Black Bean and Corn Salad is the ultimate healthy summer side dish—packed with fresh corn, black beans, and cherry tomatoes and dressed with a cilantro-lime vinaigrette.
Black Bean and Corn Salad is one of my favorite ways to celebrate summer. Though you can make this dish year-round with canned or frozen corn and supermarket cherry tomatoes (and I do), nothing compares with summer farmers’ market corn and tomatoes. Add black beans, bright lime juice, and cilantro, and you’ve got summer side dish perfection.
Why Make This Dish
- Once you cook your corn on the cob, this dish comes together in minutes, and it’s happy to sit in your refrigerator until you need it. Make it while you’re grilling out back, or make it in advance and serve it the next day.
- And, this black bean corn salad is light and healthy—just the way I like to (try to) eat in the summer. And though I love nothing more than eating a salty, buttery ear of fresh corn, midway through summer, I'm searching for new ways to use those delicious kernels.
- Bring this dish to a summer BBQ or potluck, and you’ll please almost everyone there since this recipe is not only super tasty, but also gluten-free, vegan, and nut-free.
This recipe calls for only 6 ingredients, besides salt and pepper: black beans, corn, cherry tomatoes, lime juice, cilantro, and olive oil.
- Black Beans: Either cook your own first from dried beans, or used canned. You can substitute another kind of beans, chickpeas, or black eyed peas in this dish.
- Corn: I love corn fresh off the cob in this dish, especially in the summer, when there's plenty to go around. But you can also used frozen or canned corn and make this dish year-round. Personally, I love Del Monte’s Summer Crisp canned corn when fresh corn is out of season.
- Cherry Tomatoes: I like how cherry tomatoes keep their shape in this salad, even when sliced in half. If you can't find cherry tomatoes, though, you can replace with full-size tomatoes, chopped into bite-sized chunks. Seasonal, ripe tomatoes will give you the best flavor!
- Lime Juice: You can replace this with lemon juice, or with white wine vinegar or cider vinegar.
- Cilantro: I love the flavor fresh cilantro adds to this dish, but you could try a different twist by using fresh basil or parsley instead.
To start, you’ll need to cook your corn. For my money, the easiest way to cook just a few ears of corn is in the microwave. Just trim off the silk and leaves at the top of each ear of corn and pull off any loose pieces of husk. Then put the corn (still in their husks) on a plate in the microwave and microwave for 10-15 minutes, depending on how large your ears of corn are. In general, an ear of corn will take around 4 minutes, with 2-3 minutes for each additional ear of corn. Remove plate carefully from microwave, and let corn rest for 5 minutes to cool down.
When corn is cool enough to handle, peel back husk and remove corn silk. Then stand corn upright in a large bowl, holding it tightly at the top (you can use the husk you have peeled back for a better grip), and then slice off corn kernels using a sharp chef’s knife.
Drain and rinse the black beans. Rinse the cherry tomatoes and slice each in half. Next, make the vinaigrette. Whisk the lime juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl. Stir in corn kernels, black beans, tomatoes, and cilantro. Taste, and add salt and pepper if necessary. That’s it!
Yes, you can definitely make this black bean corn salad in advance. In fact, it benefits from a few hours of letting the flavors meld. If you let it sit more than a day, it may lose a little flavor, though I often make a big batch and eat it over a few days, and I hardly notice the difference.
I wouldn’t recommend freezing this version of a black bean and corn salad because of the cherry tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes don’t freeze and thaw nicely, and you’ll be left with quite a soggy salad. If you want to try freezing this, just don’t include the tomatoes. Still delicious!
👩🍳 Expert Tips
How to Cook Corn without a Microwave
If you don't have a microwave, you can also cook corn by sautéing it briefly in a nonstick skillet. Just cut off the cob, as shown above, then add to the skillet with a little bit of butter or olive oil. It will only need 2-3 minutes to cook through. Then cool before adding to the salad.
What to Serve with this Black Bean and Corn Salad
This dish really does play well with almost anything. It's a great side dish to grilled meat, tofu or fish, and perfect with a plate of fried chicken. I also like to put it in a big bowl surrounded by tortilla chips and use it as a salsa.
Other Delicious Summer Recipes
If you like this Black Beans and Corn Salad recipe, you may also be interested in another great summer side or main, my Orzo Pasta Salad with Black Beans and Corn. Or, you might be in the mood for some delicious summer appetizers or main courses, like my Old Bay Spiced Shrimp, Classic Nicoise Salad, or Greek Chicken Kabobs with Yogurt Sauce.
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below—I read them all, and your feedback is invaluable to me. And please follow along on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook or subscribe to my newsletter. I'd love to inspire you with more delicious, healthy, and seasonal recipes!
- 4 ears of corn (or 3 cups of corn kernels)
- 1 can low-sodium black beans (15 oz.)
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 3 T. lime juice (from about 2 limes)
- 1/4 c. olive oil
- 1/4 c. chopped cilantro
- 1/2 t. kosher salt
- 1/4 t. freshly ground pepper
- Trim off the silk and leaves at the top of each ear of corn and pull off any loose pieces of husk. Then put the corn (still in their husks) on a plate in the microwave and microwave for 10-15 minutes, depending on how large your ears of corn are. Remove plate carefully from microwave, and let corn rest for 5 minutes to cool down.
- When corn is cool enough to handle, peel back husk and remove corn silk. Then stand corn upright in a large bowl, holding it tightly at the top (you can use the husk you have peeled back for a better grip), and then slice off corn kernels using a sharp chef’s knife.
- Drain and rinse the black beans.
- Rinse the cherry tomatoes and slice each in half.
- Next, make the vinaigrette. Whisk the lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl.
- Stir in corn kernels, black beans, and tomatoes.
- Taste, and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
You can also use canned corn or frozen corn (thawed) for this recipe. If you are cooking fresh corn, note that 1 ear in the microwave generally takes 4 minutes, with 2-3 minutes for each additional ear.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 312Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 448mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 10gSugar: 6gProtein: 10g
Nutrition information is provided as a general reference for users courtesy of the online nutrition calculator Nutritionix.