Kale Taco Salad

Kale Taco Salads all around today!!

Growing up my mom used to make me lunch every day to take to school. Looking back, I didn’t realize how lucky I was but that’s besides the point. In high school I finally convinced her to let me buy lunch a few days a week and there is NOTHING that I’d look forward to more, than the days when the cafeteria would have taco salads. I would load mine up with literally a cup of shredded cheese, a few vegetables and all the ranch dressing I wanted. It came in a fried tortilla shell so I’d power down what was probably 12423423 million calories in a few minutes and then get back to socializing with friends. I miss the days when calories didn’t count and my metabolism was only 17 years old.

Kale Taco Salad from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

ANYWAYS… fast forward to today. I still love a taco salad, but you know I like to put my California spin on things. I’ve ditched the fried tortilla shell because I said goodbye to my teenage metabolism long ago, and replaces from of the ingredients with healthier options! Case in point – my cilantro vinaigrette! You’ll love this one! And you could even add in some shredded chicken or cooked ground taco meat if you want extra protein!! Have at it!

Kale Taco Salad from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Kale Taco Salad

Course Salad, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Mexican, Tex Mex
Servings 4 -6 servings


For the Cilantro Vinaigrette

  • 1 shallot roughly chopped
  • 2 cups tightly packed fresh cilantro leaves stems removed (about 4 ounces)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Salad:

  • 2 heads Curly Kale thinly shredded
  • 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes halved
  • ½ cup freshly grated cheddar cheese
  • ½ red onion finely diced
  • ½ jalapeno finely diced
  • 2 ears of corn shucked and corn sliced off the cob
  • 2 avocados diced
  • 3 green onions sliced
  • cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup Black Beans rinsed and drained


For the Cilantro Vinaigrette

  • Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend for 2 minutes until smooth. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed and set aside.

For the Salad:

  • Prep all the food according to the ingredient list. Arrange everything in a large salad bowl - serve with the cilantro vinaigrette

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Recipe Rating


  1. Monika

    I love kale, and I would love this for my lunch. I was never crazy about the shell anyway!

    • Gaby

      I prefer it raw, but you’re more than welcome to cook it and use it that way!

  2. stanp

    Have had “taco’ salads before but this looks like a nice variation.

    Big family picnic comng up so looks like a nice,new addition to the menu !


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  4. mo

    how long do you think this will keep in the fridge? kale salads always taste better after marinating a bit in dressing!

    • Gaby

      Shredded Romaine, Butter Lettuce! Really any green would work!

  5. Thea

    Craving this now.! The vinaigrette sounds amazing! I have never seen anyone cut corn on it’s side (chefs? cooking shows?), so smart! I cut corn last night and had more on the floor than on my plate! I use the wavy non-stick pan/bowls that you can bake tortillas in for the shell. It looks great to serve salads in, most people don’t eat much, it’s more for presentation . Love your recipes and site!

  6. Jeanine

    Um, yes, I will eat this every day! Love the video too – starving now!

  7. Cindy

    I’m going to try this using the WGC tomatillo salsa for the dressing. I hope it works!

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