street corn kale salad in two bowls

Zesty Street Corn Kale Salad (Vegetarian!)

Hearty, filling, and flavorful, this vegetarian Street Corn Kale Salad is a perfect weekday lunch or summer barbecue staple.

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street corn kale salad in two bowls

If you’re looking for a filling and healthy make-ahead weekday lunch, I think you just found a winner. This delightful Zesty Street Corn Kale Salad is vegetarian and packed with healthy fats and protein. It keeps for up to 5 days in the fridge thanks to kale’s heartiness.

street corn kale salad in large bowl with wooden salad tongs

Street Corn Kale Salad Key Ingredients

Street Corn Salad: You’ll be obsessed with this no-mayo salad, which is one of my OG recipes.

Green Kale: Remove the stems and chop into bite-size pieces!

Cilantro: Fresh herbs elevate any salad! If you’re one of those anti-cilantro people, feel free to omit.

Lime Juice: For brightness and acidity.

Avocado: Healthy fats and deliciousness.

Black Beans: For plant-based protein.

Pumpkin Seeds: For some crunch. If you’re feeling fancy, go ahead and toast ’em!

Cotija Cheese: There’s already some in the street corn salad, but I like to add a little extra.

street corn kale salad ingredients in separate bowls

Massage Your Kale!

I know we’ve all had salads that make us think we hate kale. You know, the ones with brutally tough and hard to swallow kale? No thanks. The secret to delicious kale is simple: massage it! Simply season it with a pinch of salt and massage with your hands until it wilts some and becomes softer to the touch. You may notice it become a more vibrant green and shrink some in volume, too. If you really want to be an overachiever, add a splash of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. No more painful kale salads for you!

street corn kale salad in white bowl

I hope this Street Corn Kale Salad becomes your new go-to summer lunch! If you give it a try, feel free to leave a rating, review, question, or concern. It warms my heart to hear from you, truly! You can always find me on Pinterest, Instagram, and TikTok, too.

More Delicious Summer Salads

salad in large bowl with gold serving utensils
street corn kale salad in white bowl

Street Corn Kale Salad

Hearty, filling, and flavorful, this vegetarian Street Corn Kale Salad is a perfect weekday lunch or summer barbecue staple.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course, Salad
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4


  • Chef's Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Baking Sheet
  • parchment paper
  • Large Serving Bowl


For the Street Corn Salad

  • 4 ears corn husked and cut from cob
  • 1 poblano pepper diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp chipotle chili powder (or more regular chili powder)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar (or regular sugar)
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ cup cilantro finely chopped
  • ½ cup full fat Greek yogurt
  • cup Cotija cheese crumbled
  • 2 limes juiced

For the Rest of the Salad

  • 1 bunch green kale stems removed and chopped into bite-size pieces
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 lime juiced
  • ½ cup cilantro woody stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 large avocado diced
  • 1 15-oz can black beans drained and rinsed
  • cup pumpkin seeds raw or roasted
  • more Cotija cheese for topping if desired


  • Preheat oven to 375° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • Mix corn, chopped poblano pepper, olive oil, chili powder, chipotle chili powder, cumin, sugar, and ½ teaspoon sea salt until well-combined and spread evenly on baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until corn and peppers are slightly charred.
  • While your corn mixture is roasting, place kale in a large bowl, sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon sea salt, and massage until the kale softens, shrinks down some, and brightens in color. This will take 1-2 minutes. Add juice of one lime and ½ cup roughly chopped cilantro and give everything a toss. Set to the side for now.
  • Transfer roasted corn and peppers to a large bowl and combine with ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro, Greek yogurt, ⅓ cup Cotija cheese, and juice of two limes. Put the entire mixture on top of the massaged kale. Top with black beans, pumpkin seeds, diced avocado, and more Cotija cheese if desired. Serve immediately and ENJOY.


Storage: Kale is heart, so salad can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days. 
Keyword elote, esquites, gluten free, kale, kale salad, no mayo, street corn, vegetarian

Photography by Hope Agresti and Allison Agresti

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