Black Bean and Corn Salad with Chipotle-Honey Vinaigrette

Tested & Perfected Recipes Cookbook Recipe
Black Bean and Corn Salad

This make-ahead black bean and corn salad is a real crowd-pleaser. Bonus: it doubles as a dip!

Black Bean and Corn Salad

Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

Perhaps the best compliment this salad ever received was from one of my readers, who confessed to me, “I’m having an affair with this salad…please don’t tell anyone.” Another reader told me that she made this salad for a party, and later found one of her guests in her study, printing out copies of the recipe to hand out. It’s just one of those crowd-pleasing, make-ahead recipes that everyone loves. Whether I serve it with grilled chicken or as a dip with tortilla chips (highly recommend!), the bowl is always empty and the plates are always full.

This recipe is similar to my popular Black Bean, Corn & Avocado Salad with Lime Vinaigrette. The difference is that this version is dressed in a smoky and sweet chipotle-honey vinaigrette, similar to the salad dressing served at Chipotle. I think you will love both variations!

What You’ll Need To Make Black Bean and Corn Salad

ingredients for black bean and corn salad

In addition to the basics, the recipe calls for canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. These are small peppers (usually red jalapeños) that have been dried and smoked that come in a spicy, smoky tomato sauce. I love their flavor and am always looking for ways to incorporate them into recipes (see these fish tacos and these quesadillas).

You can find them in the Latin section of most supermarkets. Once you open a can, you can transfer any remaining peppers to a plastic container and store in the refrigerator for at least a month. You can also freeze them.

Step-by-step Instructions

boiling corn and cutting kernels off the cob

Begin by cooking the corn. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the corn and simmer, covered, for about ten minutes, then cut the kernels off the cob. Next, chop the red onions, soak them in cold water for about ten minutes, then drain; this takes the sharp raw onion taste away. (If you’re a raw onion lover, feel free to skip this step.)

soaking and draining the red onions

Rinse and drain the black beans.

rinsing and draining the black beans

Then make the dressing. Simply combine all of the ingredients in a mini food processor or blender and process until smooth.

making the chipotle dressing in mini food processor

Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl and pour the dressing over top.

adding dressing to all of the ingredients

Toss and refrigerate for at least one hour or, preferably, overnight. The salad tastes infinitely better cold, especially once the flavors have a chance to marry and the vegetables soak up some of the dressing.

scooping diced avocado into the bowl

Right before serving, add the avocado and gently toss. Enjoy!

Black Bean and Corn Salad

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Black Bean & Corn Salad with Chipotle-Honey Vinaigrette

This make-ahead black bean and corn salad is a real crowd-pleaser. Bonus: it doubles as a dip!

Servings: 6 (as a side dish)
Total Time: 30 Minutes, plus at least one hour to chill

Ingredients

For the Salad

  • 2 ears fresh corn
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can black beans
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh chopped cilantro (plus a bit more for garnish, if desired)
  • 1 avocado

For the Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, from 1-2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (2 peppers, not 2 cans; use smaller peppers and if they are all large, use only 1-1/2)

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the corn, cover, and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the corn from the water and let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, place the chopped red onions in a small bowl and cover with water. Let sit about ten minutes, then drain completely in a sieve and set aside.
  3. Place the beans in a sieve; run under cold water to rinse well. Let drain completely and set aside.
  4. Holding the cooled corn upright in a large bowl, cut the kernels off the cob in strips. Add the beans, red onion, red bell pepper and cilantro.
  5. Make the dressing by combining all of the ingredients in a blender or mini food processor; process until smooth.
  6. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or, preferably, overnight.
  7. Right before serving, slice the avocado in half. Remove the pit; using a butter knife, cut a grid in each half. Holding the avocado halves over the salad, use a spoon to scoop out the diced flesh. Toss the salad gently, then taste and adjust seasoning if necessary (I usually add a squeeze of fresh lime to freshen it up). Garnish with a bit of fresh chopped cilantro if desired. Serve cold.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Serving size: approximately 1 cup
  • Calories: 357
  • Fat: 20 g
  • Saturated fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 40 g
  • Sugar: 12 g
  • Fiber: 11 g
  • Protein: 9 g
  • Sodium: 306 mg
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Hi, love your recipes. I will be making your Tequila chicken and your Black Bean and avocado salad recipes and wondering what rice would you serve with it?

    • — Bev Power on September 21, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Bev, so glad you like the recipes! I actually think the chicken and the black bean and avocado salad or a meal of themselves and they would be perfect with margaritas. If you feel the need to have something else with it, you could consider couscous. Hope that helps and that you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 22, 2021
      • Reply
  • Can you use canned corn kernels instead of fresh corn?

    • — Marta on September 20, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure – just make sure to drain and rinse them. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 21, 2021
      • Reply
  • Fantastic! I can’t tell you how many times I have made this recipe! It just disappears! I took it to a tailgating party this weekend and everyone asked for the recipe. We put it on our salads, scrambled eggs, hamburgers as a relish, and even as the filling to a breakfast burrito. It is so healthy and delicious. Everyone from my 4 year old granddaughter to the septuagenarians in my family love it.

    • — Joan Hodapp on September 16, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen,

    I have made the black bean salad with chipotle-honey dressing multiple times. It always turns out great, and everyone loves it! Right now, I am having a hard time finding fresh corn. Can I make the salad with frozen corn? If so, how many cups would I use? Thanks for this recipe, as well as other your other wonderful recipes and advice!

    • — Hannah on September 7, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Hannah, So glad you like this! Yes, you can use frozen corn. You’ll need about 1.5 cups. 🙂

      • — Jenn on September 13, 2021
      • Reply
  • I have not made this but it sounds delicious. What would you recommend serving as a main course for this side salad? And, could you add chicken to this salad to make it a main course?

    • — Judith Norman on September 2, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Judith, This would pair beautifully with Tequila Lime Chicken or Fish Tacos. And, yes, you could add chicken to the salad to make it a make course. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 3, 2021
      • Reply
  • Trying to avoid seed/vegetable oils…. how would it affect taste if used EVOO instead?

    • — Mary on August 24, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Mary, I like vegetable oil here as it’s more neutral in flavor but olive oil will definitely work. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 24, 2021
      • Reply
      • Thank you for replying so quickly! I’m making it now😊

        • — Mary on August 24, 2021
        • Reply
  • This is absolutely delicious. I have made this so many times and received so many compliments. Definitely a keeper! 🥰

    • — Antoinette Erickson on August 23, 2021
    • Reply
  • I have made this twice and I will make it again. It came out great and it was a crowd pleaser.
    Nancy H

    • — Nancy Holmes on August 14, 2021
    • Reply
  • This recipe blew my mind. I made it exactly as written. I just couldn’t believe the flavor. It is not only a keeper but also a sharer. I can hardly wait to bring it to parties. Thank you!

    • — Dory on July 30, 2021
    • Reply
  • This recipe is so easy and delicious! I only put 1 pepper in chipotle sauce in the dressing and it was perfect. Thanks, Jenn!

    • — Colette Dryden on July 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Jenn,
    I am never disappointed when I use one of your recipes. This was delicious and I love that you used the chipotle peppers. It gave it a great flavor. I enjoyed eating it on its own and then we tried it with tortilla chips. Yum!

    • — Laura McCaskill on July 23, 2021
    • Reply
  • I love this recipe!

    • — Victoria on July 19, 2021
    • Reply
  • Help please!!! My granddaughter and I made this last night, but I missed the part of using small peppers in the adobe sauce… It turned out very spicy (good, but spicy) . We’re taking it for a 4th of july get together this afternoon. Is there some way to make it less spicy? I thought maybe add sour cream, or just have it as a side for it. Thank you for any suggestions!

    • — Carol Sayer on July 4, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Carol, I would serve the sour cream on the side and just let people know it’s on the spicy side — many people love it that way! You could also make up a little more dressing without the peppers in adobo sauce and mix it in. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on July 4, 2021
      • Reply
  • This was delicious combined with grilled chicken to go inside a flour tortilla to make a quesadilla. I may try using only 1 chipolte pepper next time, but of course, that is a personal preference. The leftovers were great on a salad.

    • — JE on July 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • I’ve been looking for a great dip/side for a backyard BBQ. The ingredients are simple and easy to find. You can literally pour the dressing on anything and make it fantastic. Another hit! Thanks, Jenn!

    • — Nhi on July 2, 2021
    • Reply
  • Outstanding! Made as directed with small changes: added about a tsp more honey (after I tasted the dressing and thought it was a bit sharp) & used 1/2 red onion, 1/2 green onion. We loved it! Served with cedar planked salmon. Next time I will make about a third less dressing; seemed to be swimming in dressing. Otherwise, perfect!

    • — ejscharlotte on July 1, 2021
    • Reply
  • Have made the corn, black bean and avocado salad multiple times now – and we love love love it. It’s so good and healthy, easy to make and really delicious and so fresh. I love using as much as I can from my garden (creole tomatoes, silver queen corn, vidalia onions, cilantro).

    I recently survived a Sudden Cardiac Arrest – eating something this good and healthy is a treat not only for me, but my whole family. I’ve always eaten healthy foods and been a petite size, but this recipe is just so fresh and clean that I had to review it.

    • — Jane on July 1, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Jane, So glad you like this and that you’re doing well after such a big health scare!

      • — Jenn on July 1, 2021
      • Reply
  • I’ve made this at least a dozen times for various parties and every time I’ve made it, someone asks me for the recipe. I also love that I can make it a day before the party.

    Fabulous salad (and chip dip)!!

    • — Debbie on June 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Can i use cannellini beans in place of black beans?

    • — Katherine L Lozinak on June 26, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure, that would work. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 26, 2021
      • Reply
  • I plan to make this recipe next for extended family first visitors since the shut down). So far the Grilled Moroccan Chicken, The Korean-Style Beef Bulgogi Burgers, and the Apricot Couscous Salad have been huge successes. Thank you for so many delicious recipes.
    Pat Cross

    • — Patricia Cross on June 16, 2021
    • Reply
    • You’re welcome, Pat — hope you enjoy this one as well! 🙂

      • — Jenn on June 16, 2021
      • Reply
  • This wasn’t bad but it seemed like more of a salsa/dip than a salad. We ate it once with dinner, trying to convince ourselves it was salad. After that it became dip until we finished it off. I liked the flavor though I thought it was a bit too sweet and I might back off on the honey if I made it again. I don’t think I will though as it’s too much of a fuss for dip.

    • — Jean G on June 10, 2021
    • Reply
  • This was so delicious. Did not have red bell peppers on hand but it was still great!

    • — Alisha on June 8, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is a wonderful recipe! Corn is one of my favorite veggies, especially once the summer starts. Delicious dressing and really well balanced.

    • — Liz on June 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • The most delicious salad recipe I’ve ever made. People rave about it! I think it’s best when fresh sweet corn is in season but now I freeze corn and make it all year round!

    • — J.H. on June 3, 2021
    • Reply

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