Healthy Southwest Black Bean Salad

This  southwest black bean salad is full of all the Mexican flavors you love – black beans, cilantro, lime & avocado. It comes together quickly and easily using canned black beans and corn and is perfect for busy weeknights. Serve it as a light lunch, a dinner side, a tasty dip or an entire protein-rich meatless meal.

Black Bean Salad in white bowl garnished with limes and cilantro.

Black beans supply plenty of protein and fiber

Once a week my husband and I like to have a meatless meal for a nice change of pace (and it’s healthy too). Black beans are an excellent source of protein, with 1 cup supplying about 30% of your daily protein requirement, so they are one of our go-to options. Their nutrition value doesn’t end there either. Black beans contain high percentages of iron, folate as well as fiber, and provide health benefits to the colon and digestive tract. Studies show that you should be eating at least 3 cups of legumes a week for optimal health and this dish goes a long way in helping you reach those goals.

Southwest Salad in white bowl with cilantro.

Now I know you’re thinking, black beans, I can take them or leave them, but wait! What if I tell you it’s like Mexico in a bowl.  (I just can’t get enough of Mexican dishes) This oh so yummy salad has all the flavors you love – cilantro, lime juice, cayenne to add a zip, and avocado to add in some healthy fats. Not to mention peppers and corn. I’m telling you, you’ve got to try this amazing salad, maybe even tonight! It is just over the top delicious!

Tips for making Southwest salad

  • Be sure to rinse and drain the black beans before adding to other ingredients. Rinsing them gets rid of the extra starch surrounding them as well as the sodium.
  • You can add any color of bell pepper. I like to add red and yellow to boost the color and flavor.
  • Smoky flavors rule in the summer so, if you are grilling the night before, throw on an extra ear of corn. In the morning cut off the kernels and add to the salad in place of canned corn.
  • Want to add more flavor? Add halved cherry tomatoes or a large diced tomatoes. This will make the salad even more robust and closer to your favorite salsa.
  • Change out the yellow onion to a red onion for a stronger onion flavor and a nice pop of reddish-purple color. After all, we eat with our eyes too!
  • Always use fresh limes, zest and cilantro for the richest freshest flavor.
  • Add avocado just prior to serving to prevent browning and softening.

More ways to eat this healthy salad

  • Pile on your cheese nachos and there’s no need for salsa!
  • Add it to burritos such as my Smothered Chicken Burritos, Breakfast Tacos or top Chicken Burgers for a Mexican twist.
  • Serve it as a side to quesadillas or mix it up in a taco salad.
  • Watching your carbs? Serve it on lettuce wraps.
  • Make it a tasty meatless salad served over fresh greens with cheese and crushed tortilla chips.
  • And finally, it even makes a great salsa!

Black Bean Salad plated with quesadillas.

This Southwest Black Bean Salad will take you all the way through summer. Great for Cinco de Mayo, Taco Tuesday, barbecues on the back deck or enjoy for a light lunch. 

More Delicious Salad Choices

Spinach Strawberry Salad with Goat Cheese from 2CM

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad from 2CM

Winter Kale & Wild Rice Salad from Moore or Less Cooking

Roasted Corn Salad from 2CM

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Southwest Black Bean Salad with Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette
Prep Time
20 mins
Total Time
20 mins
Our black bean salad is full of all the Mexican flavors you love, cilantro, lime & avocado, & it's easy to make too. Serve as a meatless meal or side dish.
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keywords: black bean salad with avocado, healthy black bean salad, swouthwest black bean salad
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 287 kcal
Author: Linda Warren
  • 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 15.25 oz can sweet organic corn, drained (of which you use about 3/4 can)
  • 1 orange, yellow or red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons light olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 lime, juiced (about 3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped + additional for garnish
  • 1 Haas avocado, chopped
  1. Mix all of the above ingredients together, except avocado, and place in refrigerator for flavors to mix for about 6 hours.
  2. To serve: Prepare avocado and gently mix into salad. Let sit for an hour at room temperature, garnish with additional cilantro, and serve.
Recipe Notes

Total time does not include marinating time. By rinsing or soaking the beans you can reduce the flatulence-related substances by as much as 33%. Adapted from Once Upon A Chef

Nutrition Facts
Southwest Black Bean Salad with Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette
Amount Per Serving
Calories 287 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Cholesterol 1mg0%
Sodium 665mg28%
Potassium 586mg17%
Carbohydrates 34g11%
Fiber 9g36%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 904IU18%
Vitamin C 35mg42%
Calcium 34mg3%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Healthy Southwest Black Bean Salad

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