Black Bean Shrimp Salad with Corn & Pickled Onions

Tested & Perfected Recipes

This flavor-packed black bean shrimp salad is the perfect light weeknight dinner. It also screams summer potluck!

Black Bean Shrimp Salad

Inspired by the lovely cookbook Salads: Beyond the Bowl by Mindy Fox (Kyle Books, 2012), this main course black bean shrimp salad is the perfect light weeknight dinner. It also screams summer potluck.

The recipe does involve a bit of preparation –  first, you quick-pickle the onion, boil the corn, and sauté the shrimp – but, I promise, it all comes together quickly and easily. And it’s worth the effort: each separate element really makes the salad sing. For best results, use only high-quality canned beans, like Bush’s or Goya.

What you’ll need to make black bean shrimp salad

how to make black bean and shrimp salad

How to make black bean shrimp salad

Begin by pickling the onions. In a medium skillet, combine the vinegar, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil, whisking to dissolve the sugar.

how to make black bean and shrimp salad

Add the sliced onion.

how to make black bean and shrimp salad

Reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, gently stirring, until the onions have wilted slightly, 1 to 2 minutes.

how to make black bean and shrimp salad

Transfer the onions and pickling liquid to a heatproof bowl and let cool.

how to make black bean and shrimp salad

Next, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the corn, then cover the pot and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove the corn from the water and let cool.

Holding the cooled corn upright in a large mixing bowl, cut the kernels off the cob in strips.

how to make black bean and shrimp salad

To the bowl of corn, add the beans, scallions, cilantro, 5 tablespoons of the oil, the lime juice and lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and the cumin.

how to make black bean and shrimp salad

Toss well and set aside.

how to make black bean and shrimp salad

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the shrimp and season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.

how to make black bean and shrimp salad

Cook for 1 minute, then add the garlic.

how to make black bean and shrimp salad

Cook, stirring occasionally, just until the shrimp are cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes.

how to make black bean and shrimp salad

Transfer the shrimp to the mixing bowl with the corn, scraping all of the garlicky oil from the pan into the bowl.

how to make black bean and shrimp salad

Toss the salad, then taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary (be sure to taste the salad with the pickled onions and feta; they balance the flavor).

how to make black bean and shrimp salad

Transfer to a serving bowl. Crumble the feta over the salad, gently toss, and sprinkle with extra cilantro and fresh ground black pepper, if desired. Remove the pickled onions from their pickling liquid and serve on the side.

how to make black bean shrimp salad

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Black Bean Shrimp Salad with Corn & Pickled Onions

This flavor-packed black bean shrimp salad is the perfect light weeknight dinner. It also screams summer potluck!

Servings: 4 to 6
Prep Time: 25 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 35 Minutes

Ingredients

For the Pickled Onions

  • 3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

For the Salad

  • 2 ears fresh corn
  • Two (15-oz) cans black beans, best quality such as Bush's or Goya, rinsed and well-drained
  • 3 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
  • Freshly ground black pepper, for serving

Instructions

For the Pickled Onions

  1. In a medium skillet, combine the vinegar, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil, whisking to dissolve the sugar. Add the onion, reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, gently stirring, until the onions have wilted slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the onions and pickling liquid to a heatproof bowl and let cool.

For the Salad

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the corn, then cover the pot and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove the corn from the water and let cool. Holding the cooled corn upright in a large mixing bowl, cut the kernels off the cob in strips.
  2. To the bowl of corn, add the beans, scallions, cilantro, 5 tablespoons of the oil, the lime juice and lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and the cumin. Toss well and set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the shrimp and season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook for 1 minute, then add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are just cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Transfer the shrimp to the mixing bowl with the corn, scraping all of the garlicky oil from the pan into the bowl. Toss the salad, then taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary (be sure to taste the salad with the pickled onions and feta; they balance the flavor). Transfer to a serving bowl. Crumble the feta over the salad, gently toss, and sprinkle with extra cilantro and fresh ground black pepper, if desired. Remove the pickled onions from their pickling liquid and serve on the side. The salad may be served room temperature or cold.
  5. Make-Ahead: The salad is best served on the same day of assembling, but it can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Taste and adjust seasoning again before serving.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 459
  • Fat: 24 g
  • Saturated fat: 6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 40 g
  • Sugar: 10 g
  • Fiber: 11 g
  • Protein: 23 g
  • Sodium: 805 mg
  • Cholesterol: 112 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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Reviews & Comments

  • Absolutely yummy! I ended up adding the pickled onions, to the finished salad as I would any other ingredient instead of on the side. Ate leftovers for breakfast and it was wonderful – so refreshing!

    • — Vicki on July 3, 2019
    • Reply
  • this salad became our favorite salad for summer and meal for dinner. I made this salad, german potato salad and 4 pounds of chicken tenders, all other food was catered . And all Jenn’s food was gone quickly. People were taking pictures of it 🙂 so delicious.

    • — Edith on July 1, 2019
    • Reply
  • Amazing, we couldn’t stop eating, next day took with me to work for lunch – still was so good. Planning my baby’s 1st bday. I tried many recipes from book and from here, everything turns out great. this is one of the dishes that will be on the table.very healthy and light.

    • — Edith on June 12, 2019
    • Reply
    • So glad you enjoyed it, Edith. Happy birthday to your baby!

      • — Jenn on June 12, 2019
      • Reply
      • Thank you. Even my baby loves your scrambled eggs from your book. Every saturday my family is requesting eggs with “grass” (dill) 🙂 so simple and so delicious.

        • — Edith on June 12, 2019
        • Reply
  • Jenn,
    You are an amazing chef and teacher! This salad is delicious. I’m curious about why the pickled onions are served on the side? It’s certainly beautiful this way and I’m not sure how they would hold up or look mixed in, but I’m sure you have an educated reason.
    Many thanks!

    • — Laura Macauley on April 27, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Laura, I think I did that because they look prettier that way. Totally fine to mix them in, if you prefer. 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 27, 2019
      • Reply
  • Have you ever made this when corn is out of season? I am craving this salad but it is January. Do you think defrosted, frozen corn is the way to go?

    • — Katie on January 8, 2019
    • Reply
    • Sure, Katie, frozen corn should work here. Just defrost it first. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on January 8, 2019
      • Reply
  • I never would have thought to put all of these ingredients together, but I am so glad you did! They all work so well together, the taste is fresh and flavorful. I have been taking this to work for lunch and I find myself thinking about that wonderful salad waiting for me in my lunchbox. Thank you for another super recipe!

    • — Trudy Black on October 4, 2018
    • Reply
  • Can a sweeter white onion (NoonDay/Vidalia) be substituted and taste well?

    • — Carol on September 4, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Carol, I haven’t tried this with a sweet onion, but I suspect it will be fine. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 5, 2018
      • Reply
      • I love this dish. Emailed it to my son who lives alone and likes to cook. It’s good anytime, but extra good as a summer supper.

        • — Phyllis on May 9, 2019
        • Reply
    • Jenn! Another amazing dish! I made as written but doubled the shrimp!

      Just can’t go wrong with any of your recipes! Thank you so much!

      • — Lydia on May 26, 2019
      • Reply
  • Delicious! Flavors play off each other so well! I didn’t change a thing and meat-and-potatoes hubby (who doesn’t like cilantro) says this is a keeper. Thank you for another wonder recipe!

    • — Linda on August 24, 2018
    • Reply
  • This is fantastic! So much flavor! I absolutely love your recipes! Thank you!

    • — Daffydil on August 20, 2018
    • Reply
  • Looks delish! How long should the pickled onions keep if stored in lets say a Mason jar and refrigerated?

    • — Laura on August 17, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Laura, They’ll keep well for a few weeks — and if you have extra they are good on everything! Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 17, 2018
      • Reply
  • So good! I only made a half recipe, and will likely regret that. Already had some pickled onions, so it was quite quick. The sweet crispy corn and onions go so well with the garlicky shrimp, creamy feta and beans. Great combination of flavors. Thanks!

    • — Betty on August 14, 2018
    • Reply
  • Very good. Prepared as described but added avocado and quartered grape tomatoes. The pickled onions add a pretty and unexpected punch. Light and tasty summer dinner.

    • — Kim on August 9, 2018
    • Reply
  • Home run. This was absolutely delicious….an orchestra of flavors! Enjoyed by my entire family.

    • — Marian on August 9, 2018
    • Reply
  • Would love to make this Any substitute for the feta? In general what works in its place as many recipes are using it and my family shys away if there is feta in a dish. Thank you!

    • — Evelyn on August 9, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Evelyn, You can leave it out – or try queso fresco, which is milder in flavor than feta.

      • — Jenn on August 9, 2018
      • Reply
  • Can I substitute basil for the cilantro?

    • — Karen Kaplan on August 9, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Karen, If you use basil, you might leave out the cumin. Otherwise, you could try parsley or just omit the herbs entirely — it will still be delicious.

      • — Jenn on August 9, 2018
      • Reply
  • This sounds delicious – but is there a substitute for cilantro. I’ll eat it but not crazy about it. Thanks!

    • — Janice Cohen on August 9, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Janice – totally fine to just leave it out. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 9, 2018
      • Reply
  • Could this be served warm with quinoa?

    • — Sharon on August 9, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Sharon, I think that’d be delicious.

      • — Jenn on August 9, 2018
      • Reply
  • Is this salad best served room temp or cold ?

    • — Lisa on August 9, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Lisa, It’s delicious either way but I prefer room temp.

      • — Jenn on August 9, 2018
      • Reply
  • Rather than feta, wouldn’t cotija or other soft Mexican cheese be more fitting?

    • — Susan on August 9, 2018
    • Reply
    • Those will work well, too, Susan – sometimes they can be hard to find.

      • — Jenn on August 9, 2018
      • Reply
  • It doesn’t say how many onions to slice to pickle them. Or is that the 3 scallions? The pictures look like red onions? I want to try this.

    • — Bruce Robertson on August 9, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Bruce, Thanks for catching that — it’s one medium red onion, thinly sliced.

      • — Jenn on August 9, 2018
      • Reply
  • The onion is missing from the recipe. Can parm or another cheese be used vs, feta?

    • — Joyce on August 9, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Joyce, Instead of feta, you could try queso fresco.

      • — Jenn on August 9, 2018
      • Reply
      • Served it to 9 women and we all loved it. Tasted just as good the second day with the little leftovers there was.

        • — Ar on June 19, 2019
        • Reply

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