Black Bean and Corn Salad is an amazing summer salad with lots of flavor! You get a burst of flavor from the mix of black beans, sweet corn, bell peppers, red onion, jalapeño peppers, avocado, and tomatoes. All perfectly dressed with oil, lime juice, cilantro, agave nectar, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and salt.
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Delight and impress everyone at the kitchen table or potluck with this black bean and corn salad! This dish has a great amount of natural sweetness from the corn, a little kick of heat with the jalapeños, and just enough tangy flavor from the fresh lime juice to make your mouth water. The best part is, there are a few more ingredients that also contribute to this delicious side dish!
Whether it’s Cinco de Mayo, a summertime celebration, or just a night at home with the family, you’re going to love this extremely flavorful black bean and corn salad! It’s really got something in there for everybody.
Another good thing about making this salad is how versatile it is to your specific tastes, too! You can omit or add ingredients as you like, and it will still hold up. For example, if you want it to be spicier, add more jalapeños and a tablespoon of cayenne powder.
Corn – The absolute best corn to use for this salad is corn on the cob! It’s got the most flavor and best texture.
Black Beans – use canned black beans but make sure to give them a quick rinse with cold water and strain well.
Red Bell Pepper – Red bell peppers not only provide a vibrant color to the mix of ingredients, but they give a great touch of sweetness that compliments the corn perfectly. Feel free to use different color peppers if you’d like.
Jalapeño Peppers – Use fresh jalapeños and you can adjust the spice level just by choose older or younger jalapenos. Young jalapenos are less spicy and they have smooth, deep green skin. Older jalapenos get spicier as they age and they will have brown veins running along the skin. The more veins, the spicier the jalapeno. You can also discard jalapeno seeds if you want less spice of leave them in for more spice.
Avocado – Double check that the avocado is ripe by giving it a gentle squeeze. It should be soft enough to give a little bit, but firm enough to not feel mushy.
Olive Oil – choose a mild, neutral oil like olive oil or avocado oil.
Lime Juice – Use fresh lime juice, not the bottled juice from concentrate. The difference in fresh flavor is very noticeable.
Cilantro – cilantro enhances the flavor of the overall salad in so many ways! You can omit it if you have to.
Agave Nectar – This natural ingredient provides a very pleasant note of sweetness to the salad and gives a nice balance between tangy and spicy.
Seasoning – salt, ground cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder is what you’ll need.
See recipe card for complete information on ingredients and quantities.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. While it’s heating up, husk the corn and remove all of the silk threads from it.
Once the water reaches a boil, lower the heat and add the corn. Cover the pot and cook the corn until it’s tender, about 10 minutes.
Take the corn out and allow it to cool until it’s not too hot to handle.
Slice the corn off of the cob once it’s cooled enough. Stand the corn up in a rimmed baking sheet to contain the kernels. Using a sharp knife, slice the kernels off from top to bottom, following the natural curve of the corn (image above).
Prepare all of the other ingredients accordingly, and toss everything into a mixing bowl (1).
Add the lime juice, oil, cilantro, agave nectar, and seasonings to the bowl. Mix everything together thoroughly (2).
Serve this black bean and corn salad chilled or at room temperature. Enjoy!
Yes, you can make it ahead, but remember a couple of things first. Don’t add the avocado until ready to serve the salad! Also, I don’t recommend that you make it more than a day before, because the vegetables will start to wilt and release too many juices.
With that in mind, black beans and corn salad can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for approximately 2-3 days (without avocado and tomato).
Prepare your grill to have 2 temperature zones and make sure the grate is clean. Snip the silk whiskers sticking out of the top of the corn husk, but leave the rest of the corn in a husk.
Lay them on the grill and cook for 13-15 minutes, turning it every 3-4 minutes. Then, take corn off of the grill and carefully, using tongs or heat-proof gloves, take off the husk and the silk. Brush corn with a little oil and place back on the grill. Close the grill and cook for a few minutes, turning a quarter of the way every couple of minutes.
Leftover black bean and corn salad will only last 1-2 days. Since this salad contains avocado and tomatoes, those ingredients are the reason for a shorter shelf life. Make sure to store leftover corn salad in an air-tight food storage container, in the refrigerator. Eat within a day or two.
Tools For This Recipe
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Black Bean Corn Salad Recipe
- 4 corn on the cob
- 15 oz can black beans rinsed and strained well
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1/2 small red onion
- 2 jalapeno peppers
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1 medium tomato on a vine
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1/4 cup minced cilantro
- 1 1/2 tbsp agave nectar
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2-1 tsp chili powder more or less to personal preference
- 1/2-1 tsp coarse sea salt
To Cook Corn:
- Heat up a large pot of water over medium-high heat and season it generously with salt. Make sure to take off the husk and all the silk threads from the ears of corn before cooking.
- Once water starts to boil, lower the heat to medium-low and add corn. Cover the pot and let corn cook for about 10 minutes, until tender.
- Take all the corn out onto a cutting board and let it cool enough to be handled.
To Make Corn Salad:
- To cut corn kernels off the cob, stand corn up in a large mixing bowl or in a rimmed baking dish cut side down. Slice the kernels off with a sharp knife from top to bottom, close to the part where kernels attach to the cob. Turn the ear of corn and repeat slicing the kernels off all the way around.
- Dice bell pepper, red onion, tomatoes, and avocado and add to the bowl. Put on gloves and dice jalapeno. (Gloves help protect your hands from spicy jalapeno juices. Discard gloves as soon as you finish dicing the peppers and add them to the bowl.)
- Add lime juice, oil, cilantro, agave nectar, and seasonings to the bowl. Mix everything very well and serve.
- You can serve this chilled or at room temperature. It you prefer the salad chilled, cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
- Jalapeño Peppers – Use fresh jalapeños and you can adjust the spice level just by choose older or younger jalapenos. Young jalapenos are less spicy and they have smooth, deep green skin. Older jalapenos get spicier as they age and they will have brown veins running along the skin. The more veins, the spicier the jalapeno. You can also discard jalapeno seeds if you want less spice of leave them in for more spice.
- Storing – Leftover black bean and corn salad will only last 1-2 days. Since this salad contains avocado and tomatoes, those ingredients are the reason for a shorter shelf life. Make sure to store leftover corn salad in an air-tight food storage container, in the refrigerator. Eat within a day or two.