Picnic Salad (Potato, White Bean and Kale with Zesty Vinaigrette)


What makes a salad perfect for a picnic? It must be delicious, simple, portable, keep well without refrigeration, and may be made ahead. Pack a blanket; you’re all set!


This salad combines some of summer’s classics all in one: a potato salad, a bean salad, and a green leaf salad. Yet, it works as its own unique dish.

Work out your frustrations on the kale and let it know who’s boss!

Got some kale nay-sayers in your life? Tell the kids it’s DINOSAUR kale! Got some bitter greens phobics in your life? Quiet them with the fantastic vinaigrette and creamy roasted potatoes and cannellini beans.  Now that you have some peace in the house, make the salad and enjoy it for yourself.



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Picnic Salad (Potato, White Bean and Kale with Zesty Vinaigrette)

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


  • 1 pound, (16 ounces) Lacinato Kale (also known as Dinosaur Kale, Tuscan Kale, or Cavolo Nero)
  • 1 pound (16 ounces) baby or fingerling potatoes
  • 15 ounces cannellini beans (canned is fine), rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced (or thinly sliced long) red onion
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Approximately 1/2 cup of vinaigrette (enough to dress the potatoes and rest of the salad), see recipe, below. Use more as needed
  • Shavings of pecorino cheese (optional)


  1. Clean, drizzle with olive oil and a little sea salt, and roast potatoes for 35 minutes until tender. Remove from oven and let cool
  2. In a small bowl, cut potatoes into large bitesize pieces and gently mix 1/4 cup vinaigrette while the potatoes are still mildly warm. Set aside
  3. Remove the ribs from the kale and discard ribs
  4. Chop the kale into large bitesize pieces and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of kosher or sea salt. Place the kale into a very large mixing bowl and grab bunches of it in your hand. Grab, squeeze, release. Repeat about 10 times. This breaks up some of the coarse fibers in the kale and makes it less chewy and bitter
  5. If using canned cannellini beans, rinse and drain them well, and add them to the kale
  6. Dice or slice the red onion and add it to the kale
  7. Add the potatoes, black pepper, remaining salt and dressing. Toss gently, but very well. Re-toss it several times to distribute the dressing as it rests for 30 minutes
  8. Right before serving, toss one final time and add shavings of pecorino cheese, if desired


Classic Vinaigrette Recipe

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (or other oil of your choice such as hazelnut, pistachio, walnut, pumpkin seed (a new favorite!))
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar (or other acid such as wine, lemon juice or other type of vinegar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea (not table) salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Vinaigrette instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients and shake or whisk until fully combined*

Tip: I buy restaurant style squeeze bottles at grocery or hardware stores. They are inexpensive and are great for mixing and storing salad dressings.

*When you store vinaigrette in your refrigerator, depending on which type of oil you’ve used, it will likely coagulate. You’ll need to bring it to room temperature and shake or whisk before using. Shake before each serving. Since this recipe has no chemical emulsifiers, the oil and acid will separate over time.

Author: gregnelsoncooks

Visit weekly for original and adapted recipes as well as cooking tips to make your kitchen life easier — and more delicious! I’ll include simple, straight forward instructions along with recipes that are truly worth your time making. And, recipes that elevate the familiar and introduce you to the new and unexpected.

4 thoughts

  1. Just posted this on my CSA’s page, since we got potatoes and kale in our boxes this week. I’m making this today!


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