Best Recipe: Black Bean and Corn Salad

Cook’s Notes: This is our all-time favorite bean salad and it has classic Southwestern flavor. It can be served as a side dish with grilled chicken or enchiladas or served as salsa with corn chips as an appetizer. It is very refreshing in the summer. The lemon-garlic dressing gives just the right tang. Adding two fresh tomatoes ensures there is no “canned tomato” taste.

2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
15 ounce can whole kernel corn, rinsed and drained (or 1.5 c frozen corn kernels, thawed)
15 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers, partially drained
6 scallions, chopped (both green and white parts)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced (1/4-inch pieces)
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced

Dressing: Makes 1 cup
1/2 cup (4 oz) olive oil
6 T (3 oz) lemon juice
1 T red wine vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp minced garlic
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp dried cilantro
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Optional: 1/8 tsp red cayenne pepper or 1 T minced fresh jalapeno

In a salad bowl, combine beans, corn, canned tomatoes, green onions, and red bell pepper.

(To make ahead of time: Refrigerate the salad at this point overnight in a closed container. Make dressing on the day you serve and toss the salad.)

Combine dressing ingredients in a small container with a tight lid and shake until well mixed. Pour dressing over the salad, and stir to coat vegetables and beans with dressing.

Gently fold in the fresh tomatoes and avocado cubes. Toss again to combine just before serving.


  • Use fresh lime juice instead of lemon juice in the dressing.
  • Shortcut: Use 1 c store-bought balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing instead of making your own.
  • Heat the cumin in a small skillet over low heat for 1 minute before making the dressing.
  • Use 1/2 c each diced red and green bell pepper, instead of just red bell pepper
  • Use a slotted spoon and serve over lettuce.
  • Turn this dish into corn salsa by changing proportions: use 2 cans of corn and 1 can of black beans.
  • Broccoli and Bean Salad: Steam 1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets. Combine broccoli with 15 oz can white beans (rinsed and drained), 1 cup shredded mozzarella, 1 cup grape tomatoes, and the dressing to taste (about 1/2 cup).

Source: I’ve been making this salad since the 1990’s, based on a recipe that appeared in Reader’s Digest. It’s changed through the years, and the dressing recipe now comes from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, 2005 ringbound edition.


One thought on “Best Recipe: Black Bean and Corn Salad

  1. Pingback: Black and White Beans « QC Tester Hobbies: Sustainable Excellence

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