes big difference.

My husband was pleasantly surprised by this Mexican Kale Salad, and I think you will be, too! It’s full of flavor and filled fresh veggies and other healthy ingredients. The Chili-Lime Vinaigrette is sweet and mildly spicy, and it adds just enough richness to the salad. Give it a try for you next picnic.

Mexican Kale Salad with Chili-Lime Vinaigrette

Yield: 4 servings

Mexican Kale Salad with Chili-Lime Vinaigrette


  • 1 bunch lacinato, or "dinosaur," kale
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • For Vinaigrette:
  • 3 tbsp. lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp. ancho chili pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • pinch pepper
  • For Salad:
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz. can black beans
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, lightly packed
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup corn, fresh or thawed if frozen
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • tortilla chips (optional)


  1. Wash and dry kale.
  2. Remove kale leaves from stems (see note for help).
  3. Stack kale leaves and roll up. Slice about 1/4-inch thick.
  4. Add sliced kale to a large bowl. Toss with 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1/2 tsp. salt. Set aside while you prepare the remaining salad ingredients.
  5. Prepare Vinaigrette:
  6. In a small bowl, combine lime juice, apple cider vinegar, cayenne, ancho chili pepper powder, maple syrup, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  7. Whisk ingredients together.
  8. Taste vinaigrette and add more salt, if necessary. Set aside.
  9. Prep salad ingredients:
  10. Halve cherry tomatoes
  11. Drain and rinse black beans.
  12. Roughly chop cilantro.
  13. Cube avocado.
  14. Finish salad:
  15. Pour vinaigrette over kale.
  16. Take a minute to massage vinaigrette into kale, using your hands.
  17. Top kale with cherry tomatoes, black beans, cilantro, and corn. Toss to combine.
  18. Add avocado and feta cheese to salad. Fold in gently.
  19. Serve salad topped with tortilla chips (optional).


- To remove tough stems from kale leaves, grab onto top of stem and quickly slide your hand down, separating leaves from stem as you go.
- To avoid burning your eyes, wash your hands well after massaging the vinaigrette into the kale.
- If you can't find ancho chili pepper powder - I got it at Penzeys - replace it with regular chili powder.

Mexican Kale Salad with Chili-Lime Vinaigrette | Hello Little Home #recipeMexican Kale Salad with Chili-Lime Vinaigrette | Hello Little Home #recipeDo you have a favorite picnic food?

I’m linking up with these link parties, as well as Inspire Me Tuesday, Create & Share, Creative Inspirations, Create It Thursday, Pin It Thursday, Link’n Blogs, Much Ado About Monday, Inspire Me Monday, Lovely Ladies Linky, Work It Wednesday, Flaunt It Friday, Craft Frenzy FridayInspire Me PleaseFridays UnfoldedLink Party PaloozaCreative Collection, Say G’Day SaturdayShowliciousSaturday Night Fever, and Tweak It Tuesday.

34 thoughts on “Mexican Kale Salad with Chili-Lime Vinaigrette

  1. Rachel Kathyg

    Ginnie, your salad looks fabulous! I love kale And I love Tex-mex flavors so I am sure this would be a winner in our house….pinned to try. found at sweet bella roos linky. Hope you are having a wonderful week..And, tee–hee…cutting back on carbs at my house too…funny….

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  5. Laurie

    Thanks for linking up to the Tip Me Tuesday linky party! {knuckle bumps} Did you know that I can “lend” your blog posts my Google page rank for better search engine traffic? {fabulous} If you upload at least 2 images, 2 steps, and blog post URL into your Tip Junkie craft room, you’ll be in business! {wink} ~ Laurie {a.k.a. the Tip Junkie}

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