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!”


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


  • 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


  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, 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.

See more recipes:


  • I made this last night, with a few modifications: first, I halved the recipe, because there were only two of us. I substituted fresh summer garden tomatoes for the red peppers, and about 6 green onions for the shallots, and since the other person here isn’t too fond of spicy food, I cut the cayenne down to just a dash or two, and added ground cumin for flavor (I love cumin on almost everything!) and probably 1/2 t. or so of smoked paprika for the heat. (Sorry, I rarely measure my spices; I just put in a bunch, and then put in more if I think the dish needs more.) I also cut down on the olive oil – about 2 T. total – and since I only had one small lime on hand, supplemented it with about 1 T. of red wine vinegar. And I had no cilantro on hand, so I skipped that. I loved the salad; when you use good, fresh ingredients, you don’t need a ton of spices for the result to taste good! It wasn’t overly spicy, but it was plenty tasty.

    Also, I used a trick I often use with tabouli when I know we are going to have leftovers: I put in just as many tomatoes (and in the case of this salad, avocadoes) as I think we’ll eat that night, since they don’t keep well. Then the next night I serve it, I cut and add fresh ones again just before serving. This keeps the tomatoes and avocadoes nice and colorful, and prevents them from getting soggy and wilting into moosh.

    • I absolutely love your substitution/additions. Thank you for sharing 😋

  • Another winner!!! Made this for our block party and it was a hit! Will make again for sure. Jenn, your recipes are just THE best! Can wait for my pre-ordered book to arrive!!!

  • This was phenomenal. I served it with your tequila lime chicken, and wanted it to count as our veg, too, so I added a diced cucumber, thinly sliced spinach, and halved cherry tomatoes. My kids aren’t fans of spice, so I used some ancho chili instead of the cayenne. We cubed the chicken and tossed it right in. Yum! Thanks for the great recipe!

  • About how many cups of corn should I have after preparing the ears of corn? Ears of corn are different sizes.

    • It should be 2 – 2-1/2 cups. Hope you enjoy!

  • Made this recipe for the first time this weekend. Perfect summer salad!

  • How far ahead can you make this, understanding that you have the avocado and the last minute? Just wondering if two days ahead of time is too early?

    • Hi Jackie, A day ahead would be optimal but I think you could push to two. Hope you enjoy!

  • Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe. I have had similar recipes and they are all good. But this recipe is really the best of them all! The lime zest takes it over the top!

  • I don’t usually like to add sugar to my salads. Have you a healthy alternative?

    Thank you


    • Hi Jessie, the sugar helps to balance out the other flavors. Some readers have commented that they’ve used agave nectar in place of the sugar. You can also reduce the sugar or omit it entirely. Please LMK how it turns out?

      • I’m making this for the 4th of July.
        I dread cooking but your recipes are simple & so good!!! I love that I discovered this site. I have a trained chef in the family & a few others who love to cook. They are impressed with these recipes too❤️

        • — Peggy on July 2, 2022
        • Reply
        • ❤️

          • — Jenn on July 3, 2022
          • Reply
      • Thank you for this response as I was wondering the same. Can you please tell me if you have actually tried making it without any sweetener at all? If so, does it seem to be lacking or is it truly not a significant difference? I want to make it for a large family group this weekend and at least half of us eat no added sugar on a daily basis (including no honey, no agave, no maple syrup, no coconut sugar, etc.). However, because some do, I want it to taste “normal” even to people who are used to consuming added sugar. Thanks! 🙂

        • — Rebecca on June 30, 2023
        • Reply
        • Hi Rebecca, I’ve never made this without sugar. I do find that it helps to balance out the flavors, but a number of people have commented that they’ve reduced or omitted the sugar and have still been happy with the salad. Also, a a lot depends on the natural sweetness of the corn and bell peppers, Hope everyone enjoys!

          • — Jenn on July 1, 2023
          • Reply
  • This salad was absolutely delicious – wouldn’t change a thing! Thank you again for another amazing dish! LMRM

    • — Lorraine Rossi Marier
    • Reply
  • As usual, a great recipe. i added extra lime juice and olive oil and it keeps in the fridge for several days and gets better.

    • — Douglas Gabbey
    • Reply
  • Aloha Jen!
    Delicious!! I made half of this recipe last night, paired with grilled ahi filet. So so good! I kept the avocado out of the salad and just added it to our individual plates with a lime wedge on the side. Next batch will be the full recipe with a little more cilantro, lime zest, and juice. Definitely a keeper, as my husband LOVES anything with black beans!

  • I’m going to make this as a side dish to serve with enchiladas and corn bread for 19 people. Is it enough to double the recipe?

    • Yes, considering you’ll have two other hearty elements to the meal, it should be fine. Hope everyone enjoys!

  • This is my new summer salad go-to!!! Jen, I made your exact recipe and it’s perfect! Thank you for another winner!!

  • I cannot possibly express how amazing this recipe is. Every single time I’ve made it, it is the very 1st thing to go on the buffet table. It is my go to potluck bring-along dish that everyone loves. You will not be disappointed. Even the most discriminating eaters came up to me afterwards and wanted the recipe.

  • This recipe is delicious! I made it for a group of 10 at the campground & it was loved! They all wanted the recipe.

    • — Melissa McAlister
    • Reply
  • This recipe is a winner. Both my mom and I loved it, and we don’t often agree on foods. Makes a nice refreshing vegetarian and/or vegan dinner with cornbread or 2-minute quesadillas.

  • This salad is truly to die for. When planning my dinner meal I failed to even notice that you were supposed to let it marinate overnight so I forged ahead and served it basically immediately and it was still such a hit! A perfect summer salad that you feel like you could just keep eating! Full of great flavors and fresh ingredients. Would definitely recommend. Thanks for another awesome recipe!

  • What can you substitute for cilantro?

    • — elaine nisonoff
    • Reply
    • Hi Elaine, either basil or flat-leaf parsley would work nicely. Enjoy!

  • Is there a recommended substitute for the cayenne pepper?

    • Hi SV, It’s fine to just leave it out.

    • Wow. This recipe is a keeper! I made it last night hoping to have leftovers for today’s lunch….didn’t happen. Everyone loved it. Back to store today to buy more ingredients to repeat the recipe this weekend. I served it with grilled shrimp but it would be great with just about everything.
      Thank you Jenn, once again, for a stand out easy recipe. 👏🏻

  • I made this bean salad and it was delicious and enjoyed by all family members. My 87 year old mother raved about it but was wondering if you could recommend a replacement or adjustment for the corn. She has a difficult time digesting corn these days.

    • Glad it was a hit! You could replace the corn with more black beans and or bell peppers (you could add in a yellow bell pepper for the color contrast). Hope that helps!

  • My family loved this as a salsa!! Fantastic with tortilla chips!! And to that end, I will add jalapeño next time.

  • This recipe tastes fresh and delicious! My family loves it! I add extra cilantro and corn because my familia loves these two vegetables and I make a lime vinaigrette using the amounts of oil (I use grape seed oil) and lime recommended, clover flower honey instead of sugar (not an amber honey), a little bit of black pepper, and coriander to taste. I skip the salt. I blend it into a creamy vinaigrette. We store the dressing and salad separately bc the salad lasts throughout the work week. We dress our individual portions as we eat it throughout the week. I think the dressing would also be good with a little bit of jalapeño (minus the seeds if you don’t like it too spicy) blended in. The contrast of the sweet, tart, and heat would be delicious. This salad is gold! Thank you!

  • Would you recommend using frozen corn if fresh corn is out of season?

    • Sure – enjoy!

  • Hi, this was a great recipe. Flavorful, not spicy. I halved the recipe and it turned out delicious. I would definitely make this for a party! Thank you!!

  • Loved this recipe – beans are not my son’s favorite but served this way was very good. Fresh corn taken from the cob makes all the difference – another favorite from your website.

  • I adore this salad. Have made it several times, and sent the recipe to a friend. Thanks!

  • This is the freshest thing to happen to a taco. (Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t eat salsa.) I love having this with carnitas for dinner and then snacking on it the next day with chips. It’s fresh, light, and delicious! Our store was out of corn on the cob so I used frozen corn and skipped the cooking step. I think it came out wonderful.

  • I love this as a dip for tortilla chips (the whole grain scoops are super yummy and the right chip to dip ratio). It’s summer in a bowl and it is amazing! I also have been known to add Costco cilantro lime shrimp (cut up) to make it a meal!!!

    • — Michelle Irwin
    • Reply
  • This is hands down one of my all time favorite recipes. I make it all summer with the tequila lime chicken (also amazing!), making enough to have leftovers which I turn into burritos. I follow the recipe pretty closely, except that I usually use less oil than is called for (probably about 1/2 to 2/3 of the listed amount). So grateful to have come across this gem!

  • Love this salad in the summertime. Great combination of flavors and textures and is light and refreshing. I’ve never gone wrong with salad recipes from Jenn. Thank you.

  • Delicious salad and liked by everyone. Great side dish for barbeque.
    It makes plenty of dressing and it wasn’t necessary to use it all.

  • I have made this numerous times. It never disappoints but best to eat within 2 days.

  • This was so fresh and delicious! I made a huge batch to share with friends and it was hit. Everyone asked for the recipe. Thanks, Jenn, for another awesome recipe!

  • I made this recipe for lunch because I was tired of my usual mixed green salad with chicken… It’s absolutely delicious, there’s no need to change a thing! I was able to enjoy it even after two full days in the fridge (adding the avocado just before eating, of course). This will become one of my standards!

    • Loved this receipe. I added 1 tsp cumin and 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes.

  • Made this for gatherings a few times and it’s always been a hit! The dressing makes it. Easy and delicious and good for you too!

  • This is the absolute best avacado, corn, bean salsa. No need to look Anywhere else! Perfect balance of tart and sweet and perfect for dipping with chips. I’ve used many of Jenn’s recipes and her recipes always are great. I love this with her grilled tequila chicken. Delish!

    • — Maureen Robinson
    • Reply
  • I’ve made this recipe a few times and it’s delicious the only thing I changed was I added Roma tomatoes instead of the red bell pepper.

    • — Janice Bertini
    • Reply
  • Absolutely love this recipe — it’s the PERFECT side dish for summer BBQs, as a salad for a light lunch, or even as a dip with big homemade tortilla chips. I made a few small tweaks, based on personal taste: I added 3-4 thinly sliced celery stalks for extra crunch and 1 jalapeno that’s been seeded, cored, and diced for a bit of spice. Other than that, this recipe is perfection! I make this at least 2-3 times a month in the summer, and it’s become so popular in my house that my husband asks to always have a bowl in the fridge for snacking.

  • We LOVE this recipe! I have made this so many times over the last couple of months and referred all of my sisters (and a brother) to this site. We like to mix it with quinoa and top it on fish tacos. Also, I substitute the fresh corn with (2) canned for a faster prep time. So Good 😊

  • Best go to side dish to take to any BBQ. Was awesome with just chips, but also eaten alone… by the spoonful. I use extra lime bc I’m a sucker for limes. And I have boiled the corn then grilled it after as well. One of my husbands favorite things for ME to bring to gatherings or for him to snack at home.

    • Anyone used canned corn?

      • Sure did and it was fine.

  • This another one of my go-to Once Upon A Chef recipes. I make this for company and often take it to Super Bowl parties, Memorial Day and July Fourth gatherings. I use a 10-oz bag of thawed frozen corn to keep things simple on myself. I often make this the night before and add the avocados just before serving. This is tasty way to eat a variety of plant-based foods to balance out the less healthy food at parties.

  • This is one of our staple dishes for our annual family beach vacation. Great as a side dish or as a dip for tortilla chips. By the way love the cookbook, it is displayed on a stand in my kitchen.

    • This salad is delicious! It is a perfect compliment to many meals. We’ve enjoyed it at the lake and brought it to a potluck- several moms asked about the recipe. The combination of the fresh vegetables and crisp corn is delicious. Thanks for this great recipe!

  • This salad is always a hit in my summer BBQs. It’s colorful and fun to eat with all the different textures. The flavor is fresh and bright. My family even eats it like a salsa with chips. The prep is definitely a bit of work with all the cutting and chopping but the end product is worth it.

  • Love it! This is a staple in our house for lunch.

  • I have made this salad many times and have shared it with friends and family who LOVE it as much as I cook the corn in the microwave which makes it even easier! Leave corn in the husk and microwave 2-3 ears at a time. Depending on the size of the ears it could take up to 14 minutes to cook. Let the ears rest in the microwave when done cooking. They are ultra hot! I have left them up to 15 minutes and they were still warm. Cut off an inch to an inch and a half from the bottom of ear ear.. The husk and silks will slip right off the ears. Easy-peasy!
    Thanks for making and sharing your recipe for a wonderful salad Jen. I have made many of your recipes and love them all. I continue to look for more too.

  • This is a family favorite! I like to make it ahead except the avocados. So yummy, especially on hot summer days. My hubby uses kidney beans when he makes it, but I’m a fan of the black beans.

  • This is a year round staple in our home! Fresh, delicious, and filling.
    A friend loved it so much that she requested that I make it for her baby shower!
    Thank you for another great recipe, Jenn!

  • I have made this for multiple pot lucks, and it is a winner (add avocado just before serving). I love the intense lime flavor from the zest!

  • This is a family favorite and my teen even asks for it. That by itself is remarkable since she is not an avocado eater except in this recipe. It is perfect as a side dish or but I also like using it served with tortilla chips. I can’t think of anything to improve this recipe.

  • Great salad, easy to make, healthy and it looks great. The only change I made was to cut the sugar by half, next time I will leave it out altogether.

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