Black Bean Salad with Corn, Avocado & Lime Vinaigrette

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This make-ahead and festive black bean salad is a huge crowd-pleaser. Perfect for a summer cookout!

Spoon in a bowl of black bean salad with corn, avocado, and lime vinaigrette.

This black bean salad recipe was sent to me by one of my readers (thank you, Ellen!). It’s a huge crowd-pleaser and one of the most popular recipes on my website. The salad is ideal for entertaining because you can make it ahead of time — in fact, you should because it gets better and better the longer it sits. Try pairing it with my grilled tequila lime chicken and cornbread for a delicious (and easy!) Southwestern-themed cookout. Or, for an appetizer spread, serve it tortilla chips for scooping and chicken quesadillas.

“I have made this about 4 times in the last couple of weeks. My family loves it! The flavors and textures come together perfectly!”

Marie

What You’ll Need To Make Black Bean Salad with Corn, Avocado & Lime Vinaigrette

ingredients for making black bean salad

  • Black Beans: Form the hearty base of the salad, providing protein and texture.
  • Corn: Adds sweetness and crunch and contributes to the salad’s vibrant color.
  • Red Peppers: Offer a pop of color and juicy sweetness to the salad.
  • Garlic and Shallots: Infuse the salad with aromatic depth of flavor.
  • Salt and Cayenne Pepper: Season the salad, balancing flavors and adding a hint of heat.
  • Sugar: Balances the acidity of the lime juice and enhances the overall flavor profile of the salad.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Creates a luscious and smooth vinaigrette, binding the ingredients together.
  • Lime Zest and Lime Juice: Provide brightness and tanginess, elevating the salad’s flavors.
  • Fresh Cilantro: Adds a burst of freshness and herbal aroma to the salad.
  • Avocados: Contribute creaminess and richness, complementing the other ingredients perfectly. If you’re unsure of the most efficient way to prepare an avocado, see my step-by-step guide on how to cut an avocado.
  • Jump to the printable recipe for precise measurements

Step-by-Step Instructions

Begin by cooking the corn in boiling salted water.

boiling the corn

A few minutes is all it takes — you want it super crisp. Refresh the corn under cold water to stop the cooking process.

refreshing the corn under cold water

Place the corn on a clean dish towel set over a cutting board, then use a serrated knife to cut the kernels of the cobs. (The dish towel both dries the corn and prevents it from bouncing all over the place.)

Corn cut from a cob next to a knife.

Next, rinse and drain the black beans.

rinsing black beans for black bean salad

Combine the corn and black beans with the remaining ingredients, except for the avocado.

black bean salad components ready to toss

Toss and chill until ready to serve.

black bean salad tossed with vinaigrette

Before serving, dice the avocado and add to the salad. It’s important to add the avocado at the last minute to keep it from turning brown.

adding diced avocado to black bean salad

Toss well, then taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. You may find that it needs a bit more salt or a squirt of lime juice, as the flavors tend to mellow in the fridge.

tossed black bean salad ready to serve

That’s all there is to it. Enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make the black bean salad ahead of time?

Sure, I recommend chilling it for a few hours or overnight. If necessary, you can make it up to 1 day ahead. Just hold off on adding the avocado until you’re ready to serve to keep it fresh and vibrant.

Can I use canned or frozen corn instead of fresh in the black bean salad?

This is best with fresh corn but when it’s not in season, you can use canned or frozen corn. Just drain and rinse canned corn before adding and if using frozen, ensure it’s thawed beforehand. You’ll need a total of about 2-1/4 cups of corn kernels for the salad.

What’s a good way to spice up the black bean salad?

To add a kick of heat, you can double the cayenne pepper or add a diced jalapeño. For the jalapeño, adjust the amount based on your preference for spiciness, keeping in mind that the heat of the peppers lies in the seeds and veins.

Spoon in a bowl of black bean salad with corn, avocado, and lime vinaigrette.

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Black Bean Salad with Corn, Avocado & Lime Vinaigrette

This make-ahead and festive black bean salad is a huge crowd-pleaser. Perfect for a summer cookout!

Servings: 6-8
Total Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 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
  • ¼ 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
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • 2 Hass avocados, chopped

Instructions

  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.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (8 servings)
  • Serving size: 3/4 - 1 cup
  • Calories: 464
  • Fat: 24 g
  • Saturated fat: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 52 g
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Fiber: 15 g
  • Protein: 13 g
  • Sodium: 591 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.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Comments

  • Excellent! Used chickpeas not corn, purple onion not shallots. Taco seasoning instead of cayenne. Added feta! And broccoli sprouts. Items I had on hand. Delicious!

    • — Kat on July 15, 2024
    • Reply
  • This salad is perfection! I’ve been asked to bring this to get togethers when I ask what I can contribute. I’ve heard multiple times that this is the best version that people have tasted. I normally set it out with tortilla scoops, but lots of people like it as a side dish too. It is very summery and light, but also good year round. I don’t bother with cooking the corn, I just cut it off the cob and use as is. Yummy!

    • — Margerelli on July 9, 2024
    • Reply
  • Hi! Would this be considered gluten free? We have a gluten free guest. Not celiac but gluten sensitive.

    Thanks!! Looks SO yummy!

    • — Amanda on June 22, 2024
    • Reply
    • Yes, it’s gluten-free – hope you and your guest enjoy! 😊

      • — Jenn on June 24, 2024
      • Reply
  • This salad is simply amazing! Had a party with 20 guests and they couldn’t stop talking about this salad which I served with a wonderful pulled pork and Adobe Chicken. Bravo “Once upon a Chef”.

    • — Amy on June 7, 2024
    • Reply
  • Knockout! Will make all summer. Corn bread muffins were a great accompaniment!!

    • — Kristina on May 18, 2024
    • Reply
  • I definitely do not feeling like cooking today, so it’s lucky I remembered this recipe. With some corn chips, deli turkey, and a mango, I’ve got a yummy dinner—for a couple of lazy nights. Thanks (again), Jenn.

    • — Brenda on April 23, 2024
    • Reply
  • Another excellent side for my Mexican Fiesta!

    • — Colleen on April 9, 2024
    • Reply
  • Do you have a cookbook of your salad recipes? Thanks

    • — Francine on February 5, 2024
    • Reply
    • I don’t Francine – I’m sorry! I appreciate you inquiring though. 😊

      • — Jenn on February 5, 2024
      • Reply
  • Made this recipe 3 days ago and it was great. all the ingredients came together and was just the new recipe I needed for something a little different. Used a combination of olive oil/ italian dressing. lime and 1 large tbsp of brown sugar. Made again today and added chick peas. salt & pepper and some basil. This recipe has such great flavor. absolutely loved it.

    • — ray gardner on December 12, 2023
    • Reply
  • We used this as a topping for the tequila lime chicken recipe and put on tortillas and also ate it on its own and it was a delicious. My guests asked for the recipe. I can always count on recipes from this site to turn out great!

    • — Michelle on October 8, 2023
    • Reply
  • I have made this about 4 times in the last couple of weeks. My family loves it! The flavors and textures come together perfectly! My 7 year old has been taking it in his school lunch because he enjoys it so much! I’ve put it over lettuce to make more of a salad, as well as served it alongside your Thai peanut salad for a vegetarian dinner. Thank you for this delicious recipe!

    • — Marie Collins on September 14, 2023
    • Reply
  • Significantly thrilled to be among the over 800 comments on this keeper of a recipe. I served this as the sole accompaniment to very large smoked chicken legs last night. We were entertaining, and it’s pretty rare when I experiment without having tried something first in our little family of 2. I was not super clear if the salt was to be table or Kosher, and ended up using 3/4 tsp. of table salt. I did one other tweak. After tossing all of the components with the Lime Vinaigrette, I did gently fold in the Avocado. I was hoping/thinking that the citrus might keep the Avocado in pristine condition. I got lucky I guess, as it was fine. Just took a peek at the leftovers, and it’s still the same. Thank you Jenn, and “Ellen” for this one.

    • — Jeff Winett on August 31, 2023
    • Reply

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