This salad goes by many names: cowboy caviar, Texas caviar, or simply bean salsa. Doesn’t matter what you call it, this stuff is delicious! It’s perfect for picnics, barbecues, or even a light lunch. You can even serve it up as an appetizer with tortilla chips for dipping. It’s got black beans and corn at its base but also adds in diced tomatoes and bell peppers. Creamy avocado, zesty lime juice, and a touch of garlic bring everything together. It’s also super quick and easy to prepare which makes it perfect for feeding a crowd too.

For more black bean recipes, try our Chiptole Black Bean Burgers (which would go really well served with this recipe), or go the casserole route with our Mexican Brown Rice and Black Bean Casserole.

Why Our Recipe

  • It takes 20 minutes or less to prepare!
  • Can be served as a salad, side dish, or an appetizer with tortilla chips.

Black Bean and Corn Salad in a white bowl with a wooden spoon in it.

Ingredient Notes

  • Corn: We’re using frozen, but you can also use canned or fresh.
  • Black Beans: Use canned beans for convenience. Drain and rinse them well to remove all the bean juice.
  • Roma Tomatoes: Be sure they are Romas for the right texture. Other types of tomatoes can be used, but they’ll be juicier and add a lot of liquid.
  • Red Bell Pepper: We prefer red because of flavor. Orange is another great option. Green bell pepper can be used, but it has the most muted flavor.
  • Avocado: Add just before serving to prevent browning.
  • Red Onion: Mince finely so nobody gets a big bite.
  • Cilantro: If you’ve got that genetic aversion to cilantro, you can substitute with parsley.
  • Lime Juice: Freshly squeeze that sucker for the best flavor. Bottled lime juice can be used in a pinch.
  • Garlic: Or measure it with your heart.
  • Red Pepper Flakes: Adds a subtle heat, which you can adjust according to your preference.

Corn Options

This recipe calls for frozen corn which offers great flavor and texture and is also ultra convenient. But you may be interested in the other two options:

Canned Corn: Use approximately 2 standard 15 ounce cans to get about 2 cups of corn. Be sure to drain them well to avoid excess liquid in your salad.

Fresh Corn: Cut the kernels straight from the cob. Fresh sweet corn can be enjoyed raw for a crunchy texture, or you can cook it to soften it up.

  • Boiling: Boil the corn on the cob for 3-5 minutes, then cut off the kernels.
  • Steaming: Steam the corn for about 5 minutes before cutting off the kernels.
  • Sautéing: Sauté the corn kernels in a skillet with a bit of olive oil for 3-4 minutes until tender.
Bird's eye view of Black Bean Corn Salad in a white bowl.

Make-Ahead Instructions

This salad is best fresh. If you are pressed for time and want to have it ready in advance, I would recommend having the separate ingredients prepared and in separate containers until you are ready to put it together. You can make the dressing in advance as well. Refrigerate the ingredients and then just mix them together when you are ready. I would also recommend leaving the avocado uncut until you are mixing the salad together, as it will brown quickly.

Storage Instructions

Refrigerate any leftover salad in an airtight container. It will remain fresh for up to 2 days. For best results, add the avocado just before serving.

More delicious salads…

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTubeFacebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.