Sausage, Tomato and Avocado Salad

Spicy Sausage, Tomato and Avocado Salad

People who say they don’t like salad — AREN’T DOING IT RIGHT!  There.  I’ve said it.  Salad isn’t iceberg lettuce, mealy tomatoes and bottled dressing — I mean, I wouldn’t like that either.  When they’re done right, a good salad is a symphony of flavors — satisfying and utterly delicious, like this Spicy Sausage, Tomato and Avocado Salad.

cooked quinoa and kale

Yes, it’s got quinoa and kale (tongue sticking out emoji, DAD) but it’s also loaded with a ton of good and good-for-you ingredients.  

chopped kale on a board.

For those who profess not to like kale, I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but — you’re doing it wrong.  Kale needs to be massaged.  A lot. 2-3 minutes of vigorous rub down with your very clean hands.  It should smell grassy and fragrant when you’re done.  Then you chop it VERY FINELY.  No big leaves.  No ruddy stems.  This is the jumping off point for many wonderful kale salads, but you can’t skip these steps.

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limes, garlic, cilantro, cup and whisk.
dressing in a measuring cup

A good salad needs a good dressing — not some bottled, science experiment — dressing.  With real ingredients.  Garlic.  Olive oil.  Dijon mustard.  And some type of acid — vinegar or citrus work well.  Then you add from there.  Honey for sweetness.  Fresh herbs or spices… or both.   You can keep it simple or dress it up.

salad and dressing
salad in a bowl

And you need a big bowl to toss the salad.  Don’t put dry salad on a plate and add dressing… Blech!  You’ll wind up with entire bites devoid of dressing — or worse, soaked with it.  Toss the salad in a bowl that’s twice as large as the volume of salad.  Transfer the salad to the bowl you’re serving it in — and then top it with your “heroes”.  You know, the things that make it shine.  In this case, it’s whole grilled sausages and slices of avocado.

Spicy Sausage, Tomato and Avocado Salad in a bowl.

Now dig in — and enjoy every bite!

serving Spicy Sausage, Tomato and Avocado Salad with fork
Spicy Sausage, Tomato and Avocado Salad with water glass

More main plate salads you’ll love:

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4.30 from 17 votes

Spicy Sausage, Tomato and Avocado Salad

This easy salad is hearty and fresh at the same time.
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword quinoa
Dietary Restrictions Dairy-Free, Egg Free, Gluten-Free
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4


  • 3 cups kale tough stems removed, massaged and finely chopped
  • 1 bell pepper diced
  • 1 cup tomato seeded and diced (can use grape or cherry tomatoes as well as plum or beefsteak
  • ½ English cucumber diced
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa cooked per package directions; remove lid and cool to room temperature
  • 12 ounces spicy chicken sausages like Aidell’s or Casual Gourmet, cooked
  • 1 haas avocado peeled, seeded and sliced
  • handful cilantro for garnish (optional)

For the Chili Lime Dressing

  • 1 lime zested and juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup cilantro chopped


For the Salad:

  • Cook the quinoa or other grains according to the package instructions.  (I used a grain blend with quinoa, buckwheat and millet – but rice or farro would work well too.)  When the grains are cooked, move them from the heat and remove the lid.  Set aside and let the grains cool to room temperature.
  • In a large salad bowl combine the kale, bell pepper, tomato and cucumber.  Add the cooled grains and toss to combine.
  • Cook the sausages according to package directions or grill them (that’s what I did.)  I used a smoked sausage, so it was already cooked and I just needed to reheat it.  Check your sausage — if it’s fresh, you’ll need to cook it through completely.

For The Dressing:

  • Zest the lime and transfer to a glass 1-cup measure.  Squeeze the juice from the lime into the measuring cup until you have 1/4 cup of juice.
  • Add the garlic, honey, dijon mustard, salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, cayenne and olive oil.  Whisk to emulsify.  Stir in the chopped cilantro and set aside.

Assemble The Salad:

  • Add about half the dressing to the vegetables and toss to coat.  Taste for seasoning and adjust.  If it needs more dressing, add it a tablespoon at a time, but don’t overdress — you don’t want it to be gloopy.  Any leftover dressing is great on a piece of grilled chicken or fish.
  • Transfer the salad to a large bowl or platter.  Arrange the sausages on top of the salad.  Arrange the cut avocado next to the sausages and drizzle a few tablespoons of dressing over the avocado and sausage.  Garnish with cilantro.  Serve.


You can double the recipe for the salad to easily serve four, but you may not need to double the dressing. I had leftovers to dress another salad the next day.


Calories: 673kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 49g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 1214mg | Potassium: 881mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 6815IU | Vitamin C: 116.2mg | Calcium: 120mg | Iron: 4mg

Don’t Forget To “Pin It” For Later!

Need a good recipe for kale and quinoa? This Spicy Sausage Tomato and Avocado Salad with a chili lime dressing, hits the spot every time!

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  1. 5 stars
    Loved this recipe!
    I would have added avacado but mine weren’t ripe so I added in some edamame beans which was a great addition!

  2. 5 stars
    Even tastier than I expected! I did make a vegan version, using field roast sausages so if there are any fellow veggies scoping out the comments section, it worked perfectly! I did add a little red wine vinegar to the dressing as well. Really glad I made a double portion to take half to lunch!

  3. 5 stars
    Thank you! He LOVED it. Called it AMAZING.

  4. stacie297 says:

    Hi. I’m actually making this for my husband’s lunch and I was wondering If you think putting the dressing on it now wouldn’t be a good idea?

    1. If you’re eating within an hour, you can dress the salad, otherwise, I’d wait until you’re going to serve. Also, don’t slice the avocado until you’re ready to eat, otherwise, they’ll oxidize and turn brown.

  5. 5 stars
    I loved this recipe, I did replace the kale with baby spinach, as my family won’t eat kale,and just used normal thick sausages. But they all loved it.
    We had it 2 nights in a row they liked it that much. The dressing defenately makes the whole meal come together beautiflly. I highly recommend it. It’s Yummy! US Aussies love a quick healthy meal. Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe. X

    1. Thank you, Sue! I appreciate you letting me know and I’m happy your family enjoyed it!

  6. Pat Stoddard says:

    5 stars
    I made three of your recipes in two days, two were a hit. We are going on a strenuous hike with friends Tuesday so I made the Pumpkin Spice Granola Bars for our snack. Bud’s not a hiker but looking forward to it because we each will be allotted 2 bars….he loves them and I won’t give him another until hike day. Dinner tonight was the Spicy Sausage Kale Quinoa Salad. I made it exactly as written except for the sausage. I used hot German sausages because that’s what I had in the freezer. There is enough left over for lunch tomorrow, yeah!

  7. Can’t wait to try the chili lime dressing and the salad. It looks filling and that’s how I like my lunch. 🙂

  8. 5 stars
    Wow! The kale and couscous really make a nice salad combination. Love that it’s warm with that beautiful dressing.

  9. 5 stars
    You are very emphatic in your salad making! I like it. 🙂 I completely agree that bottled dressings and pallid ingredients are not the way to salad happiness. Your salad is well balanced with interesting ingredients and hits all the notes I would like in a dinner.

    1. Was it over-the-top Annemarie? I’ve recently run into a few people who emphatically don’t like “salad” — and when I ask how they usually make a salad — I thought — well, I wouldn’t like that either….

  10. 5 stars
    This salad sounds fantastic and I admit, I never used kale in salads because I’m scared it will not be good. I will have to try it and massage it as you suggested.

    1. The only thing you have to fear… is fear itself.