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.

Easy black bean corn salad on a plate

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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.

Fresh black bean corn salad with feta and tomatoes

5 Star Review

“Just made this salad tonight as our main course! Absolutely delicious!”

— Ansley —

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 healthy (hello fiber and protein), so this salad is a springboard for other healthy recipes.

A vegetable being cut on a cutting board

How 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.
Colorful, fresh ingredients

How to Make Black Bean Corn Salad

When summer wants to be a salad, it is this corn and black bean salad with feta.

Easy, breezy, and bountiful, this is laid-back cooking at its best.


The Ingredients

  • Black Beans. Creamy and hearty, beans make this salad more filling. Black beans are healthy too. They’re packed with fiber and potassium.
  • 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 oodles of vitamins.
  • 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.

Substitution Tip!

Just about any acid will work here. Lemon juice and apple cider vinegar are both excellent options. You could also make this a black bean and corn salad with balsamic vinegar (if you use a vinegar, reduce it to 1 tablespoon to start).

The Directions

  1. Place the corn kernels in a large bowl with the rest of the salad ingredients (save some of the feta for serving).
  2. Stir and top with the remaining feta.
  3. Let set in the refrigerator for a few minutes (if you can resist). DIG IN!
Vegetables, cheese, herbs, and beans in a bowl

Recipe Variations

  • 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.
  • Honey Lime Dressing. For a black bean and corn salad with honey-lime dressing (YUM!), add 2 tablespoons honey to the dressing ingredients.

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Corn and black bean salad with feta on a plate

Leftover Ideas

This recipe is easy to make ahead, and black bean corn salad can last several days in the refrigerator. Try your leftovers in one 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.
  • With Grains. Toss this salad with your favorite cooked grain. Quinoa black bean corn salad sounds tasty!
  • 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 for a spin on black bean and corn salsa.

What to Serve with Black Bean Salad

Black bean corn tomato salad on a blute plate

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

The Best Chef’s Knife

A sharp, high-quality chef’s knife is an essential kitchen tool. It will make meal prep a breeze!

Black bean corn salad with feta and tomatoes

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Black bean corn salad with feta and tomatoes

Black Bean Corn Salad

5 from 6 votes
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.

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 15 mins

Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups corn kernels from 4 to 5 ears, or frozen corn kernels*
  • 1 14-ounce can reduced sodium black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes halved
  • ½ cup chopped fresh mint basil, parsley, or cilantro (or a mix!)**
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice from about 1 lime***
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 ounces feta cheese crumbled (about 1 cup), divided

Instructions
 

  • 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!

Notes

  • *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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 6)Calories: 240kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 11gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 17mgPotassium: 515mgFiber: 8gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 649IUVitamin C: 22mgCalcium: 131mgIron: 3mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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19 Comments

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  1. Gourmet Magazine published a variant on this many years ago (August 1997) that I’ve made as a main course literally for decades. Instead of lime it used balsamic vinegar. Striking coincidence that I actually already had this on my menu plan for this coming Tuesday night. The lime, tomatoes, and mint / basil are great additions that I’d never thought of.  Can’t wait to give them a try. Thanks!

  2. Just made this salad tonight as our main course! Absolutely delicious! I have never eaten corn fresh from the cob before! The fresh lime juice complements it so well! Looking forward to trying your Grilled Corn Salad with Avocado recipe next! Thank you for the wonderful recipes!5 stars

    1. Calories in food are measured as kilocalories, abbreviated kcal.
      From the USDA: What is the difference between calories and kilocalories?

      The “calorie” we refer to in food is actually kilocalorie. One (1) kilocalorie is the same as one (1) Calorie (upper case C). A kilocalorie is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water one degree Celsius. Please visit USDA’s Food Composition Laboratory for additional information.
      https://www.nutrition.gov/expert-q-a

  3. Super easy and held together very well for lunch the next day. Thanks for the tip on hand crumbling the feta! It was much creamier5 stars

  4. sorry just saw this now will be making this soon can i use vegan feta cheese as am a vegan i never had salad before perfect for my after office meals will dm you if i make this and let you know how it goes Thanks Ramya

  5. My husband and I loved this! We ate this as a side, as “salsa” with chips, and as a taco topper. He gave me a million compliments on it, and the recipe was so easy. We will make this recipe many more times, especially for potlucks and Taco Tuesdays. Thanks so much Erin!5 stars