This Simple Black Bean and Corn Salad is full of fresh veggies, like red onion, avocado and tomatoes with a tangy cilantro lime dressing. It’s an easy side dish that is perfect for pairing with your favorite grilled meats or fish, or for potlucks and cookouts.
This crowd pleasing salad is colorful and vibrant and full of fresh flavors and textures. Fiber and protein packed black beans, chunks of creamy avocado, crisp corn and juicy tomatoes are combined and tossed with a homemade cilantro and lime dressing. Whether you serve it with grilled chicken, tacos or tostadas, or as a dip, it will disappear fast!
This corn and black bean salad is really versatile. It can be served as a simple veggie side dish, or as a topping for grilled steak or fish! It even doubles as a dip with tortilla chips and is delicious on crostini.
Corn and Black Bean Salsa can be made up to a day ahead of time and requires easy to find fresh veggies and herbs plus a few pantry ingredients. I always keep the leftovers to make an epic taco salad for lunch the next day!
How to make Black Bean and Corn Salad
This hearty, healthy salad and most of the ingredients are fresh. You want all of the ingredients to be chopped into bite sized pieces, unlike salsa, which is finely diced.
Black beans – While you could make black beans from scratch if you have the time, it’s pretty easy to open a couple of cans and rinse the beans. Make sure to drain them really well so you’re not adding any liquid to the corn and black bean salad.
Corn – You can use any kind of corn you like. I usually used canned and just drain it really well because I always have that on hand. Frozen corn is good too, and of course if fresh corn is in season I always recommend that.
Tomatoes – I recommend using ripe beefsteak tomatoes or Romas. Remove the seeds and juicy pulp (or leave it if you like) and dice using a serrated knife for easier cuts. Grape or cherry tomatoes will also work but are sweeter.
Avocado – Grocery stores rarely seem to have perfectly ripe avocados, so you may need to pick these up a couple days before you plan to make your black bean salad. You want Haas avocados that are nice and ripe, but not over ripe. In the store, give the avocados a little gentle squeeze in the palm of your hand (using your finger can bruise the flesh). You want the avocado to have some give to it, but still be slightly firm and not at all mushy. If all that is available are hard avocados, take those and place them in a paper bag for several days to speed up the ripening process.
Onion – I use red for color but white or brown are fine here.
Cilantro – This is where is gets a little controversial. I don’t eat cilantro. I’m one of the 50% of people who think it tastes like soap. So throw in as much or as little as you like and use flat leaf parsley as a substitute if you’re like me.
Helpful Tips and FAQs
Can I freeze black bean and corn salad? I don’t recommend freezing this salad as the fresh ingredients would likely become soggy and inedible. You can store the salad in the fridge for up to 3 days for optimal freshness.
Can I make this recipe ahead of time? Absolutely! You can make it up to 24 hours in advance (any more any it will become really liquidy). I’d recommend making the dressing separately and tossing with the salad 30 minutes before serving. Also add the avocado last to avoid browning.
Recipe Variations: Corn and Black Bean Salad is such a versatile recipe. You can spice it up by adding a diced jalapeno or a little cayenne pepper, or sweeten it by adding a little honey or granulated sugar to the dressing. Feel free to add more fresh veggies or leave out any that you really don’t like. If you like garlic, add some chopped up really fine for another great layer of flavor.
The tex-mex flavors are bold and refreshing and really go with so many different things. I love making this salad when make grilled steaks or grilled shrimp because it’s incredibly easy and everyone loves it. It’s even great on hot dogs or turkey burgers!
Whisk together olive oil, lime zest and juice, cumin, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Set aside. If preparing ahead of time, store in an airtight container. Can sit out at room temperature up to 2 hours, otherwise store in the fridge and let come to room temp when ready to use.
In a large bowl, combine black beans, corn, cilantro, tomatoes and red onion. Cover tightly and store until ready to serve.
Just before serving, Pour dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Gently stir in diced avocado.
All of the ingredients amounts are approximate - feel free to use more or less or omit any of them you like.
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Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.