This is the BEST Corn & Black Bean Salad! This recipe is healthy, EASY to prepare & fresh, making it perfect for summer! The best part? It’s vegan & gluten free!
|Why You’ll Love This Recipe
|Black Bean Salad Nutritional Facts
|The Best Black Bean Salad Ingredients
|The Best Black Bean Salad Dressings
|Common FAQ & Tips
Standing over a blazing stove in the peak of summer is the WORST!
At the moment it’s so HOT that I can’t imagine eating large meals, let alone cook them. But luckily, this Mexican inspired Quinoa, Corn & Black Bean Salad is perfect for those days.
A few weeks ago the electricity went out along with the air conditioning. In any other season that would be ok, but it’s the peak of summer and it’s been raining for weeks. The air is thick and heavy, creating a haze as the moisture evaporates in the 30-degree heat. At the moment, there is nothing to do but wait. Wait for the hot smog to pass.
We lost the electricity exactly at 6:00 p.m when we usually prepare dinner. Starving but scared to heat the apartment by cooking, I explored what we had to create a delicious and nourishing meal.
Using some left-over quinoa, pantry staples and some fresh leafy ingredients, I created this delicious crunchy summer salad. Sitting around the table in darkness, illuminated by one candle, we devoured our dinner hastily. It was the perfect combination of texture and flavour that is bright and revitalising.
Since that summer evening, we’ve added this recipe to our regular meal plan. It’s perfect as an easy plant-based lunch or dinner, but also an awesome meal to take to a BBQ with friends.
I have no doubt you’ll love it as much as we do!
- PERFECT SUMMER RECIPE – Prepared using an abundant of fresh ingredients, this is the BEST Quinoa, Corn and Black Bean Salad I’ve ever tried!
- NO COOK TIME – Requiring little prep and a few pantry staples, this recipe gives you more time to do the things you love.
- COLOURFUL – With a plethora of different coloured ingredients, this salad bowl is the best way to eat the rainbow!
- EASY TO ADAPT – This recipe is easy to mix and match the ingredients to make the dish your own.
This healthy black bean salad is not only delicious, but also nourishing for the body. My favourite ingredients are –
- QUINOA – Easy to cook, versatile and highly nutritious, the Incas rightfully classified quinoa a gift from the gods. While quinoa is technically a seed, it’s gluten-free, high in iron and a complete protein, making it perfect for people consuming a plant-based whole-food diet. What makes quinoa unique however, is that compared to many of the other grains and seeds, it provides higher amounts of vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, iron, fibre and zinc.
- BLACK BEANS – Black Beans compliment the plant-based diet perfectly and in some cases offer more minerals than from animal sources.
250g of black beans provides roughly 22g of protein, the same amount as a 100g piece of beef, and double the amount of iron.1
While Black Beans contain more calcium than dairy milk, they also contain magnesium, a mineral recognised for calcium absorption. In a human study, calcium and vitamin D were abundantly supplied to the subjects, where all (except one) became calcium-deficient. When magnesium was reintroduced, they found the calcium levels rose dramatically.2
- AVOCADO – Commonly known as as a ‘superfood’, avocados are know to be nutritious and contain a wide variety of nutrients including 20 different vitamins and minerals. High in soluble fibre, studies suggest consuming avocados lower cholesterol, increase antioxidant absorption in other foods, and may help prevent some cancers.
- Pitchford, P. Healing with Whole Foods, 3rd Edition. pp. 9, 218, 512
- Regtop, H. Is magnesium a grossly neglected mineral? International Clinical Nutrition Review 3: pp. 18-19
- Gunnars, K. 12 Proven Health Benefits of Avocado [online] Available at: healthline [Accessed: 6 April 2021]
This recipe is perfect to adapt to the ingredients you have available in your fridge or pantry.
I have personally tried, tested and loved the following combinations –
BEANS – If time permits, I prefer to prepare my Black Beans from scratch, otherwise canned beans also work a treat. For this recipe, I also love Red Kidney Beans and Black Eyed Beans.
FRESH VEGETABLES & FRUIT – While fresh market-produce is best, it’s always valuable to have a few veggies stocked in the freezer for last-minute meals. My favourite combinations include –
- Capsicum (red or yellow)
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Coriander or Cilantro
- Corn kernels (canned, fresh or frozen)
- Crumbed Feta
- Red onion
- Rocket (Arugula)
- Spring onion
WHOLE GRAINS (OPTIONAL) – I love stirring through cooked quinoa, barley, brown rice, millet or bulgur, my favourite being quinoa.
Quinoa, Corn and Black Bean Salad contain so many juicy ingredients that this salad is perfectly delicious without a dressing.
But, if you want to include an element of complexity, some of my favourite dressings are –
- SIMPLE LIME DRESSING – Easy to prepare in a few minutes using any citrus fruit or vinegar, this vinaigrette is my “go to” when I’m running short for time.
To Prepare – 2 tbsp lime juice combined with 4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- CREAMY LIME & CILANTRO DRESSING – One of my most loved salad dressings. This Lime and Cilantro Dressing is the perfect balance of cream, fat and acid making it decadent for winter, but also light enough for summer.
To Prepare – Recipe on Instagram, detailed instructions below.
- ITALIAN DRESSING – While this Black Bean Salad contains various tex-mex spices and flavours, the infused flavours of garlic and dried oregano compliments this salad perfectly.
To Prepare – 2 tbsp red wine vinegar combined with 4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, 1 clove of crushed garlic and 1/2 tsp of dried oregano.
- CHIPOTLE DRESSING – Smokey, tangy and a little spicy, this dressing would elevate this salad and go perfectly with the other Black Bean meal ideas.
To Prepare – Combine 1/2 cup of natural yoghurt, 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, 1 chipotle pepper, 1 tsp lime juice with 1 tsp maple syrup.
- BASIL LIME VINAIGRETTE – Fragrant and perfect for summer, this vinaigrette is amazing if you have some fresh summer herbs.
To Prepare – Using a blender or food processor, combine 1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves, 1 clove of garlic, 2 limes juiced with 1/4 cup of avocado oil until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
- CUMIN DRESSING – Easy, tangy and earthy, this is my fiancé’s favourite salad dressing.
To Prepare – Whisk 4 tbsp of lime or lemon juice with 6 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and 1/2 tsp of ground cumin.
While Black Bean Salad is absolutely delicious on its own, you can mix up the recipe to transform it into any of the below suggested meal ideas:
SALSA / DIP – Serve your salad as a dip or salsa by serving it with some crunchy tortilla chips.
TACOS – Place spoonfuls as a filling to either hard or soft shell tacos.
NACHOS – A great option for entertaining, spoon some Black Bean Salad (with no dressing) on top of some tortilla chips, grated cheese and grill until the cheese is melted. Serve with natural yoghurt.
LETTUCE CUPS – This is my favourite variation! Serve spoonfuls of salad into fresh iceberg lettuce cups with some grated cheese and natural yoghurt or chipotle dressing. Trust me, this is perfect variation for a speedy mid-week dinner.
If you have an intolerance to gluten, it’s best to practice caution to ensure the ingredients align with your dietary requirements.
While black bean salad is traditionally prepared using black beans, quinoa and other vegetables, some store-bought salads can use ingredients containing gluten. If you’re preparing any recipe from scratch, double check the ingredient list of any processed items.
Remember to check with the cook, read the product list or enquire with the manufacturer to ensure the ingredients align with your dietary requirements. Enjoy!
While I love making my salads fresh on the day, this salad can be prepared a day or two in advance.
To keep it fresher for longer, I suggest adding the avocado, mango or tomatoes on the day you’re planning to serve the salad.
The Best Quinoa, Corn and Black Bean Salad with Avocado
Quinoa, Corn and Black Bean Salad with Avocado
- 3/4 cup tri-coloured quinoa rinsed
- 1 400ml can black beans drained and rinsed
- 2.5 cups frozen organic corn kernels, thawed (or 2 ears of corn, cooked and shucked)
- 1 small red or yellow capsicum diced
- 250 g cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 small lebanese cucumber diced
- 1 avocado seed removed, cubed
- 1 mango seed removed, cubed (optional)
- 1/2 bunch of coriander leaves removed and roughly chopped
Cumin & Lime Vinaigrette*
- 1 lime juiced
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
How to make Corn & Black Bean Salad
- In a medium-sized pot, add the quinoa and 1½ cups of water. Bring to the boil and cook for approximately 20 minutes under the quinoa is el dente. Strain and set aside to cool. (This step can be prepared 1 to 2 days in advance).
- In a medium-sized salad bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, black beans, corn kernels, capsicum and cherry tomatoes. Set aside while you prepare the dressing.
- In a small ramekin or glass bowl, whisk the lime juice, extra virgin olive oil, ground cumin and sea salt.
- Toss the Cumin and Lime Vinaigrette through the salad to gently combine. Add the mango, avocado and coriander leaves just before serving. Bon Appétit! 🙂
Equipment: This recipe may contain links to products and equipment that I use and love myself. The links may contain affiliate links, meaning if you click the link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you.
Nutrition: The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and does not include any other condiments or garnishes. Although Curated Life Studio attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered as estimates and do not replace or substitute a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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Disclosure – I only recommend products that I love and use myself and all opinions expressed on this post are my own. This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you click the link and make a purchase I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you.
Now It’s Your Turn!
Let me know in the comments below – what’s your favourite recipe for summer? 🙂
Hey There, I’m Kylie. My passion is plant-based recipes and I want to help you create something gorgeous!
I believe in taking a slow approach to food – to eat locally, seasonally and consciously.
When I’m not taking photos, you can find me wandering the coastal paths of South-East Australia.