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Enjoy a healthy Corn Kale Salad on its own or as a side to any meal. Ready in under 20 minutes, it's made with massaged kale and topped with grilled corn, squash, avocado, and an easy homemade chili-lime dressing. Plus, it's both vegan AND gluten free!
This corn kale salad is a reader favorite, and for good reason. It screams summertime, and is an easy way to finally turn kale skeptics into fans. As much as I like salads made with arugula or mixed greens, kale salads are my favorite, probably because the kale is massaged with olive oil, which automatically gives it more flavor.
- Loaded with kale+veggies, this salad is both vegan and gluten free
- The homemade chili-lime dressing is made with ingredients that are already in your cupboard
- It's easy to prep ahead, and can be eaten on its own for lunch or as a side at dinnertime
A full ingredient list is provided in the recipe card below, but I just want to give further clarification for a few ingredients.
Kale - I used curly kale, but lacinato works too
Corn - on the cobb, or pre-husked, packaged corn. If you use corn on the cobb, make sure to husk it before grilling it.
Jalapeño pepper - can sub any kind of pepper. The jalapeño adds more flavor to the dressing, but serrano or even habanero will work.
Onion flakes - can sub onion powder
There are two ways to cook the corn: over the stove (if you don't own a grill and/or it's raining and you don't want to use the grill) OR on the actual grill. These instructions will provide the "how-to" for both options.
Step 1: Massage the kale. If you eat kale salads often, you already know that this step is a MUST. Place kale into a large bowl then drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Use your hands to massage it--essentially rubbing the oil into the kale--for about 30 seconds, then set it aside.
Step 2: Make the dressing. Add all of the dressing ingredients to a blender (I like using my NutriBullet for this) or food processor and pulse until smooth. Do a taste test and add more salt/pepper or even jalapeño if you want it to be spicier.
Step 3: Cook the corn. There are two ways to do this, on the stove or on the grill. Stovetop method: Heat a large skillet over medium-high, then place the corn directly on the skillet and char for 5-8 minutes or until the corn is blackened. Grill: Heat a grill over high heat, then place the corn directly on the grill and grill for 10 minutes, turning frequently, until the corn is charred. Once the corn is cooked, use a knife to cut it off the cobb.
Step 4: Sauté the veggies. Add the zucchini and squash to a skillet with a bit of oil and sauté until cooked, about 3-4 minutes.
Step 5: Assemble the salad. Use kitchen tongs to combine everything and make sure the salad is evenly coated with dressing.
Tips and FAQs
- If you can't find corn on the cobb, many grocery stores sell already husked corn in the produce section.
- Want this salad to be spicier? Since you're already using jalapeño in the dressing, you could chop up the the rest of the jalapeño and include it in the salad.
- For protein: optional of course, but if you want to add protein, try adding chicken, salmon, tuna, or tempeh.
Can I make this ahead of time?
Sure can! If you don't mind the vegetables being cold, you can prep this entire thing in advance and store it in a container in the refrigerator. But, wait to add the avocado until right before you're ready to eat it so it doesn't brown.
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If you made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Thanks!
Grilled Corn Kale Salad
- For the salad: place kale in a large bowl, massage it and set it aside
- For the dressing: combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until everything is combined. Do a taste test and adjust salt/pepper as needed.
- Cook the corn (two ways): Stovetop: in a large skillet, heat both ears of corn until they turning brown; remove and wait a few minutes before slicing corn off the cob and placing on top of salad. Grill: place the corn directly onto a grill: heat grill on high and cook corn for approximately 10 minutes, until charred.
- Heat a separate skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil and place zucchini and squash in it, cooking until golden brown on either sides; put them on top of the kale.
- While zucchini and squash are cooking, slice the onion and place on the kale salad.
- Last, add avocado to the salad. Then, drizzle the salad with dressing and enjoy!
UPDATE NOTE: This post was originally published in June 2016. It was updated with new text and photos in June 2020.