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.
This 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.
- 1 bunch lacinato, or "dinosaur," kale
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 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
- 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)
- Wash and dry kale.
- Remove kale leaves from stems (see note for help).
- Stack kale leaves and roll up. Slice about 1/4-inch thick.
- 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.
- In a small bowl, combine lime juice, apple cider vinegar, cayenne, ancho chili pepper powder, maple syrup, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Whisk ingredients together.
- Taste vinaigrette and add more salt, if necessary. Set aside.
- Halve cherry tomatoes
- Drain and rinse black beans.
- Roughly chop cilantro.
- Cube avocado.
- Pour vinaigrette over kale.
- Take a minute to massage vinaigrette into kale, using your hands.
- Top kale with cherry tomatoes, black beans, cilantro, and corn. Toss to combine.
- Add avocado and feta cheese to salad. Fold in gently.
- 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.
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 Friday, Inspire Me Please, Fridays Unfolded, Link Party Palooza, Creative Collection, Say G’Day Saturday, Showlicious, Saturday Night Fever, and Tweak It Tuesday.