This fresh and healthy, Southwest black bean corn salad is easy to make with just a handful of ingredients.

Black bean corn salad with avocado on a small white plate with cilantro and lime on the side.

This quick and easy, Southwest-inspired corn salad is perfect for a Summer side dish but can also standalone as a light main dish. This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, refined sugar-free and a good source of plant-based protein and dietary fiber.

Ingredient Notes

This bright and tangy, fresh salad calls for the following ingredients:

  1. Black beans. I used canned black beans but you can always cook your own if you prefer.
  2. Corn. Canned, fresh or frozen corn all work great. Try roasted corn for extra flavour!
  3. Cilantro. If you ask me, any Mexican or Southwest-inspired dish needs lots of cilantro. You’ll need a big handful, finely chopped.
  4. Bell peppers. I used 1 red bell pepper but you can use any colour or a a combination of colours.
  5. Jalapeno. You’ll need 1 jalapeno, de-seeded and finely chopped. Make sure you wash your hands after handling!
  6. Lime. You’ll need 1 fresh lime to zest to add the best tangy lime flavour to this salad.
  7. Dressing. The season the salad, I used chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, maple syrup and vinegar.
Southwest black bean corn salad in a large mixing bowl on a white surface.

How to Make this Salad

There’s not much to making this salad. All you need to do is chop up all the veggies and then mix everything in a bowl! So easy!

Step 1: Drain and Rinse the beans

If you’re using canned black beans, drain them and give them a good rinse before adding to the salad. If you’re cooking your own, you’ll need about 1.25 cups cooked beans.

Step 2: Add the corn and chopped veggies

Next, chop the red onion, bell pepper, cilantro, garlic and jalapeno, add to the bowl with the beans and mix it all up.

What kind of corn should I use? I used frozen corn that quickly defrosted in the microwave. If you don’t use a microwave, you can thaw it in the fridge or heat it stovetop. Canned corn is also fine to use. If corn is in season, go ahead and use fresh corn on the cob, slicing the kernels off the cob once cooked.

Chopped bell pepper on a cutting board beside a bowl of black beans, corn and jalapeno.

Chopped red onion on a cutting board beside a bowl of black beans, corn and bell pepper.

Step 3: Add Lime Zest

To add tangy lime flavour to the salad without extra liquid, I added 2 tsp of fresh lime zest. To make lime zest, simply grate the skin of a lime using a fine grate until you have about 2 tsp worth of “zest”. Add that right into the salad.

A knife chopping lime zest on a cutting board beside a bowl of black bean corn salad.

Step 4: Add Southwest Spices and Mix

To flavour the salad, I used a simple chili powder and cumin combo, plus salt and pepper. If you want extra heat, you can add a pinch of cayenne or red pepper flakes but keep in mind it already has jalapeno.

Add a bit of vinegar and maple syrup to finish it off and that’s it! Mix it all up and it’s ready to serve.

Black beans, red onion, lime zest, garlic, bell pepper, corn and jalapeno in a glass mixing bowl.

Black bean corn salad with red onion and bell pepper in a glass mixing bowl.

How to Serve

Recipe Variations

This recipe is delicious as written but if you want to make it your own, go ahead and try adding 1/2 to 1 cup of any of the following:

  • cooked brown rice or quinoa
  • diced tomato
  • cooked pasta such as rotini or penne
  • cauliflower rice
A small plate of black bean corn salad with bell pepper and red onion with a few slices of avocado on the plate.

More Easy Vegan Salads

Loving this healthy corn salad? You might like these too:

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Black bean corn salad with avocado on a small white plate with cilantro and lime on the side.

Black Bean Corn Salad

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 5 reviews
  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Salad
  • Cuisine: Southwest
  • Diet: Vegan
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A classic Southwest salad featuring fresh veggies and a sweet and tangy dressing. Enjoy on its own as a light main dish or as a side to your favourite Summer meals. Works great as a dip or in tacos too!


  • 1 14 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 jalapeno, de-seeded and minced
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp lime zest
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • avocado for serving, optional


  1. Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl and mix well.
  2. Serve right away topped with avocado or store in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

UPDATE NOTE: This recipe was originally published on July 12, 2014.