The inspiration for this black bean salad recipe goes way back, all the way back to my very first recipe post over seven years ago. I was just learning to cook for myself after college, and I started making that black bean salsa on repeat.
At that point, Cookie and Kate was just a creative project. Well, Cookie (my dog) and I very much existed, but the blog was just to keep me from losing my mind at a boring office job.
I finally shared that recipe, and realized that I could wrap stories and photos around a healthy, approachable recipe. Seven years later, I work on this blog full-time and have a cookbook under my belt. I’m not bored at work any more! I love what I do. Thank you for letting me do it.
This Mexican-ish/Southwestern black bean salad recipe is based on my old salsa recipe, but it’s way better.
How to Make the Best Black Bean Salad
The base of this recipe is black beans, of course. I used canned beans, so this recipe comes together quickly and easily. Here’s what I changed to make this recipe so tasty:
- I switched to a combination of cherry tomato and bell pepper for a more interesting texture, color and flavor.
- I added lime zest for extra lime flavor without drowning the salad in liquid.
- And, I actually offered amounts of vinegar and salt, since I know better now. Lime juice and white wine vinegar give it such a nice zing.
- I served individual portions with fresh avocado on top, rather than mixing the avocado into the salad, since it will deteriorate before the rest does.
How to Serve Black Bean Salad
Like all of my other bean salads, this recipe is great to keep in the fridge on busy weeks. This salad is perfect for parties, too. It’s a healthy side dish on its own. You can also serve it as black bean salsa with tortilla chips.
Here are some ways to keep your leftovers interesting:
- Serve it on fresh greens, perhaps with an extra spritz of lime juice for dressing. Feta, avocado and/or crumbled tortilla chips would be great on top.
- Pile it onto cheese nachos to make them more redeeming.
- Use it as a filling for burritos or quesadillas (just leave as much of the liquid behind in the bowl as possible).
- Make Southwestern lettuce wraps—serve spoonfuls of it on butter lettuce, topped with avocado and/or feta. Come to think of it, I’m describing something similar to the Zesty Black Bean and Corn Salad in Lettuce Cups recipe in my book (page 123).
Please let me know how you like this recipe in the comments! I’m always so eager to hear from you and hope you love this bean salad.
Fresh Black Bean Salad
- Prep Time: 20 minutes (plus chill time)
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 4 to 8 servings
- Category: Salad
- Method: By hand
- Cuisine: Southwestern
This Southwestern black bean salad recipe is healthy and delicious! This fresh black bean salad is perfect for potlucks, parties and busy weeks. Recipe yields 4 large or up to 8 side servings.
- 3 cans of black beans (15 ounces each) or 4 ½ cups cooked black beans, rinsed and well-drained
- 2 ears of corn, shucked, or 1 cup of canned corn (drained) or defrosted frozen corn
- 1 orange, yellow or red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup chopped red onion (from 1 small onion)
- ½ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro (about ½ medium bunch)
- 1 medium jalapeño, finely chopped (keep the seeds for heat if you’d like, or remove them for mild flavor) or 2 tablespoons finely chopped pickled jalapeño
- ½ teaspoon lime zest (from 1 lime, preferably organic)
- 2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 lime), to taste
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt, to taste
- Optional garnishes: sliced avocado, crumbled feta, lime wedges
- In a large serving bowl, combine all of the ingredients and toss to combine. Taste, and adjust as necessary until the flavors really pop—I usually add another teaspoon or two of vinegar (you can use lime juice instead, for more mild flavor) and another ¼ teaspoon salt.
- Cover and chill to enhance the flavors—preferably for at least 2 hours, or overnight. Serve in individual bowls as is, or with any of the garnishes listed. Leftovers keep well for up to 4 days or so; you might want to wake up the flavors with an extra squeeze of lime juice or tiny splash of vinegar.