Black Bean Dip (or Salsa or Salad)

By Ann Fulton

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Enjoy this easy, endlessly versatile recipe as a dip with chips, a salsa for fish or chicken, a super-simple salad, or the foundation of a healthy, plant-based meal. Perfect for a potluck and can be prepared up to a day in advance!





Amidst all my experimenting with new recipes, this simple combination of ingredients never grows old in our house. Though it tastes great any time of year, I find myself leaning on it frequently as the weather warms, whether for a casual family cookout or as a potluck contribution.

For a variety of reasons, the recipe has stood the test of time. It’s versatile, easy, quick, flavorful, healthy, and can be prepared in advance. Plus, whenever I make this, people tend to request the recipe. That’s always a good sign.

I began making this confetti-colored dish to serve as a dip with tortilla chips and quickly realized that the leftovers perked up grilled chicken, fish, and flank steak. When no chips were available, everyone seemed to enjoy it as a salad, too.

As with any good recipe, it has evolved over the years. I’ve tried it with a variety of spices, with and without tomatoes, and using a combination of vinegars and citrus juices. The following recipe is the variation that everyone seems to like the best.

As a bonus, it’s one of the simplest. The salad uses a combination of fresh ingredients and pantry staples and calls for minimal chopping, which can be done in advance. The bright vinaigrette requires a quick squeeze of a lime and drizzle of olive oil and is enhanced with a few spice cabinet standbys. The flavors are pronounced yet balanced enough to allow for easy pairing with a variety of meals.

The flavor of this easy and endlessly versatile dip/salad/salsa just gets better over time, so feel free to prepare it a day in advance.

And because it’s alway s fun to look at the old photos…which looked so good at the time… 😊

Black Bean Dip (or Salsa or Salad)
Black Bean Dip (or Salsa or Salad)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
The flavor of this easy dip/salad/salsa just gets better over time, so feel free to prepare it a day in advance.

Yield: 1+ quart or approximately 8 servings
  • 1 (14½ ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels (or fresh, cooked, and cut off the cob)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced (may substitute color of choice or use a mix)
  • ¼ cup red onion, minced
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro*
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons (28ml) olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) sriracha sauce (or hot sauce of choice; use ¼ to ½ teaspoon for flavor with less heat)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Optional: 1 avocado**, diced
  1. Combine the black beans, corn, bell pepper, onion, and cilantro in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the remaining ingredients (except the optional avocado) and pour over the black bean mixture. Toss to thoroughly coat.
  3. Let stand for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to combine – longer is fine as the flavor will continue to improve over time.
  4. When ready to serve, add the avocado, if using, and toss. Great as a dip with tortilla or corn chips (like Scoops); as a salsa spooned over fish, chicken, or steak; mixed into grain-based or green salads, or as a stand-alone salad.

If you don’t care for cilantro, fresh parsley, chives, or basil would all be good substitutes. Or simple omit it.

** If you are planning on leftovers, you may wish to use the avocado as a topping rather than stirring it in. The avocado will discolor as it sits overnight in the fridge, although it is still fine to eat.

Helpful hint: If using frozen corn and you don’t have time to thaw it, add it to the strainer when rinsing the beans and rinse them both together. The water will quickly thaw the corn.

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  2. christine

    This recipe is especially good if you can use fire roasted corn. We had leftover corn from a corn roast so I used it in this recipe. I also added 4 cloves of minced garlic and two finely chopped fresh jalapeno peppers. It was delicious!

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