Black Bean and Corn Salad with Tomatoes + Cilantro is an easy, zesty, addictive recipe that's delicious as a side salad or dipped up with chips!
Sometimes a salad is more than just a salad. And that's certainly the case when it comes to this Black Bean and Corn Salad with Tomatoes + Cilantro!
When I'm serving enchiladas or other Tex-Mex fare, I make this salad. When I'm throwing a party and need a hearty dip to go with tortilla chips, I make this salad. If I want a flavor-infused topping for otherwise-blah chicken or fish, I make this salad. And when the garden is overrun with tomatoes and cilantro but I'm all salsa-ed out (who am I kidding? I could never get tired of salsa), I make this salad.
By now, you've probably gotten the hint that this Black Bean and Corn Salad is a pretty versatile recipe. Around my house, it's much loved as well. Even my non-tomato liking husband (help me comprehend) happily eats it. And, let me tell you, not many recipes can get him to eat an uncooked tomato.
There are many variations of this salad. I've seen it go by an assortment of names. Texas Caviar, anyone? But I can promise you that this particular incarnation of Black Bean and Corn Salad...or Texas Caviar....or whateveryouwanttocallit is positively THE BEST!
What's In Black Bean and Corn Salad?
Let's start with a discussion of the ingredients, shall we?
- Canned black beans...rinsed and drained.
- Frozen corn...thawed.
- Small tomatoes...halved. I typically use grape tomatoes, so if you use larger cherry tomatoes, you may need to quarter them.
- Fresh cilantro...chopped. And in my opinion, the more, the merrier.
- A simple vinaigrette...featuring garlic and fresh-squeezed lime juice.
The jalapeños here are optional, but I don't think you should leave them out altogether because they add yet another flavor profile to this yummy recipe. If you prefer a mild salad, just make sure to remove all of the seeds and membranes before dicing the jalapeños very finely. If you're still afraid, use one jalapeño instead of two. On the other hand, if you can handle the heat, leave the seeds and membranes intact when you dice your peppers.
Also, if you detect that some of the corn in these photos looks yellow and some of it looks white...no, there is nothing wrong with your computer monitor. When I can find bicolor corn in the freezer section, I like to use both shades to make this recipe. Not because yellow and white corn taste any different, but because they sure do look purty. 😉
I think what makes this dish so good are all of the flavors going on at the same time. You have the creamy black beans, the sweet corn, and the refreshing cilantro balanced out by the bright, acidic tomatoes. Then all of that yumminess is enveloped in a garlicky, lime-infused dressing that'll make you want to shout "Olé!"
Or maybe you'll only shout "Olé!" if you've had a few too many margaritas to accompany your Mexican fare. But that's neither here nor there.
Tips for Enjoying Black Bean and Corn Salad
Now I'm not gonna lie. Even when I enjoy this salad as a side dish, I still like to scoop it up with chips. The crunch is a nice contrast to the other textures going on. Yessirrrr, I'm all about the textures.
Furthermore, while plain tortilla chips are just dandy, the lightly seasoned ones make even tastier mediums for scooping because they really seem to bring out the sweetness of the corn. I'm not talking about Nacho Cheese Doritos here, y'all. But if you are lucky enough to live in Texas or another state that sells Julio's, they are awesome with this recipe (or with anything else, but I digress). I also recently discovered some Hatch Chile tortilla chips at my grocery store that make for pretty tasty dippers as well.
The last thing I want to mention is that the delectable dressing used to coat this salad is actually very concentrated. It needs to be, because it's going to be spread out over a bunch of ingredients. That being said, just don't think that you can splash it on a salad of mixed greens as-is. I'm sure you could turn it into a traditional salad dressing by adding more olive oil and cutting back on the salt and pepper. But the way it's mixed according to the directions below ends up being perfect for this Black Bean and Corn Salad with Tomatoes + Cilantro recipe...so don't be afraid of how strong it is if you happen to taste-test it before mixing it in.
So have I convinced you to try this salad/salsa/dip/bowl-o'-summer-deliciousness? I hope so! It's healthy, it's summery, it's simple, and it's scrumptious!
More Summer Sides
Black Bean and Corn Salad with Tomatoes + Cilantro
For the dressing:
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the salad:
- 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained & rinsed
- 16 ounces frozen corn
- 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved (OR about 2 extra-large tomatoes, seeded & chopped)
- 1 to 2 fresh jalapeños, finely diced
- 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- Make dressing by whisking all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly incorporated, or shaking them in a jar with a tightly-fitting lid. Set aside.
- Place rinsed black beans in a very large bowl. Thaw corn by placing it in a colander and running it under warm water; drain well and add to bowl. Add tomatoes, jalapeños, and cilantro to bowl, pour dressing over top, and gently mix all ingredients with a large spoon until well combined.
- For mild jalapeños, remove the seeds and membranes before dicing. For added heat, leave all or some of the seeds and/or membranes intact.
- If you have time, refrigerate the salad for several hours before serving to allow the flavors to blend, then allow to come to room temperature and stir well before serving.
Post originally published on July 11, 2013.