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Black Bean and Corn Salad with Chipotle-Honey Vinaigrette

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Black Bean and Corn Salad

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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 Chipotle’s honey vinaigrette. 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 baja fish tacos and these chipotle chicken 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)
  • ½ 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
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¾ teaspoon cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ 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 1½)

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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Comments

  • I love this salad. Do you think one could serve this with a dinner that also includes black beans on the menu? Thanks

    • — Caroline on October 25, 2022
    • Reply
    • You could, but would be a lot of black beans, so personally, I may opt for something else.

      • — Jenn on October 26, 2022
      • Reply
      • Making this for 10 years now!!! Always a crowd pleaser! 18 year old asked for it last night! I added pomegranate the first time I made it and since then always have and I think it gives it an added sweet crunch! First recipe review in my life!

        • — Katie on June 16, 2023
        • Reply
  • This recipe is perfect as is! It is so refreshing and a family favorite. The dressing is divine. If we have a party and I have this out, it is gone almost immediately. We even use it as a dip for tortilla chips.

    • — Katy on September 22, 2022
    • Reply
  • Absolutely love this recipe! As a shortcut I’ve used Trader Joe’s roasted corn when fresh corn isn’t in season! Making this again tonight with your tequila and lime chicken 🙂

    • — TGlow on September 8, 2022
    • Reply
  • I’ve just punted in the past and made a black bean corn salad with no recipe. So I decided to try your recipe, it’s a winner! The dressing really makes it. I didn’t have avocadoes, but will plan ahead for next time, for sure. Thanks for another great recipe, Jenn!
    p.s. Thanks too for the comment from someone who added some to chicken for chicken enchiladas. That’s for tonight, great idea!

    • — Laurie Ailworth on September 4, 2022
    • Reply
  • This is a delicious corn salad, the dressing is terrific just the right amount of spice from the chipotle peppers. I used canned corn and it turns out fine, I’m sure fresh corn would be even better. Even the ‘particular foodies ‘ in my family really loved it!! Thanks Jenn for another excellent recipe

    • — Marg on September 4, 2022
    • Reply
  • Can I replace red wine vinegar with balsamic vinegar?

    • — Sohnia on September 3, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Sohnia, the balsamic will lend a slightly different flavor to the dressing, but it will still be good. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 6, 2022
      • Reply
    • I only had balsamic so I used it. Tasted wonderful!

      • — Julie T on November 17, 2022
      • Reply
  • Any tips for making ahead? I want to take it camping 🙂

    • — Denise on September 1, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Denise, the salad can be made ahead of time and keeps for several days. Just wait until right before serving it to add the avocado. Have fun camping!

      • — Jenn on September 2, 2022
      • Reply
  • This salad was amazing. Again, ingredients that I’m not fond of but You have introduced me to a whole new world! I have made this several times and it’s always a big hit. I wish there was a way to review the recipes in your books. I made the Cobb salad last night and it is amazing. I plan on making that dressing all the time and keep it on hand like I do with your Caesar dressing. I’m not buying bottle dressing anymore. What would you recommend for soup if you were doing a simple dinner of Cobb salad and soup? Thanks Again, for making me look good in the kitchen….. Ha!

    • — Liz on August 16, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Liz, glad you like the salad as well as the cobb salad! If you’re planning on eating the soup and salad sometime soon (while it’s still hot out) two options come to mind — the chilled tomato basil soup or chilled roasted red pepper soup. Hope you enjoy if you try either one!

      • — Jenn on August 16, 2022
      • Reply
  • I made this and it is delicious. I enjoyed it so much along with a couple of your other recipes that I bought both of your cookbooks. Can’t wait to try more.

    • — Melanie on August 11, 2022
    • Reply
    • ❤️

      • — Jenn on August 11, 2022
      • Reply
  • Really enjoyed this last night it went perfectly with Chipotle grilled tri-tip, having the rest for lunch today, I first saw this in the cookbook (kindle edition) so it was great to be able to print it here, it`s going our do again file. THX.

    • — lowandslow on August 2, 2022
    • Reply
  • I’m going to be making this for a big family bbq. Wondering if anyone has tried putting the corn on the grill rather boiling? Thought it could nice flavour. But if it’s not worth it then I’ll boil. Thank you for the input. Can’t wait to try it!
    Giselle

    • — Giselle on July 20, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Giselle, This would be great with grilled corn. Enjoy 🙂

      • — Jenn on July 20, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn!
    This salad is fantastic!!! Every recipe I have tried of yours is excellent. I have made your Pumpkin Bread, Apple Pie, Big Italian Salad, Guacamole, Cobb Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette, Tuna Salad, Egg Salad, Steakhouse Burgers, Homemade sauce and each one turns out perfect without needing to adjust the recipe. Each week I’ve been trying a new recipe from your blog and each week I have another recipe to add to my favorites. I look forward to making more of your recipes.
    Thank you!

    • — Courtney on July 19, 2022
    • Reply
    • So glad you’re enjoying the recipes, Courtney! 🙂

      • — Jenn on July 19, 2022
      • Reply
  • Excellent and will make often. I did use olive oil instead of veg. oil. which I don’t use. One of the best things I’ve made in a long time and everyone loved it!

    • — KDW on July 7, 2022
    • Reply
  • Love this dish! Every time I make it I get asked for the recipe!

    • — Sophie on July 6, 2022
    • Reply
  • Made this for a picnic/party and it is so delicious!! So healthy! Was a big hit!! Thank you!

    • — Pamela Nelson-Kimball on June 11, 2022
    • Reply
  • This looks amazing!

    How spicy is it? My kids don’t eat any level of spice. Is there a good substitute for the adobo peppers?

    • — Alexa on June 10, 2022
    • Reply
    • It’s a bit spicy, but you can cut back on the peppers. Maybe use just 1/2 a pepper to give a little of the smoky flavor (and make sure not to include the liquid the peppers are in).

      • — Jenn on June 13, 2022
      • Reply
  • I’m back again for another printout due to popular demand.
    After serving at a BBQ, my sister requested I make this last year for my nieces graduation and I increased 4-fold and was a huge hit. I’m back at it again this year for my other sister’s nieces graduation. This is so incredibly yummy. I’ve used frozen/canned corn (no salt) and all works. Fresh is obviously desired. It’s the darn dressing – so yummy! Oh and I hold out adding avocado until each batch is served – keeps fresh for left overs. Serve with tortilla chips! Near everything I made is from Once Upon a Chef and/or inspired by your recipes. You are the bomb for those of us who love flavor bombs!

    • — Tammie K on June 6, 2022
    • Reply
  • This is just fyi. I’ve been using this recipe for a few years now. I love it! I’ve shared it with several friends and family. I also have it book marked on my phone so I’ll never loose it. Lol! When I’m cutting out meat for a few days, this one of my go to meals for some of those days. Thanks so much for making this available to everyone!

    • — Kathryn on June 3, 2022
    • Reply
  • I quintupled this recipe as a side for a Mexican fiesta…what a hit!!! It was super easy to put together. My guests raved about it and kept going back for more. Several people said it was their favorite thing on the menu. Thanks so much for a quick and simple recipe that made a big impact for my party!

    • — Kelly on May 30, 2022
    • Reply
  • this salad is amazing! and if you like a little kick, it’s subtle but bold.
    I will add this to my go-to salads/appetizer recipes.

    • — Mary Ewert on May 6, 2022
    • Reply
  • I’ve been making this recipe for years! Always a favorite at potlucks and so easy to pull together.

  • I had been wanting to try this for so long and I finally tried this wonderful salad … it was so good – especially the dressing !!
    Thank you, we’ll be having more of this very soon. Leilani O.

  • Can you please explain why this dressing different from the other Chipotle vinaigrette on your website? This one has lime juice and cumin, the other doesn’t. Can either work on this salad? Just made three batches of the other recipe to take somewhere and now I’m afraid it might be missing something.

    • Absolutely LOVE this recipe!

    • Sure, Suzie, either dressing would work on this salad. Hope everyone enjoys!

  • Our family LOVES taco night. It has long been our favorite meal. Last night I thought I’d mix it up and serve this salad aside our tacos. Big mistake! This salad completely upstaged our beloved tacos. I knew it would be great as is everything that I have made from your cookbooks, but we really weren’t prepared for just how flavorful this would be. My husband is big on variety, but said he could eat this everyday.

  • Oh my, this was a hit and I didn’t even use fresh corn! It’s out of season, so I steamed some frozen sweet corn and drained it thoroughly. I also doubled the avocado. Everyone asked for the recipe!

  • Love it!! As a matter of fact I am nibbling on this salad right now. I do what I do and somehow I always end up sneaking one more bite.

  • 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?

    • 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!

  • Can you use canned corn kernels instead of fresh corn?

    • Sure – just make sure to drain and rinse them. Hope you enjoy!

  • 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.

  • 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!

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

  • 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?

    • 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!

  • Trying to avoid seed/vegetable oils…. how would it affect taste if used EVOO instead?

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

      • Thank you for replying so quickly! I’m making it now😊

      • I love this salad SO much. I’m wondering if you think EVOO or avocado oil would work better if you had to substitute?

        • Hi Rachel, so glad you like the salad! I think you could go either way but because the avocado oil has hints of avocado flavor, I may go that route. Hope that helps. 🙂

          • Thanks! 💕

            • — Rachel
  • This is absolutely delicious. I have made this so many times and received so many compliments. Definitely a keeper! 🥰

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

  • 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!

  • 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
    • 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
    • Reply
  • I love this recipe!

  • 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!

    • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

    • Hi Jane, So glad you like this and that you’re doing well after such a big health scare!

  • 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)!!

  • Can i use cannellini beans in place of black beans?

    • — Katherine L Lozinak
    • Reply
    • Sure, that would work. Enjoy!

  • 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
    • Reply
    • You’re welcome, Pat — hope you enjoy this one as well! 🙂

  • 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.

  • This was so delicious. Did not have red bell peppers on hand but it was still great!

  • This is a wonderful recipe! Corn is one of my favorite veggies, especially once the summer starts. Delicious dressing and really well balanced.

  • 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!

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