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Mexican Black Bean Salad [video]

Mexican Black Bean Salad is as festive-looking as it tastes, made with black beans, avocado, corn, bell peppers, lime, and juicy tomatoes. It bursts of Mexican flavors packed into one delightful, easy vegetarian recipe that you can assemble in just ten minutes! This fresh and delicious dish is the perfect summer meal or side dish. I love that it tastes so light and refreshing, but it still is hearty and filling!

Mexican Black Bean Salad Recipe

I am always looking for something too much on, and being very busy, I like to keep my meals simple, but filling. Sometimes salads lack the content to keep you full for a long time, especially the vegetarian ones. But that is not the case with this salad! This one is a great addition to your go-to recipes list because it is versatile, easy to make, and also very filling and healthy. Enjoy it as a meal or as a side dish.

Black Bean salad is a traditional Mexican dish made with black beans, also known as frijoles negros in Spanish or rajma in India, vegetables, fruit, seasonings, and spices. This amazing salad has eight different vegetables including corn, onions, red and orange bell peppers, tomatoes, avocados, green onions, and jalapenos.

Mixed with the beans and exquisitely flavored with fresh garlic, chopped cilantro, lime, cumin, and chili powder with red wine vinegar and lime, there is a burst of flavor in every bite! Or if you are looking for something creamier and citrusy, my Cilantro Lime Dressing from this Southwest Salad recipe is the best choice.

I like to serve this with corn chips because I love the crunchiness to go with all the creaminess of the avocados I garnish it with. You do not even need any kind of dressing on this because the lime zest and juice mix with the red wine vinegar and olive oil to make it just perfect.

Mexican black bean salad is super easy to make too. You can even let the kids do it with your supervision. They love to help out in the kitchen and it makes them want to eat more of what they make. It is always good to see them eating vegetables instead of junk food! And it is nice to get them started in the kitchen young so they grow up enjoying the same things you do.

Even though it does not need any kind of dressing, you can add some. There are a myriad of different flavors that pair well with the ingredients such as Greek, Italian, or even ranch. You can also make homemade salad dressing for a fresher flavor. I love making my homemade Catalina dressing for this. 

What you need to make Mexican black bean salad

Many of the items on the ingredient list are veggies and staples you may already have. Here is what you will need for this yummy dish.

Vegetables and legumes:

  • Black beans – I used canned beans, that I rinsed and drained. They are such a staple in Mexican cuisine, and I like them as a protein boost in vegetarian recipes.
  • Sweet corn – I use a can of sweet corn, rinsed and drained.
  • Orange and red bell peppers – I like the crunchiness and sweetness of bell peppers, and also they add a nice pop of color to any salad.
  • Cherry tomatoes – Chopped into quarters, these are juicy and sweet.
  • Avocados – I can’t imagine a Mexican salad without avocados. Their creamy texture and nutty flavor are perfect with other crunchy and chewy ingredients.
  • Green onions – Chopped into small pieces, for some slightly peppery taste.
  • Jalapeno – Deseeded and diced, because we can’t skip them in a Mexican recipe. Plus I like the heat they add.

Herbs and Spices:

  • Fresh cilantro – Chopped finely, fresh cilantro adds a lemony pungent taste with a hint of pepper.
  • Minced garlic – Fresh minced garlic adds a more pungent and savory taste for a bold flavor.
  • Ground cumin – Mixed with cilantro, this spice is citrusy, strong, and nutty but bitter on its own.
  • Chili powder – Adds a slightly sweet and spicy background.
  • Salt – To taste. Any kind will work for this recipe.


  • Lime juice – From one fresh lime.
  • Lime zest – From the same fresh lime.
  • Red wine vinegar – For a tangy and sweet taste.
  • Olive oil – Use extra virgin olive oil for a light and mellow flavor.

How to make Mexican black bean salad?

  • Drain and rinse: Drain and rinse the canned black beans. The liquid that is mixed with the black beans could be salty, so, you don’t want that. Rinse them thoroughly before tossing them in with the rest of the ingredients. Do this to the sweet corn, too.
  • Chop and slice: Chop and slice the remaining ingredients and toss everything in a large bowl to combine.
  • Chill and serve: It is best to chill for at least a few hours or overnight to let the flavors absorb. Add the garnish right before serving.

Expert tip

Why chill the salad?

You may have noticed that many of my recipes like Mexican black bean salad tell you to let them chill for several hours before serving. The reason for this is not just to make them cold. Letting your ingredients soak up the flavors of the juices, aromatics, herbs, and spices is important in the overall flavor profile. Sure, it will taste good right after you make it, but it tastes 10x better after a few hours in the fridge.

With this bean salad, the beans and veggies soak up the vinegar, lime juice and zest, garlic, cumin, chili, cilantro, chili powder, and salt as it sits. You want to let them absorb all these tastes before serving to get the most flavor. So, the longer you chill it, the more flavorful it becomes.

However, do not leave it too long or it will start to get soft. Overnight is long enough. Then, you can still keep leftovers refrigerated for a few days and it will not get too soggy. Because there is no lettuce or other greens, you can keep it for longer than two days without worrying about wilting.

Recipe variations and add-ins:

  • Add meat: Even though this yummy salad has lots of beans for protein, you can make it a heartier meal by adding some kind of meat like chicken, turkey, pork, or beef.
  • More veggies: Another way to add substance to your Mexican black bean salad is to add some other veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, and green beans.
  • Other beans: Try this recipe with other beans like pinto, kidney, or navy beans.
  • Extra spicy: To make your salad extra spicy, toss in a bit of crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Add fruit: If you like a bit of sweetness, toss in some sliced grapes, strawberries, or chopped apples.
  • Different vinegar: Instead of red wine vinegar, experiment with other types. Apple cider vinegar will add tanginess, balsamic vinegar will give it a sweeter and richer taste, and white vinegar gives it a fresh crisp flavor.

Serving suggestions:

This is the perfect summer salad for family picnics in the park and backyard barbecues. But it’s so good, my family loves it no matter when I serve it!

Frequently asked questions

Why are black beans so healthy?

The tasty little legumes are high in fiber as well as vitamin B, folate, and potassium. They have no cholesterol, making it a good choice for heart health. In fact, according to Medical News Today, they can even help lower cholesterol in the blood. Besides all that, they taste good too with solid skin and creamy inside.

Do you need to heat canned black beans before using them?

The canned version has already been pre-cooked before canning and the canning process itself cooks them some more. So, the answer is no in case you are thinking that they are still raw and inedible.

What are some good salad dressings for Mexican black bean salad?

Although my family and I love this Mexican black bean salad without any dressing, sometimes I like to change it up by adding one of my favorite dressings or vinaigrettes. My chipotle sauce gives it a rich, spicy but tangy taste and this homemade Greek dressing is very light, mild, and healthy.

How can I make this dish ahead of time?

If you think you will have leftovers, prepare in advance by keeping everything separate so they do not get soggy. The beans and corn can be left in the cans and the chopped veggies and herbs can also be kept in baggies in the fridge. Do not add the lemon juice, zest, vinegar, and oil until you are ready to make it.

Can I keep sliced avocado in the fridge?

Yes, you can but it will need to be prepared differently than the other veggies. First, soak a paper towel or napkin in lime juice. Then, wrap it around the sliced avocados and wrap it tightly in plastic. Be prepared to eat it within the next two days or it will get brown and soggy. It also works if you brush the avocado with lemon juice before wrapping it in plastic wrap.

How to store:

  • Refrigerate: Place leftovers in an airtight container and store them in the fridge for a day. Place prepared ingredients in individual plastic baggies and they will be kept for three days in the fridge.
  • Freezing: Freezing this salad is not recommended because the chopped veggies will not thaw well. 

More salad recipes:

Recipe tips:

  • I always get low-sodium canned black beans and corn for my salad. This way, you can add as much salt as you like.
  • Be sure to remove the seeds from the jalapeno before slicing unless you want an extremely spicy salad.
  • Also, use disposable kitchen gloves when slicing and rinsing jalapenos. The oil will soak into your skin and will burn like crazy if you get it in your eyes. Take it from someone who has experienced this pain. You do not want this to happen to you!
  • This salad is best served cold so make sure you chill it first for at least a couple of hours or even overnight. The longer you chill it, the more flavor it will have. But do not wait too long. After a few days, the avocados will brown and everything will get soft.

Easy Black Bean Salad

Mexican Black Bean Salad is as festive-looking as it tastes, made with black beans, avocado, corn, bell peppers, lime, and juicy tomatoes. Bursting with Mexican flavors!

Mexican Black Bean Salad
  • Prep Time15 MIN
  • Cook Time
  • Servings 6 servings


  • 3 cans 15.5 oz each black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 15.5 oz can sweet corn rinsed and drained
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 orange bell pepper chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes quartered
  • 2 avocados chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onions chopped
  • 1 jalapeño finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt to taste


  • Lime and sliced avocado crushed corn chips


  • In a large serving bowl, add all of the ingredients and toss to combine. Taste, and adjust for seasoning.
  • For best results, cover and chill for 2-3 hours or overnight to enhance the flavors.

Nutrition Facts

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This was a huge hit for my family dinner. So fresh and the flavour was the perfect complement to the enchiladas and Mexican rice I made. Not too heavy and spicy, just the right hint of tastiness. Bookmarked for the future. Thank you.

Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

Hi, so happy that you loved the recipe! thank you for the feedback!

Frances Jack

Frances Jack

Loved it thank you!

Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert

Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert

This couldn't look any more perfect! I love this! looks so good!

Allyson Zea

Allyson Zea

Love the salad we make it all the time! It's the perfect side dish to any Mexican meal!

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