This colorful and refreshing Mediterranean black bean salad drizzled with a zesty cilantro lime dressing is vegan, gluten-free and quick to assemble. It's customizable, and can be served as a salad or as a salsa dip with tortilla chips, making it a perfect light lunch or side dish any day of the week!
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💭 Why you'll love this recipe
- Healthy and nutritious. This hearty black bean salad is a good source of fiber, protein, and other nutrients, this salad is a delicious way to get your vegetables in.
- Packed with flavor. The earthiness of black beans combined with the sweet and savory taste of vegetables and the creamy and zesty cilantro lime dressing, go together to make a delightfully refreshing salad.
- Easy to make ahead. This recipe is perfect for parties, cookouts, and even for doing meal prep as it is easy to make in advance. Simply toss the vegetables together and let them chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Just make sure to add the avocado and dressing right before serving.
📋 Ingredients and notes
To make this easy black bean salad recipe, you'll need black beans, red bell pepper, red onion, green bell pepper, chopped fresh cilantro, avocado, lime juice, olive oil, and cherry tomatoes.
To make cilantro lime dressing, you'll need cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, a garlic clove, salt, and pepper.
Notes and variations
- Black beans. You can cook fresh black beans from scratch or use a can of black beans, either way, you'll get hearty black beans for your salad.
- Red onion. You can substitute red onions with shallots, white or green onions. If you want to take down the kick a bit, use pickled onions instead.
- Cilantro. If you don't like cilantro, you can use parsley, basil or one of these basil substitutes instead. You can also add some lettuce for added volume in the salad.
- Peppers. If you don't have red or green bell peppers, feel free to use yellow bell peppers and orange bell peppers. You can also add jalapeño peppers if you want a bit of a kick to the salad.
- Cherry tomatoes. You can also use a larger tomato and just chop them in half or quarters.
- Avocado. If you don't have avocados, you can use diced mango, pineapple, or peach instead.
- Lime juice. If you don't have lime juice on hand, you can use lemon juice or orange juice instead.
- Add canned or fresh corn. For a sweeter flavor and a crunchier bite, add sweet corn kernels to the mix to make a black bean and corn salad. Microwave corn on the cob quickly to add it to the dish in no time!
- Spice it up. Add chili powder, red peppers, cumin, to add a little spice, adjust the amount according to the level of spice desired.
📖 Make the best black bean salad
In a large bowl, combine the black beans, diced red and green bell peppers, diced red onion, avocado and cherry tomatoes, top with chopped cilantro and drizzle lime juice and olive oil over the top of the mixture.
Gently toss the ingredients until they are well combined.
Make cilantro lime dressing
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the chopped cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, and minced garlic until well combined.
Season the dressing with salt and black pepper to taste. You can also add cheese (especially feta or cotija cheese)
👩🏽🍳 Tips for making the best black bean salad
If you want to create a delicious Mediterranean black bean salad, follow these top tips for success:
- Use the freshest ingredients for a better quality salad. To make fresh black bean salad, use freshly cooked beans instead of canned black beans and use fresh vegetables from the farmer's market. But of course, you can use the ingredients you already have on hand.
- Chop the vegetables equally. For the best results, chop the vegetables in similar sizes for a better texture and appearance. You can use this amazing vegetable chopper to do this in a jiffy!
- Add the avocados right before serving to prevent them from turning brown.
- Add a little bit of sugar to balance the acid from the lime juice and tomatoes, to achieve a more balanced taste.
- Use a food processor. Instead of whisking cilantro lime dressing, use a food processor or blender to make a smoother and creamier dressing.
Yes, you can make black bean salad up to two days in advance. Simply toss vegetables (except for the avocado), cover with a plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. Add the avocado and cilantro lime dressing right before serving to keep everything fresh.
Canned black beans are already cooked, so technically you can eat them straight from the can. However, it's best to drain and rinse them before eating or cooking with them as they can be quite salty.
I do not recommend freezing black bean salad as the ingredients will turn mushy and they will not have the same texture once thawed.
🍴 What to serve with black bean salad
This Mediterranean black bean salad can be served on its own. But the best thing about this recipe is you can also adapt it into the following:
- Salsa or Dip: This is my favorite way to eat a black bean salad! Make a zesty salsa out of it, and eat it with tortilla chips.
- Taco Filling: Use it as a taco filling along with other favorite toppings like avocado, salsa, and cheese. I love adding fried avocados to it.
- Burrito Bowl: Serve the black bean salad over a base of rice or quinoa and add toppings like guacamole, sour cream, and shredded cheddar cheese.
- Stuffed Peppers or Tomatoes: Stuff bell peppers or large tomatoes with the black bean salad, and bake them (with or without cheese) for a great lunch.
🍴 How to store black bean salad
To store black bean salad, transfer it to an airtight container and chill in the refrigerator for up to five days. Keep the salad separate from the avocado and the cilantro lime dressing until serving to keep them fresh.
I don't recommend freezing this salad.
🍴 Other amazing salad recipes
If you're looking for new and delicious salad recipes, here are some of our favorite recipes for you to try:
- Vegan Caesar Salad
- Vegan Nicoise Salad
- Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese
- Spinach & Avocado Salad
- Mango Avocado Salad
Or check out more of these amazing vegetarian and vegan salads!
Did you make this recipe?! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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Black Bean Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing
Black bean salad
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ red bell pepper, diced
- ¼ red onion, diced
- ¼ green bell pepper, diced
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped, optional
- 1 avocado, diced
- ½ lime, juiced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
Cilantro lime dressing
- ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- ½ cup lime juice
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon salt, adjust to taste
- ⅓ teaspoon black pepper, adjust to taste
Black bean salad
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the black beans, diced red and green bell peppers, diced red onion, avocado and cherry tomatoes, top with chopped cilantro and drizzle lime juice and olive oil over the top of the mixture.
- Gently toss the ingredients until they are well combined.
Cilantro lime dressing
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the chopped cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, and minced garlic until well combined.
- Season the dressing with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Red onion: You can substitute with white onion or shallots.
- Cilantro: If you don't like cilantro, you can use parsley or basil instead.
- Avocado: You can use diced mango, pineapple, or peach instead of avocado.
- Lime juice: You can use lemon juice or orange juice instead.
- Extra-virgin olive oil: You can use any other vegetable oil like canola oil, sunflower
oil, or grapeseed oil instead.