Black bean corn avocado salad is a summery side dish that’s great for cookouts.
It’s made with pantry staples and in-season ingredients. (And when corn isn’t in season, canned or frozen works too!)
Tossed with a garlicky lime dressing, it has lots of bright flavors and crisp textures.
Serve it as a side dish with a grilled veggie burger, fajitas, or tacos. Or use it like a black bean salsa with tortilla chips. Vegan and gluten free.
Would you look at all of that bright, beautiful color?
When produce is in season, you’ve got to just step out of its way, and let it work its magic.
This salad recipe is a terrific example of that.
All of the flavors in this black bean corn avocado salad are beautifully in balance.
- The beans and corn have satiating protein.
- Corn and red bell pepper adds sweetness.
- Cilantro and lime juice adds brightness.
- Garlic adds fragrant bite.
- Avocado gives it that creamy, fatty quality that makes you want to dig in bite after bite.
It’s the perfect salad or side dish for vegan potlucks, cookouts, and picnics in the yard.
Here are the ingredients you will need to make this recipe.
Black beans: One (15-ounce) can of black beans is convenient. Just drain & rinse. Or if you prefer to use homemade, use 1 ½ cups of cooked black beans.
Corn: When corn on the cob is in season, the fresh stuff works beautifully here. Simply cut the corn kernels off the cob into a mixing bowl.
Depending on the size of the corn, you’ll need one or two ears.
If corn isn’t in season or you’d just prefer to simplify, you can use either frozen or canned corn.
If you’re using frozen corn, be sure to thaw it first. If you’re using canned corn, remember to drain it before using.
Bell pepper: Red, orange, or yellow peppers have the sweetest flavor. Plus, the bright color is very inviting in the salad.
Avocado: It’s best if the avocado keeps its shape somewhat & holds up to the dressing. So use an avocado that isn’t overly ripe.
Cilantro: It adds herbaceousness and bright flavor. Choose cilantro that is bright green, not wilty, and without any black spots.
I recommend using kitchen shears on cilantro. They keep it from getting overly wet or smashed in the chopping process.
Garlic: I recommend using a Microplane Zester for the garlic in the dressing. It gets the garlic really small, almost like a paste.
That means the garlic is able to easily cover everything evenly. And it means you won’t be left with any surprising chunks of raw garlic.
If you don’t have a Microplane, just be sure to mince the garlic as small as you can.
Raw garlic can be replaced with ⅛ teaspoon of garlic powder.
Extra virgin olive oil: This is a flavor carrier for the dressing. And the fat balances the tartness of the lime juice.
Lime juice: Freshly squeezed lime juice has the best flavor.
Salt: A pinch of salt brings it all together.
Step by step instructions
Here’s how to make this recipe at a glance. For complete ingredient amounts & instructions, keep scrolling to the recipe card below.
Put the following into a large mixing bowl:
- Black beans
- Red, orange, or yellow bell pepper
In a small separate bowl, whisk together the following:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Lime juice
- A generous pinch of salt
Pour the lime dressing over the black bean salad.
Gently combine with a spoon, until everything is evenly coated.
Add more salt, to taste. Garnish with additional cilantro and lime wedges.
Then guests can add an extra squeeze of lime to their salads, if they like.
Make it your own
Make this salad your own by adjusting the ingredients.
- Add a Tablespoon or two of red onion or green onions for more bite
- Add a Tablespoon of diced fresh or jarred jalapeño peppers for heat
- Add a half cup of halved cherry tomatoes for sweetness
- Add ¼ to ½ teaspoon cumin to lean into the Southwestern flair
If you add a lot of extra ingredients, add an additional squeeze lime, extra drizzle of EVOO, and another pinch of salt to compensate.
This flavorful dish can be eaten as a salad at a potluck or picnic along with a veggie burger or vegetable sandwich.
Or you can serve it with tortilla chips, and use it as an appetizer like salsa!
Here are other dishes that would work well with it:
Can this be made ahead of time?
Because this salad contains avocado, it’s best made just before serving. The avocado is going to be at its greenest and firmest then.
However, the salad does contain lime juice, which helps against browning and oxidizing.
So if necessary, the salad can be made 3 to 4 hours ahead of time.
If you want to make the dish a couple days ahead of time, I recommend chopping everything, except for the avocado and cilantro. (Chopped cilantro browns over time.)
Store all of the other elements in their own separate containers.
Then when you’re ready to eat, add chopped cilantro, diced avocado, and the other ingredients to a mixing bowl. Toss with the lime dressing.
Black bean corn avocado salad
- 1 can (15 ounce) black beans drained and rinsed (1 ½ cups)
- 1 cup corn
- ½ cup bell pepper red or orange, chopped small
- 1 avocado diced
- 2 Tablespoons cilantro chopped plus extra for garnish
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons lime juice plus extra lime wedges for garnish
- 1 clove garlic minced
- Generous pinch of salt
- Put black beans, corn, bell pepper, avocado, and cilantro in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
- In a small separate bowl, whisk together extra virgin olive oil, lime juice, garlic, and a generous pinch of salt.
- Pour the lime dressing over the black bean mixture. Gently combine with a spoon. Taste for salt and add more, if necessary.
- Garnish with more cilantro and lime wedges, so that guests can add more lime juice to their serving, if they like.
Content, recipe, and photos updated August 2020. Originally posted October 2012.