This black bean salad is a combination of peppers, corn, avocado and a zesty Southwest-inspired vinaigrette. It's ready in 15 minutes and is perfect for lunch or as an appetizer!
- Diet-friendly: vegetarian, vegan-optional, nut-free, soy-free, gluten-free
- Quick & easy: Ready in 15 minutes using inexpensive ingredients
- Versatile: Great for lunch or served as a salsa
- Easy to customize: use fresh, frozen or canned ingredients depending on the season
- 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 add flavor and crunch. I use frozen sweet corn but fresh or canned work too.
- Red onion can be substituted with yellow, white or green onion. It can be omitted if you don't like raw onions.
- Grape tomatoes make this salad feel a lot like a salsa. I halve them but you can also leave them whole. Diced Roma tomatoes, beef steak tomatoes or cherry tomatoes also work well.
- Avocado provides healthy fats and helps make this black bean salad more filling.
- Southwest-inspired vinaigrette: This bright and zesty combination of apple cider vinegar, honey and lime ties everything together. To make this salad vegan, try agave syrup in place of honey.
Step by step instructions
This salad is as easy as:
- Dice and prepare the veggies
- Make the vinaigrette
- Toss the veggies and vinaigrette together
Cover and transfer to the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes before serving. You can skip this step if you are short on time.
Recipe FAQ and expert tips
- Dice size: I recommend chopping the pepper into ½" pieces so that they aren't too big but still provide texture to the salad.
- How to make red onion flavor less strong: 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.
- Fresh, frozen or canned: I like to use thawed frozen corn because it is the most budget-friendly option, but fresh or canned work as well. Frozen thawed bell pepper also works. Canned black beans or beans cooked from dry can be used. Choose "no salt added" cans for the healthiest option.
Yes! You make the salad a day in advance. Assemble according to the recipe then and refrigerate until ready to serve. I recommend adding avocado just before serving so that it doesn't brown.
Enjoy within 2-3 days for best quality. You can eat it for up to 4 days but the quality will diminish because the vinaigrette will soften the veggies.
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:
- Tacos/burritos: Add a dollop of Greek yogurt and shredded cheese, wrap in a tortilla and enjoy as a taco or burrito
- Grains: To stretch the recipe further, add 2 cups cooked quinoa, brown rice or another favorite grain
- Greens: Add to mixed greens for a filling salad, or make lettuce wraps by adding one serving to a large leaf of romaine lettuce
- Nachos: Make loaded vegetarian nachos or sweet potato nachos by tossing with tortilla chips and shredded cheese
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Black Bean and Corn Salad
- 2 15 ounce cans black beans drained and rinsed
- 8 ounce carton grape tomatoes sliced in half
- 1 medium red bell pepper diced
- 1 medium yellow bell pepper diced
- ½ medium red onion diced, see note #1
- 1 small jalapeno minced (optional)
- ½ cup frozen sweet yellow corn thawed, see note #2
- ¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro more for serving
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lime juice (juice from one large lime)
- 1 tablespoon agave syrup or honey
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 medium avocados, cubed
- In a large bowl, combine black beans, grape tomatoes, bell peppers, red onion, jalapeno, thawed corn and cilantro.
- To prepare the vinaigrette, whisk together vinegar, lime juice, agave syrup, cumin, chili powder, 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.
- Red onion can be replaced with white, yellow or green onion. You can soak red onion in cold water for 10 minutes to make less astringent. Pat to dry before adding to the salad.
- Corn: Fresh, frozen or canned works.
- Can I make this in advance? Yes! You make the salad a day in advance. Assemble according to the recipe then and refrigerate until ready to serve. I recommend adding avocado just before serving so that it doesn't brown.
- Storage: Enjoy within 2-3 days for best quality. You can eat it for up to 4 days but the quality will diminish because the vinaigrette will soften the veggies.
Author note: This recipe was originally shared June 4th, 2018. It was updated on March 12th, 2021 with new photos, a video and new tips. The recipe remains the same.