Southwest Kale Salad

This easy vegetarian Southwest Kale Salad is topped with a zesty BBQ Ranch dressing ready to rock your plate!

Southwestern Kale Salad with BBQ Ranch and Pecans

I wanted to simply things and simply title it BBQ Kale Salad but it gave me this weird mental image of barbecue sauce slathered on grilled kale leaves.

I know, SO the opposite of what this salad is.

This salad is light and crisp and nutrition packed, delivering a punch of  smoky-sweet barbecue flavor that is positively addictive when paired with the homemade ranch dressing and fresh veggies. It’s a party on a plate and a tasty bite of Summer.

Yes it’s still Summer, people. Put down the pumpkin!

Just kidding, I’ve totally already embraced the pumpkin too buuuuuut this weather still calls for some celebratory salads, mmkay?

While this pairing might seem a little cuckoo for cocoa puffs, let me tell you, it’s one of those shout-it-from-the-rooftops sort of flavor pairings that I absolutely can’t get enough of.

I swooned.

I stuffed face.

Then I ran over to the neighbor’s to tell them they HAD TO TRY THIS STAT!

The next line of action, of course, is to tell you the same. Make this. Yes with the kale. Yes with the pecans. Yes with ALL THOSE VEGGIES.

It’s fantastic.

Southwest Kale Salad

Measurements for salad recipes are always super awkward. What one person deems a side salad another may view as a lunch-sized salad and while one person may want more greens, the next wants a veggie party on their plate.

To make things easy on us all, take the salad measurements below with a grain of salt, and make as much as you need! The recipe as written makes what I would consider enough for 2-4 side salads, depending on how much leafy green goodness you tend to put down. Enjoy!

Southwestern Kale Salad with BBQ Ranch and Pecans
5 from 4 votes

Southwest Kale Salad

This Southwest Kale Salad is ready to rock your plate!

Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword Southwest Kale Salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Calories 283 kcal
Author Jenn Laughlin - Peas and Crayons



  • 2/3 bunch of kale
  • 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/4-1/2 cup crispy tortilla strips (optional but delicious!)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup toasted or roasted pecan halves and pieces

BBQ Ranch Dressing

  • combine equal parts of your favorite smoky sweet BBQ sauce with homemade or store bought ranch dressing + adjust to taste


  1. Wash and remove the center stalk/rib from the kale leaves, tearing each leaf into bite-sized pieces as you go.
  2. Drizzle with olive oil and massage to soften/tenderize the kale leaves. My toddler loves to do this step for me and I love the silky texture and taste of massaged kale.
  3. Top with veggies from list above and whisk together dressing. Drizzle over salad and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

For the beans and corn in the salad, feel free to use canned, freshly cooked, or frozen. I utilized my stash of crock-pot black beans that I freeze and defrost as needed as well as some frozen organic corn that I simply transfer to the fridge and defrost for an easy addition to meals during the week.

If you'd like some added protein, feel free to add shredded chicken (leftover rotisserie chicken would work awesome here), pan-fried tofu, or shrimp!

Nutrition Facts below are an estimated before dressing using an online recipe nutrition calculator. Adjust as needed and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts
Southwest Kale Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 283 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 79mg3%
Potassium 467mg13%
Carbohydrates 32g11%
Fiber 7g29%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 4670IU93%
Vitamin C 25.8mg31%
Calcium 80mg8%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Speedy enough for hectic weeknights, this Honey Glazed Chicken and Southwest Kale Salad is ready to rock your plate!

crazy for kale?

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Recipe Rating


  • Krissy Allori

    5 stars
    This is just the kale salad recipe that I have been looking for!

  • Samantha Dawn

    5 stars
    This BBQ Ranch Dressing has my mouthwatering. I can’t wait to make this kale salad again.

    • So glad it made repeat status! Thanks Samantha!

  • Justine Howell

    5 stars
    Gorgeous salad with all the colors, a real treat for lunch.

  • Massachuseats

    5 stars
    Yes yes yes! Can’t wait to try it 🙂

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