This easy & fresh black bean salad recipe is loaded with veggies and Southwest-inspired flavors. It takes just a few minutes to prepare using nutritious staple ingredients.
Sometimes Sunday night rolls around and I have zero energy to meal prep for the week. I stare into my kitchen cabinets and weigh the pros and cons.
Do I...A: go out for lunch tomorrow, hope that work is having some sort of pot luck (this happens more often than you'd expect), or throw together a sad lunch tomorrow morning before work?
Or do I B: stifle a yawn, pull open my kitchen cabinets, and pull out a few staple ingredients to make this trusty black bean salad?
For the sake of this post, the answer is option B: I make the black bean salad because it can be mixed together in under 15 minutes.
This recipe uses budget-friendly staple ingredients that you probably already have in your fridge, freezer or pantry.
Black beans are the backbone of this salad; you can use canned or dry beans. Even though it's called a black bean salad, this recipe also works with chickpeas, black-eyed peas, or any other bean you have on hand.
Red bell pepper and corn adds the perfect amount of crispness. We'll add in fresh red onion for additional crunch and flavor.
Cherry tomatoes provide antioxidants like lycopene, and they're just downright delicious!
Avocado provides healthy fats and helps make this black bean salad more filling.
Every great salad needs an equally great dressing. A southwest inspired vinaigrette + lime and cilantro bring out the best flavors in these fresh ingredients.
Tips and customization
- Use fresh, frozen or canned corn in your salad. I like to use frozen corn because it is the most budget-friendly option.
- Red onions often have a strong "bite" to them because they contain sulfur compounds. You can remove this bite by soaking diced onions in a bowl of cold water for at least ten minutes. The cold water pulls out most of the astringent taste, leaving you with the same old red onion flavor, without the bite.
- Get creative - customize the recipe with whatever veggies you have on hand.
One of the reasons you'll love this recipe is because it is so versatile. It tastes great on its own -- hot or cold! -- but it can be enjoyed in more than one way.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to enjoy black bean salad:
- Add a dollop of Greek yogurt and shredded cheese, wrap in a tortilla and enjoy as a taco or burrito
- To stretch the recipe further, add ½ cup cooked quinoa, brown rice or another favorite grain to a single serving
- Add to mixed greens for a filling salad, or make lettuce wraps by adding one serving to a large leaf of romaine lettuce
- Make loaded vegetarian nachos by tossing with tortilla chips and shredded cheese
Looking for more meal prep recipes?
- Quinoa Taco Salad
- Tofu and Veggie Spring Roll Bowls
- Vegetarian Black Bean Enchiladas
- Instant Pot Black Beans and Rice
How did you like this recipe? Let me know in the comments below!
Fresh Black Bean Salad
- 2 cans (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 carton (8 oz) cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup sweet yellow corn
- ¼ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
- 1 medium yellow bell pepper, diced
- ½ medium red onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lime juice (juice from one large lime)
- 1 teaspoon agave syrup or honey
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 medium avocados, cubed
- In a large bowl, combine black beans, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, corn and cilantro.
- To prepare the vinaigrette, mix together vinegar, lime juice, agave syrup, cumin, chili powder, hot sauce, and salt in a small bowl. Stir the vinaigrette into the salad.
- Right before serving, add the chopped avocado. Top with additional cilantro and lime juice if desired. Serve cold.