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This easy Black Bean Salad combines fresh, frozen, and canned ingredients for a budget-friendly 20-minute side dish or light lunch. The homemade salad dressing elevates the flavors of this vegetarian recipe to restaurant-worthy territory.

Black bean salad in three bowls.

If you hear “bean salads” and think “boring,” this easy Black Bean Salad recipe is about to change your tune.

This Tex Mex-style healthy side dish recipe is basically a mash-up of several of my favorite Chipotle copycats, just with a press of the “easy” button to make it doable in 20 minutes and nearly no cook time.

Toasting up the corn gets it golden brown and a hint smoky (think: summer’s best grilled corn vibes!), but the real star here is the homemade salad dressing. It tastes a lot like my Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette, just with far fewer ingredients.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step by step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Recipe FAQs
  6. Black Bean Salad Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for black bean salad.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Scallions: Also known as green onions, feel free to use both the white and the green portion of these long, slim, mildly-oniony stalks.
  • Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce: Look for this sold in cans in the Mexican food or international section of your supermarket, or order canned chipotles in adobo online.
  • Frozen corn: Or fresh corn when it is in season.
  • Avocado: A ripe avocado yields slightly when you give it a firm, gentle squeeze. Look for avocados that have dark green, bumpy skin; two more signals that the avocado is ripe, according to Avocados from Mexico.
  • Tomatoes: Roma, cherry, grape, Campari, heirloom (if you’re lucky enough to have them); any variety of tomato will do. Remove the core and seeds for the larger varieties. One medium tomato, diced, is equal to about ¾ cup.

Step by step instructions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together scallions, lime juice, olive oil, chipotles, honey, and salt and pepper to taste (I like ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper).
Dressing for black bean salad in a clear bowl.
  1. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil until shimmering. Add corn and cook until brown spots form, about 5 minutes.
Roasted corn in a black frying pan.
  1. In a large bowl, add corn, black beans, avocado, tomatoes, and cilantro.
Ingredients for black bean salad in a clear bowl before being mixed.
  1. Drizzle with dressing and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Black bean salad in a bowl.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This Black Bean Salad makes four 1-cup servings, enough for a hearty side dish. To make this a light lunch, pair 2 cups with purchased or Homemade Tortilla Chips and a piece of fruit.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Make ahead: Technically the corn can be toasted a day or two in advance, but part of the magic of the salad is the warm, just-toasted corn.
Black bean salad in three bowls.

Recipe FAQs

How do I cut an avocado?

Very carefully, please. Avocado-related injuries are becoming increasingly common, as we all consume more of this heart-healthy fruit.

Using a paring knife, Slice the avocado open from root to stem, and use a spoon to gently dislodge and remove the pit. With the tip of the knife, slice into the avocado flesh close to the skin, being careful not to cut through the skin if possible. Trace around the curves of the inside of the avocado. Gently position a spoon between the skin and flesh and separate the flesh from the skin. Now that you have two skinless avocado halves, use the knife to cut slices, then dice into ½ inch cubes for this Black Bean Salad.

Could I try this Black Bean Salad with other types of beans?

Black beans are a natural fit to pair with the other Tex Mex elements, but you could absolutely trade in a can of chickpeas, white beans, kidney beans, or black eyed peas if desired.

Can I use dried beans in this bean salad recipe?

Absolutely. Dried beans are budget-friendly and lower in sodium than their canned counterparts. Plan to cook ½ to ¾ cup of dried beans for every 15-ounce can of beans this (or any) recipe calls for.

How can I make this Black Bean Salad spicy?

I like your style. To crank up the heat, fold in 1 or 2 diced jalapeño peppers. Remove the seeds for less heat. At gatherings in Mexico, some families prepare separate bowls of spicy chiles (like serrano and habañero chiles) so the adults can add them to taste and the kids can easily steer clear. Feel free to serve this easy bean salad with spice on the side.

Can I make Black Bean Salad without cilantro?

Research proves that our genes play a role in whether we enjoy or abhor cilantro. If you fall into the anti-cilantro camp, simply omit the fresh herb from this recipe or swap in parsley or oregano, if you like.

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More black bean recipes

Black bean salad in a white bowl.

Black Bean Salad

This easy Black Bean Salad combines fresh, frozen, and canned ingredients for a budget-friendly 20-minute side dish or light lunch. The homemade salad dressing elevates the flavors of this vegetarian recipe to restaurant-worthy territory.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Servings 4 cups (1 cup each)
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 284

Ingredients 

For the dressing:

  • 2 scallions thinly sliced (see note 1)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle chiles in adobo sauce minced (more or less to taste, see note 2)
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn thawed (see note 3)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 avocado pitted, peeled, and chopped (see note 4)
  • 1 medium tomato cored, seeded, and diced (see note 5)
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

Instructions 

  • In a small bowl, whisk together scallions, lime juice, olive oil, chipotles, honey, and salt and pepper to taste (I like ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper).
  • In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil until shimmering. Add corn and cook until brown spots form, about 5 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, add corn, black beans, avocado, tomatoes, and cilantro. Drizzle with dressing and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Scallions: Also known as green onions, feel free to use both the white and the green portion of these long, slim, mildly-oniony stalks.
  2. Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce: Look for this sold in cans in the Mexican food or international section of your supermarket, or order canned chipotles in adobo online. They are extremely spicy so handle with care.
  3. Frozen corn: Or fresh corn when it is in season.
  4. Avocado: A ripe avocado yields slightly when you give it a firm, gentle squeeze. Look for avocados that have dark green, bumpy skin; two more signals that the avocado is ripe, according to Avocados from Mexico.
  5. Tomatoes: Roma, cherry, grape, Campari, heirloom (if you’re lucky enough to have them); any variety of tomato will do. Remove the core and seeds for the larger varieties. One medium tomato, diced, is equal to about ¾ cup.
  6. Yield: This Black Bean Salad makes four 1-cup servings, enough for a hearty side dish. To make this a light lunch, pair 2 cups with purchased or Homemade Tortilla Chips and a piece of fruit.
  7. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  8. Make ahead: Technically the corn can be toasted a day or two in advance, but part of the magic of the salad is the warm, just-toasted corn.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 284kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 9gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gSodium: 448mgPotassium: 766mgFiber: 12gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 539IUVitamin C: 19mgCalcium: 54mgIron: 3mg
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Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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