This Black Bean Corn Salad is so embarrassingly easy to make (no cooking!), summery fresh, and even good for us, it feels 100% like cheating. Let’s get away with it.
You know when you want to bring a side to a potluck but you don’t actually want to spend *that* much time making it?
You want it to taste phenomenal, of course. People could gush. That’s nice too.
You just don’t want to actually spend more than 15 minutes in the kitchen. I’ve been there! Your secret is safe with me.
This black bean corn salad is a recipe for these low-effort, max-reward times. It’s so dead-simple, it hardly feels like cooking at all.
Guess what? People will gush anyway!
Because this salad is GOOD.
Made with corn, black beans, feta, tomatoes, literally any green herb, and a squeeze of lime (or balsamic vinegar or even apple cider vinegar), this is a no-cook/raid-your-garden-and-pantry scenario, and it totally works.
I mean, you can get fancy if you are feeling it—this Grilled Corn Salad with Avocado and Tomato can attest to the elevated smokiness that grilled corn adds to a salad—but it’s not mandatory by any means.
You can even use frozen corn right out of the bag. That will work too.
In addition to being a dynamite summer side, this healthy black bean and corn salad has main dish potential.
Black beans and corn are good for you (hello fiber and protein), so this salad is a springboard for other healthy recipes. I have ideas for you below.
How to Make Black Bean Corn Salad
When summer wants to be a salad, it is black bean corn tomato salad. Easy, breezy, and bountiful, this is laid-back cooking at its best.
- Black Beans. Creamy and hearty, beans make this salad more filling. Black beans are packed with fiber and potassium (see all their health benefits here).
- Corn. A sweet match for the black beans! While corn can get a bad rap for being starchy, it does offer some wonderful health benefits. Corn is a good source of fiber and contains vitamins like folate and B6 (read more about corn health benefits here).
- Tomatoes. Juicy bursts of sweet tomato flavor are scrumptious with the corn and black beans.
- Feta. A creamy, salty, cheesy addition, it gives a nod to Mexican street corn.
- Herbs. I used a mix of mint and cilantro. The mint is especially surprising and refreshing. Any blend of tender garden herbs will work well.
- Lime Juice. Brings brightness and zip to every bite. Just about any acid will work here. Lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, or apple cider vinegar are all excellent options (if you use either vinegar, reduce it to 1 tablespoon to start).
- Place the corn kernels in a large bowl with the rest of the salad ingredients (save some of the feta for serving)>
- Stir, and top with the remaining feta.
- Let set in the refrigerator for a few minutes (if you can resist). DIG IN!
Quick Tips to Easily Cut Corn From the Cob
Tired of the kernels you cut from the cob flying all over your counter? Here are a few ideas to try.
- Stand the corn up in a shallow bowl, and very carefully use a sharp knife to cut along the sides of the cob. The bowl will catch all the kernels.
- Lay the corn on a cutting board, and cut the kernels off one side of the cob. Rotate the cob so the cut (flat) side is down, and cut another side. Continue until all sides are done.
- Stand the corn up in the hole of a bundt pan, and carefully cut the kernels off of each side. The kernels will fall off the cob and into the bundt pan.
- Black Bean Corn Avocado Salad. For additional creaminess, add 1 diced avocado, either in addition to or in place of the feta. Since avocado can turn brown, wait to add until within 1 hour of serving. This is a great option if you need the salad to be vegan or dairy free. (The salad is already gluten free.)
- Sautéed Corn Black Bean Salad. Heat 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes. (If using canned or frozen, thawed corn, pat it dry first.) Let cool, then add to the salad as directed.
- Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salad. In a mixing bowl, coat the corn kernels with 2 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil. Spread the kernels into an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until browned, tossing once or twice throughout (watch carefully at the end so they don’t burn!). Let cool, then add to the salad as directed.
- Grilled Corn Black Bean Tomato Salad. Lightly char the ears on a grill over medium heat; let cool, and cut the kernels from the cob. Add to the salad as directed.
What to Serve with Corn Black Bean Salad
Many dishes pair well with black beans, so this is a versatile recipe!
More Ways to Use Black Bean Corn Salad
This recipe is easy to make ahead and can last several days in the refrigerator. Try your leftovers in a few of these creative ways.
- As a Burrito or Quesadilla. Warm up the leftovers, then tuck them into a tortilla, and enjoy it as a burrito or pan fry it, quesadilla-style. Add some Grilled Chicken Tenders for additional protein.
- As a Salad. Pile it onto a bed of lettuce for an easy salad variation. Drizzle with extra lime juice and olive oil for a quick dressing.
- As a Dip. Serve this as a dip with a side of tortilla chips.
Make Ahead and Storage Tips
- To Make Ahead. Combine the corn, tomatoes, and black beans in a mixing bowl up to 1 day in advance. Stir in the remaining salad ingredients just before serving.
- To Store. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
More Stellar Summer Salads
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Citrus Juicer. An easier way to juice lemons and limes; you’ll get far more juice from every fruit.
- Mixing Bowls. Perfect for prepping salads like this one.
- Sharp Chef’s Knife. A sharp, high-quality knife is great for cutting corn off the cob.
Black Bean Corn Salad
This easy and healthy black bean and corn salad tastes like summer! Use fresh or frozen corn to make this light, healthy, and delicious summer side.
Servings: 6 servings
Place your corn kernels in a large mixing bowl. If using fresh kernels, include any of the milk that comes off the cob. If using frozen corn, you don’t even need to thaw it all the way first.
To the bowl, add the black beans, tomatoes, mint, olive oil, lime juice, salt, pepper, and two-thirds of the feta.
Stir to combine, then taste and adjust the salt and pepper as desired. Sprinkle the final one-third feta over the top.
If time allows, place in the refrigerator to set for 15 minutes. Enjoy!
- *For options to roast, grill, or saute the corn before adding it to the salad, see the blog post above. My favorite way to make this (because it’s the ideal meeting point between extremely easy and delicious) is to use corn cut freshly from the cob, without cooking it at all.
- **My favorite is a blend of half mint, half cilantro. For those who don’t care for cilantro, basil is also wonderful and very summery.
- ***In place of lime, you can play around with 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or 1/2 to 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (apple cider vinegar is the strongest). If the salad comes out too acidic for your taste with one of the vinegars, drizzle in a little honey or sprinkle on some sugar to balance it.
- TO STORE: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
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