Your Taco Night Menu Needs This Salad

Do you love Mexican food? Do you need a new and exciting side for Taco night? Of course you do. Who doesn’t love tacos, quesadillas, and all the Tex-Mex, Cali-Mex and American melting pot versions of Mexican dishes? Mexican restaurants have always been dependable spots for a little meatless food, even back in the dark days when lonely vegetarians like me were wandering in the land of burgers and barbecue. So forgive me, if I took a little creative license in making this Mexican Kale and Black Bean Salad.

Necessity is the mother of invention, they say, and this salad came about because I needed a side for Mexican meals. When I’m making menus for clients, It gets repetitive to give them the same guac and green salad on the side of their tacos. So, I took the massaged kale salad and gave it a Mexican flavor makeover. Thanks to the black beans and avocado, this is also hefty enough to have as a main course.

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It Starts with Kale

The massaged kale salad is the best make-ahead salad, because it can sit in the refrigerator for a few days with no loss in quality. In fact, softening a bit makes it even more appealing, wich you cannot say about a bowl of mixed greens. In this salad, you’ll strip the kale leaves from the stems, and chop the leaves. It’s the easiest way to get the leafy part off, so you can chop it. Then, you’ll roll and compress the kale so you can hold it and chop it easily. Once it’s chopped, you can make the easy dressing, and massage it into the open cells of the kale leaves, softening and flavoring them.

Mexican Flavors Make It Sing

The dressing is easy, and you can just stir it up with a fork. I used a garlic press, but if you don’t have one, mince the garlic by hand.

I like this garlic press, mine has lasted for years.

Once you’ve massaged it into the kale, add a couple of tomatoes and a can of drained and rinsed black beans. Wait to add the avocado just before serving.

Mexican Kale and Black Bean Salad with Avocado

Course Side Dish
Keyword #kale, bean salad, black beans
Servings 4
Author Robin Asbell


  • 1 15 ounce can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch Tuscan Kale
  • 2 medium tomatoes cut in wedges
  • 2 scallions chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • ` clove garlic crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 large avocado


  • Drain the beans and reserve.
  • Strip the leaves from the kale stems, save stems for another use or compost. Chop the leaves and put in a large bowl.
  • In a medium bowl, pour the lime juice, then add the garlic, salt and cumin. Stir with a fork. Drizzle in the avocado oil while stirring. Pour over the kale in the bowl and toss, massaging the leaves vigorously for a few minutes to tenderize.
  • Add the beans, tomatoes and scallions to the kale and toss to mix.
  • Serve in individual bowls, with avocado slices fanned over the top, or cube the avocado and sprinkle over the salad. Serve immediately.