this Black Bean Corn Salad is so embarrassingly easy to make (no cooking!), summery fresh, and even good for us, it feels 100% like cheating. Let’s get away with it.
Why You’ll Love This Corn and Black Bean Salad Recipe
- Versatile.Have it for work lunch, spoon it over Shredded Chicken Tacosserve it as a side dish instead of veggies or rice, or scoop it up with tortilla chips—you have options!
- CustomizableCan’t stop yourself from tinkering with recipes? Oh, then this is the black bean salad for you! Add garlic, diced red onion, jalapeño for kick, red pepper for crunch, or yes, just eat it as-is.
- Perfect for Summer. Sweet summer corn! No cooking! This easy-peasy salad is made for summertime.
5 Star Review
“Just made this salad tonight as our main course! Absolutely delicious!”
— Ansley —
About This Black Bean Corn Salad
Made with corn, black beans, feta, tomatoes, literally any green herb, and a squeeze of lime (or balsamic vinegar or even apple cider vinegar), this is a no-cook/raid-your-garden-and-pantry scenario, and it totally works.
You can get fancy if you are feeling it—this Grilled Corn Salad with Avocado and Tomato can attest to the elevated smokiness that grilled corn adds to a salad—but it’s not mandatory by any means.
You can even use frozen corn right out of the bag. That will work too.
In addition to being a dynamite summer side, this healthy black bean and corn salad has main dish potential, especially on those hot, humid days when you don’t want to cook and you’re craving something light.
How to Make Black Bean Corn Salad
- Black Beans. Creamy and hearty, canned black beans make this salad more filling. Black beans are healthy too. They’re packed with fiber and potassium. (For extra credit, you can cook them from dried via Instant Pot Black Beans if you like.)
- cornA sweet match for the black beans! While corn can get a bad rap for being starchy, it does offer some wonderful health benefits. Fresh corn is a good source of fiber and contains noodles of vitamins. Plus: the sweetness!
- Tomatoes. Juicy bursts of sweet tomato flavor are scrumptious with the corn and black beans.
- fetaA creamy, salty, cheesy addition, it gives a nod to Mexican street corn. Cotija cheese works too!
- Herbs.I used a mix of mint and fresh cilantro. The mint is especially surprising and refreshing. Any blend of tender garden herbs will work well.
- Fresh Lime Juice。 Brings brightness and zip to every bite.
- Prep the Veggies. Slice the kernels from the cob and place them in a large bowl with the rest of the salad ingredients (save some of the feta for serving).
- combine。 Stir and top with the remaining feta.
- Chill. Let set in the refrigerator for a few minutes (if you can resist). ENJOY!
- Black Bean Corn Avocado SaladFor additional creaminess, add 1 diced avocado, either in addition to or in place of the feta. Since avocado can turn brown, wait to add until within 1 hour of serving. This is a great option if you need the salad to be vegan or dairy-free. (The salad is already gluten-free.)
- Sautéed Corn Black Bean Salad. Heat 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes. (If using canned or frozen, thawed corn, pat it dry first.) Let cool, then add to the salad as directed.
- Roasted Corn and Black Bean SaladIn a mixing bowl, coat the corn kernels with 2 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil. Spread the kernels into an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until browned, tossing once or twice throughout (watch carefully at the end so they don’t burn!). Let cool, then add to the salad as directed.
- Grilled Corn Black Bean Tomato Salad. Lightly char the ears on a grill over medium heat; let cool, and cut the kernels from the cob. Add to the salad as directed.
- Honey Lime Dressing. For a black bean and corn salad with honey-lime dressing (YUM!), whisk 2 tablespoons of honey into the dressing ingredients. If you love honey dressing, check out this Fruit Salad too!
- To Store. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
This recipe is easy to make ahead, and black bean corn salad can last several days in the refrigerator. Try your leftovers in one of these creative ways.
- As a Burrito or Quesadilla. Warm up the leftovers, then tuck them into a tortilla, and enjoy it as a burrito or pan fry it, quesadilla-style. Add some Grilled Chicken Tenders for additional protein.
- With Grains.Toss this salad with your favorite cooked grain. Quinoa black bean corn salad sounds tasty, or pair it with farro or classic brown rice.
- As a Salad. Pile it onto a bed of lettuce for an easy salad variation. Drizzle with extra lime juice and olive oil for a quick dressing.
- As a Dip. Serve this as a dip with a side of tortilla chips for a spin on black bean and corn salsa.
What to Serve with Black Bean Corn Salad
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Don’t Leave Kernel on the Cob. Make sure when you’re cutting the kernels off the ear, you’re cutting as much as possible the first time, rather than slicing the kernels in half and having to make a second pass to get the rest. You want whole kernels in the salad, not bits of them! Read my tips for de-kerneling corn below.
- Gently Stir. This keeps the feta from breaking down too much and prevents the tomatoes from being crushed.
- Let the Flavors Meld.While you can eat this black bean corn salad right away (and you will obviously want to), it’s even better if you let it chill in the fridge for juuuust a bit to let the flavors mix and mingle.
Black Bean Corn Salad Video
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- 2 cups corn kernels from 4 to 5 ears, or frozen corn kernels*
- 1 14-ounce can reduce sodium black beans rinsed and drained
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes halved
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint basil, parsley, or cilantro (or a mix!)**
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lime juice from about 1 lime***
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 ounces feta cheese crumbled (about 1 cup), divided
Place your corn kernels in a large mixing bowl. If using fresh kernels, include any of the milk that comes off the cob. If using frozen corn, you don’t even need to thaw it all the way first.
To the bowl, add the black beans, tomatoes, mint, olive oil, lime juice, salt, pepper, and two-thirds of the feta.
Stir to combine, then taste and adjust the salt and pepper as desired. Sprinkle the final one-third feta over the top.
If time allows, place in the refrigerator to set for 15 minutes. Enjoy!
- *For options to roast, grill, or saute the corn before adding it to the salad, see the blog post above. My favorite way to make this (because it’s the ideal meeting point between extremely easy and delicious) is to use corn cut freshly from the cob, without cooking it at all.
- **My favorite is a blend of half mint, half cilantro. For those who don’t care for cilantro, basil is also wonderful and very summery.
- ***In place of lime, you can play around with 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or 1/2 to 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (apple cider vinegar is the strongest). If the salad comes out too acidic for your taste with one of the Vinegars, drizzle in a little honey or sprinkle on some sugar to balance it.
- TO STORE: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Serving: 1(of 6)Calories: 240kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 11gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 17mgPotassium: 515mgFiber: 8gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 649IUVitamin C: twenty twomgCalcium: 131mgIron: 3mg
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Frequently Asked Questions
Technically speaking, it can be frozen, but the texture and flavor will suffer a great deal upon freezing and thawing, so I don’t recommend it.
If you don’t rinse black beans, your dish will be higher in sodium and have a bit more bean-y flavor and aroma.
A light vinaigrette made with olive oil and an acid like lime juice or vinegar is best with a bean salad. Spice it up with some cumin or a clove of garlic and don’t forget to season with salt and pepper!