Easy Black Bean Salad

This Easy Black Bean Salad is a summer staple in our house.  It’s delicious as either a side dish with grilled food or as a dip with tortilla chips!

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This Easy Black Bean Salad is a summer staple in our house.  It's delicious as either a side dish with grilled food or as a dip with tortilla chips!Every recipe has a story.  It might be a recipe for your favorite cookie that was passed down from your grandmother (or your sister).  It might be an appetizer recipe that a friend shared with you.  It might be this Maple Bacon Chili recipe that you stumbled across online and is now a cold weather staple in your house.  This Easy Black Bean Salad has a story, too…but its story is a little different.

This Easy Black Bean Salad was a staple growing up.  My Mom would always make a batch of this one to serve in the summer alongside grilled chicken or hamburgers.  And I never ate it.  Nope.  Not one bite.  (And I wonder where Robbie gets his picky eating from!)

This Easy Black Bean Salad is a summer staple in our house.  It's delicious as either a side dish with grilled food or as a dip with tortilla chips!But I vividly remember one time when my half-sister was visiting with her husband, and my mother made a batch of this Easy Black Bean Salad.  My mother and brother-in-law were the only ones who ate this salad, so there were plenty of leftovers.  My mother put ’em in a large gallon-sized bag, and offered them to my sister-in-law.  She politely declined, and that’s where the shenanigans began.  I slipped the bag into the back of her car as she packing up.  She slipped the bag back into the kitchen.  I turned around and tucked the bag into that little compartment in the driver’s side door.  And off went the leftovers of that Easy Black Bean Salad.  (To be fair, my brother-in-law loved this salad, and he was driving…so he was quite happy to head down the road with that bag of leftovers.)

This Easy Black Bean Salad is a summer staple in our house.  It's delicious as either a side dish with grilled food or as a dip with tortilla chips!Fast forward 20 years, and this Easy Black Bean Salad is now a staple in our house.  My mother made it for Laura when I took her home to visit for the first time, and Laura loved it.  I had become a bit more “adventurous” in my eating by that point, and I realized this salad is delicious.  It is the perfect side dish for summer!  And since it doesn’t include any mayo or dairy, this Easy Black Bean Salad is a great option for summer picnics.

This Easy Black Bean Salad is a summer staple in our house.  It's delicious as either a side dish with grilled food or as a dip with tortilla chips!

Black Bean Salad

The hardest part about making this salad is just chopping up the veggies.  There’s no cooking involved.  Just dicing up peppers, onions and maybe corn.  My mom’s version of this recipe included a can of corn, but I like to use raw, fresh corn when it’s in season.  We typically serve several spoonfuls of this Easy Black Bean Salad as a side dish along with tasty grilled food.  However, it’s worth noting that Laura’s sister came up with a whole new way to enjoy this salad…as a dip.  She grabbed a bag of tortilla chips and dug in.  And I’ve gotta admit that this salad can definitely do double-time as a dip.  No matter how you serve it, it’s easy and it’s delicious!

And whenever my mother offered leftovers of this salad for us to take back to Atlanta, I didn’t think twice!  Enjoy, friends!

This Easy Black Bean Salad is a summer staple in our house.  It's delicious as either a side dish with grilled food or as a dip with tortilla chips!

This Easy Black Bean Salad is a summer staple in our house.  It's delicious as either a side dish with grilled food or as a dip with tortilla chips!

Easy Black Bean Salad

This Easy Black Bean Salad is a summer staple in our house.  It’s delicious as either a side dish with grilled food or as a dip with tortilla chips!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 347kcal



  • Using a small mixing bowl whisk together vinegar, oil, salt, pepper and garlic; set aside.
  • Using a large mixing bowl, add black beans, corn, bell peppers and onion. Add olive oil mixture and toss until well combined. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • Prior to serving, squeeze a fresh lime on top of salad and {optional} garnish with freshly chopped cilantro.


If fresh corn is available, I slice 3 ears of raw corn instead.

This Easy Black Bean Salad is a summer staple in our house.  It's delicious as either a side dish with grilled food or as a dip with tortilla chips!

Looking for more summer side dishes?  Check out these other favorites, too:

Packed with fresh veggies and perfectly toasted bread cubes, Panzanella is a classic side dish that's great for summer entertaining!Panzanella

Caponata is a tasty and colorful summer recipe.  Serve it as an appetizer with toasted bread or as a side dish alongside grilled fish or chicken!Caponata

Fresh summer corn.  Crispy bacon.  Parmesan cheese.  This Creamed Corn with Bacon is a delicious side dish for summer grilling!Creamed Corn with Bacon

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  1. Beautiful Salad David. I love the addition of red onion in it. So fresh and so simple to make. BTW I loved the story behind this recipe. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Puja! It’s funny that I used to not like this black bean salad. I mean I wouldn’t even touch it. But now it’s one of my summer favorites! We make a batch of this probably 3-4 times each summer! 🙂

  2. I was really afraid your story would end with your brother-in-law not realizing the salad was in the car until weeks later. . .so I’m glad there was a happy ending :). But why wouldn’t you eat this when you were younger? This is the kind of salad I go crazy for in the summer. I love that it uses corn, too. I’ve been getting insanely good corn lately and am looking for more ways to use it!

    1. Oh man, that would’ve been a terrible story, Kelsie. Can you imagine finding a bag of bean salad in the car after 3 weeks…in the southern summer heat, no less! So I have no idea why I hated this recipe as a kid. I’m pretty sure it was because of the black beans. Funny thing is I love black beans now. I just refused to try them as a kid. Hey, don’t try to understand the logic of a kid! 🙂

    1. Haha…you’re totally right about that one, Kathy! It’s funny that I hated this recipe as a kid because it really is one of our favorite summer recipes now. I’d guess we make this one every couple of weeks during the warmer months! 🙂

  3. LOL! Love your story! I refused to eat leftovers as a kid and even had a shirt that said, “Life’s too short to eat leftovers!” But now I eat them all the time and even use them in recipes. So funny how we change. I’m hoping my kids will be more willing to eat certain things as they get older too. This looks like the perfect salad for not only summer grilling, but to serve along side with taco night! Mmmm…so fresh and colorful! Can’t wait to try! 🙂

    1. No way! That’s too funny about the leftovers shirt, Sherri. And, yes, it’s a good thing we change as we get older. I mean I hated this recipe as a kid, and now it’s a summer favorite! Like you, I hope my son decides to be a bit more adventurous in his eating. He decides quickly whether or not he’ll try something, and then that’s it. Good luck changing his mind! I love the idea of serving this black bean salad with taco night. Yum!

  4. Hi David! This looks delicious! A really nice alternative to potato or pasta salad, especially in this heat! I refused to eat lots of things when I was a kid (mainly because my mother hated to cook and she was a terrible at it). Now there are only a handful of foods I don’t like, liver being at the top of that list
    (except chicken livers which I love!).

    1. You’re totally right about this black bean salad being a great alternative to heavier summer side dishes. I think that’s why my sister-in-law actually thought it was a dip for tortilla chips. We enjoy serving it alongside burgers, but in my sister-in-law’s defense, it’s pretty darned good as a dip! Now as far as liver, I’m with you. (And I include chicken liver in there.) I’ve tried it, and it’s just not my thing.

    1. I’m with ya, Abbe! I feel like this is one of those recipes where everyone has a version, and the version changes slightly each time. But now you have a starting point. 🙂 Thanks so much, my friend!

  5. Love family recipes, those are the best! And you never ate it growing up? There were things I didn’t eat too and just tried to hide under my plate, lol. I have a similar recipe coming up in a bit, but it’s salsa-ish. Love black beans and corn and I’m pretty sure I could make a meal out of just this salad. So colourful and filling! Big time yum! Hope you have an awesome weekend, David 🙂

    1. Haha! I totally remember pushing things around my plate and trying to pretend that I ate more than I did. Where do we learn that habit? I ask because I’ve noticed Robbie starting to do the same thing! Too funny. 🙂 But now I love this Black Bean Salad! Can’t wait to see your version soon. Hope you had a great weekend, Dawn!

    1. I hear ya! But do you eat peas now? Laura still doesn’t like peas much, but I love ’em! And I love this black bean salad, too. It’s a summer staple around here!

  6. This is such a wonderfully fresh and vibrant looking salad David. This would go brilliantly with a BBQ. I’m pinning this. I’ve got an idea in my head that this will come in handy in a couple of weeks time at a BBQ party we’ve been invited to! Thanks 🙂

    1. This is one of our favorite summer picnic/BBQ side dishes! It’s light and easy to make, and it just screams summer. We’ve even been known to make this one in the winter just to pretend like it’s warm outside. Haha! Thanks so much, my friend!

  7. Yes, kids can be picky (often in weird ways) when it comes to food (my nephew used to like blueberry jam while he detested fresh blueberries). I don’t remember things I wouldn’t eat as a kid. Instead there’re some things which I used to love, but now I think “How?” and “Why?” (Please don’t ask me to give you any recipes. They are THAT bad). I’m actually quite surprised why you wouldn’t touch this salad as it’s rather simple and doesn’t have any “suspicious” ingredients. But, as I said, sometimes it’s hard to understand kid’s logic. Delicious one!

    1. Your comment about your nephew reminds me of how so many kids love ketchup but hate tomatoes. I was one of those kids when I was younger. I loved fries with ketchup but I wouldn’t touch a tomato to save my life! Now I love a good tomato, and I don’t eat ketchup very often. Funny how that works, right? Either way, I’m on board with this black bean salad now. In fact, it’s one of our favorites! Thanks, Ben!

    1. This black bean salad totally falls into that category, Dawn! I wouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot pole when I was a kid…and now I look forward to it. Funny how that works, right? 🙂

  8. Haha – you guys played musical chairs or er, musical black-bean-salad-bags! Btw – I hope that black bean salad didn’t sit in that drivers side door too long before being found – I for one would probably have sniffed this one out and proceeded to eat and drive…oh wait… that’s easier said than done with the supposedly strict hands free laws down here 🙂
    Seriously though, so so glad this doesn’t include any mayo or dairy and I love your sister in laws way of eating this with chips! Sounds like a good game day salad/dip too, my friend!

    1. We totally played musical chairs with that bag of black bean salad! I think my brother-in-law was totally ok with ‘losing’ that game though since it meant he got to go home with a big bag of black bean salad. (We told him where the bag was hiding once they had left our house!) Also, I hear ya on the supposedly strict hands-free laws. New York has laws about it, but I’m pretty sure I could set up a full 5-course meal and eat with both hands while driving, and I wouldn’t get in trouble. (Not that I would do that…but I’m making the point!) Either way, this black bean salad really is a summer staple around our house. Thanks, Shashi!

  9. This looks amazing, David! I’d love to dip into this with chips or just eat it straight with a spoon! So many flavors and textures I love…

    1. I would never have thought about this black bean salad as a dip, but as my sister-in-law pointed out, you can change ‘salad’ to ‘dip’ and serve it with tortilla chips. It’s tasty both ways! 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Karly! This salad is almost embarrassingly easy to make (just requires some chopping), but it’s one of our summer favorites! 🙂

  10. This looks very similar to one I used to make and I always made a big batch of it but only take out a portion at a time during BBQ ‘s . That’s because I had a plan to keep as much as possible for myself lol. Of course there was one time when the bowl on the table had to be replenished which made me kind of sad.

    I like this salad because it’s great to add to it for leftover lunches. I would slice leftover roast beef, chicken or deli meat (even canned tuna ) and add it in my leftovers for work lunches . I’ve also would also make chicken tacos and add this on top . I’ve also have been known to just spoon this black bean salad in a Romaine lettuce leaf for low carb tacos.

    1. Hey Ghislaine! I totally know what you mean about saving back as much of this salad as possible. We’ve even been known to make a double batch just so we’ll have plenty of leftovers! And you’re totally right that this salad makes for great (and easy) work lunches. I don’t think we’ve ever used this as a taco topping, but it would be great for that, too. Next time! Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting! 🙂

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