An easy-to-make Southwest Black Bean and Kale Salad recipe perfect for a healthy lunch all week or as the best veggie-packed side dish to serve with dinner. Made with all your favourite southwest ingredients – black beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro and onions with a spicy, zesty lime cumin dressing with just the right kick of heat. This is a simple, gluten-free salad that I will be serving all summer long!
This recipe was originally posted in January 2017 and has been updated and made over with a southwestern flare in July 2018. You can find the original recipe here.
I mean, does a kale salad get any better than this?
This super delicious, superfood salad (I mean, we are talking black beans AND kale here) is just so good and good for you too. It’s one of those healthy yet so good that no one notices it’s a healthy kind of salad… and obviously, that’s the BEST kind of salad.
I love the Mexican meets Southwestern flavours going on here – a little bit zesty from the lime, a little bit spicy from the chili powder, cumin and cayenne, a little bit earthy from the kale and herbs, very much fresh and bright from the tomatoes and corn and so much texture from the beans and peppers and onions. There’s a little bit of something everyone will love with this salad.
…and it might even be better when topped with avocado and grilled chicken too (if that’s your thing!).
An easy-to-make Southwest Black Bean and Kale Salad recipe perfect for a healthy lunch all week or as the best veggie-packed side dish to serve with dinner. Made with all your favourite southwest ingredients – black beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro and onions with a spicy, zesty lime cumin dressing with just the right kick of heat.
For the Dressing:
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1 lime (2–3 tablespoons; plus more for serving)
- 1 small clove of garlic, minced or grated
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
- Pinch of cayenne pepper, or to taste (optional)
For the Salad:
- 6 cups kale (gently packed), tough stems removed and finely chopped
- 2 cups canned black beans, drained and rinsed well (from 1 19-oz can)
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley and/or cilantro, roughly chopped
- ½ cup canned corn*
- 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped (about 1 cup; or use any colour pepper)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
- In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, shake together the dressing until smooth – olive oil, lime juice, salt, cumin, chili powder, pepper and cayenne pepper. Season the dressing to taste, adding more salt or lime juice, if needed. Set aside.
- To a large mixing bowl, add the kale. Drizzle half of the dressing over the kale and massage for a minute or two until the kale is wilted and softened.
- Add the black beans, herbs, corn, bell pepper, tomatoes and onion to the kale. Pour the remaining dressing over top and mix well. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
- Best if served immediately. Can keep in the fridge for up to 2 days (additional salt and lime juice may be needed if serving a day or two later)
You could add the full can of corn to the salad – I found that to be too corny. I put any remaining corn and black beans into a freezer bag and popped them into the freezer until my next taco night so they weren’t wasted. I did not try this recipe with frozen corn or fresh corn but I’m sure those would be good options as well.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
MORE ABOUT THIS SOUTHWEST BLACK BEAN AND KALE SALAD RECIPE…
I used 2 cups of canned black beans here (drained and rinsed well) because canned beans are so easy. If you have some cooked beans on hand you can use those instead but canned beans are so easy.
My kale of choice here was curly kale but any kind of kale you can find in the grocery store will work. I usually go for the curly kale because that’s all my supermarket stocks but I when I am able to find the black kale I will always opt for that one. And especially when mixed with lots of fresh parsley and cilantro too.
As for the veggies, I went with all the usual southwestern favs – red onion, red pepper, tomato and corn. You can use whichever kind or colour of onion and pepper you have on hand (for the onion I used both red and green onions here and for the peppers, I use the red kind of pepper always) – just make sure you chop both really small and fine so it blends and fits in better with the salad. You could even add in some spicy jalapeño pepper or other hot pepper too.
Oh and avocado – please add some avocado!
And that dressing! Zesty, spicy, simple, and delish pretty much sums it up – it’s all about the lime and salt and spices. Adding the ground cumin and chili powder into the dressing gives this salad that southwestern flare (especially with all those black beans and corn!). And when it comes to southwestern flare, it will always be a favourite in my kitchen.
To assemble? Just pretty much mix everything all together, massaging the kale as you go to allow it to become tender and delicious. This salad is a great make-ahead lunch or addition to any dinner and will keep it in the fridge for about a day or two.
A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT THIS BLACK BEAN AND KALE SALAD
Let’s talk make-ahead meals and meal prep for just a sec… because this salad is good for just that!
I am definitely on team ‘make-lunch-once-and-eat-for-a-couple-days’ and yes I have official team status.
But in all seriousness, this recipe is great for make-ahead or any sort of meal prep.
I mean, just knowing that I don’t have to think about what to eat for lunch for a couple days of a busy week makes everything easier. Just knowing that this salad is waiting for me in the fridge makes things even easier.
It’s healthy and filling and wholesome and delicious. You get the point. (And I’m sure if you like this salad you will L.O.V.E. this Easy Mango Black Bean Quinoa Salad too!)
If you are prepping this salad, I find the more veggies the better. And the more lime juice the better. And maybe even an extra pinch or shake of salt as well. As this salad sits overnight the kale really, really, really soaks up a lot of the flavour with can leave the rest a little dry the next day. A good spritz of fresh lime really does the trick to bring it all back together.
This recipe was originally posted in January 2017 and has been updated and made over with a southwestern flare in July 2018.