Black Bean Salad with Corn, Red Peppers and Avocado in a Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette


This recipe was inspired by one of my readers, Ellen Koh, who sent me a fabulous Mexican Bean Salad recipe. Over the years, it has become the most popular recipe on my site; it has been pinned over 700,000 times on Pinterest and called “Veggie Crack” because it’s so addictive! I love it for entertaining because it’s festive and you can make it ahead of time — in fact, you should because it gets better and better the longer it sits.  Try serving it with my Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken and Cornbread Muffins. Be sure to watch the video for foolproof tips!


Begin by cutting the corn off the cobs.


Cut the red bell peppers.


Rinse the black beans.


Chop the cilantro (or leave it out if you don’t like it).


Combine everything in a bowl.


Add fresh lime juice, olive oil, garlic, shallots and seasoning.


Toss and add avocado.


That’s all there is to it. It’s best to let this salad sit in the fridge for a few hours so the flavors can marry. Enjoy!    

Black Bean Salad with Corn, Red Peppers and Avocado in a Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette

Print Recipe
Servings: 6-8
Total Time: 30 Minutes


  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 ears fresh cooked corn, kernels cut off the cob
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots, from one medium shallot
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 9 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, best quality such as Colavita
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest (be sure to zest limes before juicing them)
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • 2 Hass avocados, chopped


  1. Combine all ingredients except for avocados in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and chill for a few hours or overnight. Right before serving, add avocados and mix gently, being careful not to mash avocados. Garnish with a more chopped cilantro if desired. Serve at room temperature.

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  • That looks so delicious. I’m going to HAVE to make it tonight!

  • Chris Tucker

    I make this salad all the time in the summer. I will confess though, if I am feeling lazy, I will just pour some Paul Newman’s Lime Vinaigrette dressing on it – Scrumptious!

  • very nice – perfect salad for me! Love your photography! I hope you will submit this (and more) to


  • What a beautiful-looking salad! I love the combination of ingredients, too… very fresh and summery.

  • Lisa

    I have a party at work next week and it is a Mexican theme. your timing is perfect. Thanks for posting.

  • taryn

    Made this last night with grilled Mahi Mahi, very good!

  • Ellen

    Love this version! And I’m glad I inspired. ;) My parents happened to be visiting when I made this and they couldn’t get enough of it! Also, your photos are just as amazing.

  • OK – this recipe and pictures of this recipe make me seriously salivate. Must. Go. Buy. Ingredients.

  • bethy

    Made this for a family gathering and it was a big hit. What a great combination of flavors. Yum! Thank you!

  • Chris Carvajal

    I make a version of this…I call it Texas Tabouli because I add rice…it makes a great pot-luck dish warm or cold.

  • Erica

    I’ve made this salad FOUR times already! It’s a definite crowd-pleaser. Thanks!

  • Susan Orton

    The same recipe you refer to on the Tequila Lime Chicken does not include the beans.. at least in the photo? I’ve been making a similar version of this salad for some time (less the beans when we are having chicken or fish), but one tip is to desilk the corn, soak it for a few hours in cold water and then dry them. Fire up the coals and brush a bit of olive oil on the corn. Grill it directly over the heat with a sprinkling of salt & pepper. Let them cool and use the kernals in the salad. SOOOO delicious with that roasted, fresh corn flavor!

  • This is an absolutely amazing recipe! My husband, kids and I all loved it and I can see us serving it in a variety of ways. Tonight we opted to have it with grilled chicken and served it atop green leaf lettuce. I added 1/2 cup of finely chopped cucumber and 2 tsp of vinegar to mine. I liked the original and with the added ingredients. Thanks for sharing!

  • Made this last night it was so great. Such a good way to use up veggies from the garden and what is in season. Thanks again for another great recipe.

  • Heidi

    This is sooo amazing. Made it with the Tequila lime chicken and chocolate cream pie for dessert. My friends, all real foodies, said it was “the perfect dinner”…it was really good!

  • made this for dinner tonight…tastes so great! thanks for the great idea! I gave you a shout-out on my blog for the recipe creds :)

  • Kimberly Sanchez

    I have made this three times and every time I make it my family and friends are always asking for more. I have sent this recipe to other friends and they tell me how mush of a hit it is for them too. I can totally taste the difference of the sugar but dont always add it. It is good with or without. I am going to try your other recipes too. They look delicious. I was attracted to this recipe just because of the beautiful photo.

  • I just made this recipe and promptly inhaled 2 bowls! So amazing!

  • Ilse D

    Yaay, I can’t wait to make this! You made this look so easy I had to try and make it myself… wish me luck, I’m new to the kitchen…

  • Heidi de la Garrigue

    this looks fabulous. Having lived in Texas for 13 years, and now living in Seattle, I LONG for good Tex Mex, but in the end, its what we make at home that tastes best…..

  • Alaina Tobias

    Appreciate you sharing, great post.Really thank you! Want more.

  • Joanne Kersey

    I don’t like cilantro can I use either parsley or basil or am I just better to make it without cilantro

  • Hi Joanne, You can just leave it out or substitute parsley. It will be good either way. Hope that helps!

  • Marina Gonzalez

    This was REALLY, REALLY, REALLY good.

  • Shraddha

    I made this and you were so right! Folks kept coming again and again. I ran out of the salad soon. This is staying in my favorite. It is so simple and amazingly tasty. Thank you for sharing.

  • Heidi

    I made this, with some changes- I thought 9 tablespoons of olive oil seemed too much so I used 5 instead, and deleted the sugar- we also like our spicy food so I added a shake or two more of the cayenne, and served it with slow roasted pork tacos- it was absolutely delicious and I am making more tomorrow! I still found it to be on the wet side, so perhaps I will use 5 TBL of lime juice instead, and I also grilled my corn-

  • Claire

    I made this tonight and it was delish! I cheated, though, and did not use fresh corn. I used a bag of Steamfresh white/yellow corn…steamed and cooled. It tasted great and still had crunch!

    • Claire

      Forgot to mentioned that I also halved the recipe, so one bag of corn was the perfect ratio for one can of beans and one avocado.

    • Jenn

      Great tip on the steamfresh corn, Claire. Especially for winter when corn is out of season. Thanks for your comment!

  • BB in BNA

    One of my coworkers brought this today and shared the recipe. This is awesome…Got to make it for the Superbowl!!

  • Rosalie Nicholson

    Got to try this

  • I literally just made myself sick on this. SO GOOD! We ate it over brown rice. Hubby added steak and shredded cheese to his…daughter added tortilla chips. They said it reminded them of a Chipotle Bowl. Thank you!!!

  • Rebecca

    I cant eat bell peppers. Could I substitute a good firm tomato, like Roma, deseeded of course?

    • Jenn

      Hi Rebecca, You could definitely substitute a tomato. Hope you enjoy!

      • Grace

        I can’t stop eating this stuff!! I am a vegan and added a few roasted almonds and green olives. Let’s put it this way, if I was on death row (which I am not) this would be my requested last meal!!

  • Ronda

    I make a similar version of this we call “Cowboy Caviar” Cant’ wait to try this one too!

  • Erin

    Does anyone know how many cups this makes?

  • Katherine S

    I just made this salad and I can tell you its absolute amazing!

  • robin

    Delicious!! Served it with fish tacos. It was perfect. I also used frozen corn…no fresh available, turned out great! thanks.

  • Kathy Henriksen

    Is there a weight watchers point count to this??anyone??

    • Wilma

      I used 3 med avocados, reduced the oil to 5T and (because we like a bit more garlic) used 4 cloves. With these modifications, using 8 servings for the entire recipe, it equals 8 points per serving.

    • Brooke

      Hi Kathy,

      I just added up the points and it’s about 6 points per serving (not including avocado). And I also cut the oil down to 6 tablespoons. If you add the avocado, which I will cause I love it… add another 2 points for 1/4 of a medium avocado. It’s not as low in points as I was hoping, but I might cut back on the oil next time.

      Hope this helps!

      • Lisa

        For the ww points, what is the serving size?

  • This was super yummy! I made a couple changes to eliminate some calories and for convenience (splenda instead of sugar, added some chopped up banana peppers, cut oil in half and used the juice from the banana peppers and replaces shallots with red onions). Fresh corn is out of season and it was still really good with canned.

  • Nichol

    I use WHITE SHOEPEG CORN in a can, it is crisp and tasty : )

  • Corn is not in season any more. Do I substitute canned or frozen?
    It looks & sounds wonderful.

    • Jenn

      Hi Mary, Lots of people have been having luck with frozen corn. That should definitely be better than canned. Good luck and hope you enjoy!

  • Regina Farmer

    I substituted with canned corn and added grape tomatoes. It was a big hit at our church supper!

  • Isbelle

    This was pretty good. I’d make this again with a few substitutions. I’d use lemon instead of lime and probably 4 tbs instead of 6. I’ll definitely cut the oil to 5 tbs next time. I ALMOST did and regret adding it all now. I like red onions more than shallots so I’ll do those and I’ll probably add a bit more cayenne. Oh, and it definitely needs more avocado. 3-4 for avocado lovers like me. Oh, and I’ll definitely add mango chunks next time and omit the sugar. My friends and boyfriend really liked it as is.

  • Tammy

    I made this for Super Bowl and it was a big hit. My only issue is there was too much liquid at the bottom and had to keep stirring it. When others decreased the oil, did you have liquid at the bottom too? I let this sit overnight since I read the flavors would blend better which they did. Maybe I should have drained this before serving?

    • Jenn

      Hi Tammy, There is a generous amount of dressing with this salad. I prefer it that way, especially if I’m serving it with chicken and need a bit of a sauce, but you could certainly decrease the quantities a bit. If the only issue is having to stir it a lot, you can serve it in a shallow dish so that the dressing doesn’t all sink to the bottom. Hope that helps!

  • Naisia

    Try it with frozen watermelon instead of sugar! Mmm

  • Jackie

    Great recipe

    • Steve

      A friend just made this salad for a potluck and it is awesome! Can’t wait to try it myself.

    • Barbara Tilley

      This looks yummy…am making it this weekend, and looking forward to the results…OMG…..can’t wait!

    • Molly Hackman

      Quick question: why do we have to zest the limes? Is that suppose to go in the dish as well. Thanks!

      • Jenn

        Hi Molly,

        Yes, the lime zest goes into the salad and has tons of flavor. Hope you enjoy!

  • This looks mouth watering. I am motivated to try this. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  • Mary

    I can’t wait to make this! My mouth is watering.

  • Caroline

    I made this, this morning and have yet to put the avocado in but I tried it to see how the flavors were coming together and WOW, I want to eat the whole thing! I did put about half the salt in, extra garlic (because we are garlic fanatics) and only had one can of beans, but everything else was as directed. This is my new standby recipe!

  • I saw this on Pinterest, and I *had* to make it. It’s beautiful and a great dip or accompaniment to Tex-Mex menus. I cut the oil by half, increased the garlic, and added chopped fresh jalepenos. It’s awesome! Thank you so much for sharing.

  • We are on the Daniel diet so I made this using agave nectar, lemon juice & zest because I had them. I also used organic frozen no sugar corn
    It was fabulous & will definitely make it again & again.
    Thank you.

  • m duncan

    i love black beans and corn salads. i’m making this tonight for dinner.

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