This colorful Southwestern Kale salad is filled with so much flavor and nutrients. Plus, you have a choice between Avocado-Cilantro and Tahini-Chipotle dressing!
Southwestern Kale Salad
Can you believe that it’s nearly June? This year is flying by quickly and May has been a complete blur! I’m not really mad about it, although I have some goals that I gave myself that I’m having trouble reaching. Namely, writing my own cookbook! After I’m back from vacation and am done with the cookbook that I’m currently taking photos for I am gettin’ that damn proposal DONE!
Until then, it’s work, work, work, plus a little play for the next couple of months. What’s really pressing at the moment is that I’m going to Italy on Monday! I’ve only been out of the country once, and it was to go to Mexico for a couple of days when I was 16. That being said, I’m a little anxious about not knowing any Italian and traveling there with my family for two weeks, while being the only vegan. Eek! So, if you have any tips, I’d be more than happy to hear them.
For the next couple of days I’m just trying to queue up some posts so that you guys will have some reading material while I’m gone! I think that you’ll really enjoy the posts that I have planned. 😀 But, today, I’m featuring my beloved Southwestern Kale Salad. I usually make this with one of two different dressings, Creamy Avocado Cilantro or Chipotle Tahini; both are SO good. I’ll be honest, though, I’m not dead-sure about the measurements for the Chipotle Tahini Dressing, so I’m going to give it to you approximately.
This salad is vibrant with color, has many flavors and textures, plus is very nutritious. We all know what a powerhouse kale is, but add some fiber and protein from the black beans and pepitas, vitamin C from the bell pepper (which helps with iron absorption), and healthy fats from the avocados and you have yourself a well-rounded meal!
Substitutions + Tips:
- Kale – I used curly kale here because I the texture and rigidity is great for massaging and getting lots of dressing in the nooks and crannies. Russian red kale or lacinato kale will also work!
- Avocado-Cilantro dressing – I like agave because it balances the savory and sour without too much flavor, but in a pinch maple dressing could work.
- Chipotle-Tahini dressing – if you don’t have vegan mayo, use 1 tablespoon (15 ml) grapeseed or olive oil, plus an additional teaspoon of lime juice in its place.
- Black beans – in a pinch, black lentils or pinto beans can be used!
- Red bell peppers – yellow and orange will also work, or if you want, sub with tomatoes!
- Pepitas – I love the crunch that roasted and salted seeds offer, but raw pumpkin seeds or even sunflower seeds will also work here.
Creamy Avocado Cilantro Dressing
- 3/4 cup Avocado, Mashed
- 1/3 cup Fresh Cilantro
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) Water
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) Lime Juice
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 1 teaspoon Agave Nectar
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt, or to taste
OR Chipotle Tahini Dressing (approx.)
- 1/4 cup (60 g) Tahini
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) Water
- 2 tablespoons (30 g) Vegan Mayo
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) Lime Juice
- 1/2 teaspoon Chipotle Powder, or more/less depending on how hot you want it
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 1 Bunch Curly Kale, Stems Removed
- 1 cup (150 g) Cooked Black Beans
- 1/2 cup (70 g) Red Bell Pepper, Chopped
- 1/2 cup (65 g) Yellow Corn, you can use frozen as long as you thaw it out before hand
- 1/4 cup (30 g) Red Onion, Diced
- 3-4 tablespoons (30-40 g) Roasted Salted Pepitas
- 1-2 tablespoons Fresh Jalapeno, Diced (optional)
- 1/4 cup diced avocado, optional
- Cilantro for Garnish
- For the avocado-cilantro dressing, place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth, then taste and adjust seasonings to your preference.
- For the chipotle-tahini dressing, in a small mixing bowl place all ingredients and whisk together until well-combined. If it feels very thick, add another 1-2 tablespoons (15-30ml) water and whisk again. Taste and adjust seasons as you see fit.
- Tear the kale leaves into bite-sized pieces and put them in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the kale and knead/massage the dressing into the leaves so that they are coated evenly and reduce in size/soften.
- Next, take all of the toppings and add them to the bowl, tossing lightly. I like to mix in half and then top with half, or else it all ends up at the bottom of the bowl.
- Top with cilantro, and a few cubes of avocado if you're a fiend, like me. Serve chilled as a small starter salad or 3-4 large portions for an entree.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 439Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 378mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 10gSugar: 20gProtein: 13g
The nutrition information is calculated by a plug-in, and isn't always accurate. Please calculate your own with the products that you use, as it will be different for everyone.
And there you have it! A wonderful, supremely easy salad that makes for a great weeknight meal and is even better the next day. I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend, have fun and stay safe! 🙂