What is it about a black bean salad that practically shouts, “summer potluck”? The mercury has been edging past a hundred degrees lately here and I’ve been getting nostalgic for some of the picnic foods I remember having often as a kid.
The basic structure of a black bean salad is black beans (canned or freshly made) with corn kernels (canned, frozen, or fresh). Parsley, basil or cilantro can add a bitter to the flavors. Tomatoes, lemon juice and or lime juice some acid. Jalapeno or cumin will give it a kick, and avocado and olive oil will smooth it down.
I find adding a little bit of sugar almost always helps balance the acid from the citrus and tomatoes, and makes for a better tasting salad.
Obviously, this salad will be extra good if you have freshly cooked corn and beans on hand. But if you don’t, just use the canned beans and frozen corn (we used white corn here).
Black Bean Salad Recipe
We've sample many brands of canned black beans (see our Black Bean Burrito Bowl for details). Our favorites for flavor are S&W Premium Black Beans, Bush's Best Black Beans, and Goya.
This black bean salad uses cilantro. For those of you who don't like cilantro, feel free to substitute with fresh basil.
- 1 (15 ounce) can of black beans, rinsed and drained (or 1 1/2 cups of freshly cooked black beans)
- 1 1/2 cups frozen corn, defrosted (or fresh corn, parboiled, drained and cooled, or grilled and cooled)
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions (including onion greens) or shallots
- 2 fresh jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced, or 1 whole pickled jalapeño pepper, minced (not seeded)
- 3 fresh plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 Tbsp lime juice (about the amount of juice from one lime)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of sugar (to taste)
- Salt and pepper to taste
1 In a large bowl, gently combine the black beans, corn, chopped green onions, minced jalapeños, chopped tomatoes, lime juice, and olive oil. Gently fold in the chopped avocados.
2 Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with sugar to taste, enough to balance the acidity from the tomatoes and lime juice. Chill.
3 Right before serving, add the chopped fresh cilantro.