This southwest black bean salad contains 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 this black bean avocado salad as a light lunch, a dinner side, a tasty dip, or an entire protein-rich meatless meal.
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Healthy Black Bean Recipes
I love quick, easy, and nutritious salads and this delicious black bean salad recipe checks all the boxes. And black beans are definitely the star ingredient providing a hearty, protein and fiber-packed meal.
Black beans are incredibly versatile and can be an entire entree, a side dish, a salad topping, or an appetizer dip. Some of my favorites include 15 Bean Soup with Ham, Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Mexican Pork Stew, and Black Bean Hummus.
Benefits of Black Beans
Black beans are a great source of protein, fiber, essential vitamins, and minerals.
They make a healthy delicious meatless meal as they are an excellent source of protein, with 1 cup supplying about 30% of your daily protein requirement.
Black beans' nutritional value doesn't end there. They also contain high percentages of iron and folate, 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.
Why You'll Love This Southwest Black Bean and Corn Salad
It's like Mexico in a bowl! Serve with your favorite chips as a lunch, light dinner or dip.
This black bean salad with corn and peppers has all the flavors you love - cilantro, lime juice, cayenne to add a zip, and avocado to add in some healthy fats.
This Southwestern Black Bean Salad will take you all the way through summer. It's great for Cinco de Mayo, Taco Tuesday, barbecues on the back deck, or a light lunch.
- Canned black beans
- Canned corn kernels (or frozen)
- Bell pepper
- Garlic cloves
- Yellow onion
- Cayenne pepper
- Olive oil
- Lime zest and juice
- Fresh cilantro
How to Make Black Bean Salad
- Place rinsed black beans, drained corn, bell pepper, onion, garlic, cilantro, and lime zest in a large bowl.
- Sprinkle on sugar.
- Add salt and cayenne pepper.
- Pour on olive oil and lime juice.
- Stir well. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours for flavors to blend.
- Just before serving, add chopped avocado and toss carefully.
Tips for Making Southwest Bean Salad
- Be sure to rinse and drain the black beans before adding them to other ingredients. Rinsing them gets rid of the extra starch surrounding them as well as the sodium.
- Chop the bell pepper and onion into small pieces (dice) so they are about the same size as the black beans and corn.
- You can use any color of bell pepper. Red, orange, or yellow will 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 them to the salad in place of canned corn.
- 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 and freshest flavor.
- Add the avocado just prior to serving to prevent browning and softening.
- Add More Vegetables - Chopped cucumber and tomato are great choices. Tomatoes will make it like salsa.
- Add Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans) - A corn black bean chickpea salad is a heartier vegetarian dish.
- Add Fruit - Stir in some chopped mango or pineapple. A mango black bean salad is quite popular.
- Add Pasta - Prepare any short pasta or orzo according to the package instructions. Stir it into the black bean mixture and serve it as a black bean pasta salad.
- Add Quinoa - Prepare quinoa according to the package instructions. Stir it into the black bean mixture and serve it as a black bean quinoa salad.
- Add Rice - Prepare white or brown rice and stir it into the black bean mixture.
- Spicy Black Bean Salad - Increase the amount of cayenne pepper or add diced jalapeno peppers.
More Ways to Eat This Healthy Salad
- Pile it on top of your cheese nachos and there's no need for salsa!
- Add it to tacos, burritos, or burgers such as my Smothered Chicken Burritos, Breakfast Tacos, or Chicken Burgers for a Mexican twist.
- Serve it as a side to quesadillas or mix it up in a taco salad.
- Use it to make vegetarian lettuce wraps.
- Over salad greens to make a delicious Southwestern black bean salad. Top it with chicken, crumbled feta, and tortilla strips to make a delightful black bean chicken salad. Or leave off the chicken for a meatless salad.
- And finally, serve it with tortilla chips for a tasty salsa!
How to Store Black Bean Corn Salad
Keep the prepared black bean and corn salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will last up to 4 days. Note the avocado may turn brown so you might want to remove the avocado from the leftovers.
If you want to freeze black bean salad leftovers, remove the avocado pieces then place the leftovers in a freezer-safe container or plastic freezer bag. Freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the fridge overnight.
Southwest Black Bean Salad with Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette
- 15 ounces canned black beans rinsed and drained
- 15.25 ounces canned sweet corn kernels drained (of which you use about ¾ can)
- 1 bell pepper (orange, yellow or red) chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Tablespoon onion chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 dash cayenne pepper
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 4 Tablespoons light olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 1 lime juiced (about 3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice)
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped + additional for garnish
- 1 avocado chopped
- Mix all of the above ingredients together, except avocado, and place in refrigerator for flavors to mix for about 6 hours.
- To serve: Prepare avocado and gently mix into salad. If time, let the salad sit for 30-60 at room temperature, garnish with additional cilantro, and serve.
This post has been updated with more information, new photos, and step-by-step directions. It was first published on August 26, 2013.