Recipe: Vegetarian Kale Taco Salad

updated May 1, 2019
Vegetarian Kale Taco Salad
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(Image credit: Rachel Korinek)

In this wholesome take on a Tex-Mex taco salad, shredded kale is tossed with hearty black beans and crisp veggies, and softened by a creamy yogurt and cilantro dressing. And of course, no taco salad would be complete without crunchy tortillas and plenty of shredded cheddar. So if you’re looking for a more exciting way to get your fill of kale, this is it!

Make Ahead for More Tender Greens

Kale doesn’t really have time for tepid dressings and hesitant handling. The more you handle it and the longer you let it sit in a dressing, the better it becomes. Most salads with kale, including this one, come with big make-ahead potential. In fact, they’re a lot better when prepped even an hour ahead of time.

Giving the shredded kale time to settle into the creamy dressing not only softens this otherwise sturdy salad base, but it also allows it to soak up extra flavor. Toss in the onions as well to let the dressing mellow their sharp bite.

(Image credit: Rachel Korinek)

Vegetarian Kale Taco Salad

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


For the dressing:

  • 1 cup

    loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves

  • 1/3 cup

    plain Greek yogurt

  • 1/3 cup

    olive oil

  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 medium lime

  • 2 teaspoons

    white wine vinegar

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    smoked paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • Pinch cayenne pepper

For the salad:

  • 1

    large bunch flat-leaf kale (10 to 12 ounces)

  • 1/4

    medium red onion

  • 1

    (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1

    medium red or yellow bell pepper

  • 1 cup

    cherry tomatoes

  • 4

    medium scallions, green parts only

  • 2

    medium avocados

  • 1/2 cup

    pickled jalapeños (optional)

  • 1 cup

    shredded cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)

  • 1 cup

    crumbled tortilla chips


Make the dressing:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process until well-combined and smooth; set aside.

Make the salad:

  1. Remove the center ribs from the kale. Cut the leaves crosswise into thin shreds and place in a large bowl. Dice the onion and add to the bowl. Pour half of the dressing into the bowl and toss to combine. Refrigerate for 1 hour to soften the kale leaves.

  2. Add the beans to the salad. Core and seed the bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice, and add to the bowl. Halve the tomatoes and add to the bowl. Thinly slice the scallions and add to the bowl. Halve and pit the avocado, cut into 1/2-inch dice, and add to the bowl. Add the pickled jalapeños (if using) and cheese to the bowl. Toss to combine.

  3. Divide the salad between bowls. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and top with the tortilla chips.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The dressing can be made to up 3 days ahead and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.