This black bean salad with roasted sweet potatoes, corn, green or red bell pepper, creamy avocado, jalapeños, and a cilantro lime dressing with fresh cilantro and lime juice is a winner.
Perfect for wholesome make-ahead meals and food prep. You are going to love it!
Check out our Best Salad Recipes
This black bean salad with tender roasted sweet potatoes is our favorite black bean salad recipe.
Inspired by Mexican flavors, this recipe is perfect for making ahead and eating for a quick and nutritious lunch, as a healthy dinner, or bringing potlucks and picnics.
Black beans are a powerhouse of nutrition, packed with plant-based protein, antioxidants, and fiber, and they'll keep you satiated for a long time.
We combined them with crunchy, colorful veggies, such as green bell pepper, corn, and tender and creamy veggies such as roasted sweet potatoes and avocado.
The taste and nutrition of this salad are off the charts. It contains some of the healthiest and tastiest foods on earth, and we love it.
Finally, we toss everything into a tasty cilantro lime dressing to tie up the flavors and add freshness to this delicious meal.
To make black bean salad even more fulfilling, mix in some quinoa, or use it to fill a wrap and drizzle with chipotle sauce, tahini sauce, or avocado spread.
Use canned black beans or cook dry black beans yourself. Dry black beans are easy to cook at home because they don't require soaking.
You can boil them in water or vegetable broth for about one and a half hours until soft.
You can substitute black-eyed beans, pinto beans, and red kidney beans for the black beans.
Sweet potatoes are perfect with black beans. You can roast the sweet potatoes in the oven or make them in the air fryer instead. You'll need a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, and a few twists of black pepper.
Bright orange sweet potatoes are a superfood packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and fibers. Adding them to this black bean salad is a great way to incorporate them into your diet.
We generally use canned corn kernels, but you can also cook fresh corn yourselves at home by boiling it in water, then cutting it off from the cob.
Green bell pepper
Green bell pepper is crunchy and colorful, and its slightly acidic taste matches perfectly the sweet potatoes and the black beans.
You can substitute red, yellow bell pepper, and orange bell pepper for the green ones.
Also, you can substitute bell peppers with cherry tomatoes.
Red onion adds a hint of tanginess and a sharp taste to the salad. If the red onion is too harsh for you, replace it with spring onions or shallots.
Jalapeños add heat a little heat to this Mexican-inspired black bean salad. We use green pickled diced jalapeno peppers or sliced ones.
Cilantro Lime Dressing
Fresh cilantro (coriander outside of the USA) is a perfect match with all the other ingredients in this salad, and that's why we chose it for our dressing.
Use freshly squeezed lime juice or replace it with freshly squeezed lemon juice. If you don't have fresh citrus fruits, use apple cider vinegar instead.
Extra virgin olive oil would be best for this dressing as it's fruitier and more aromatic than regular olive oil.
You can use fresh ginger or ground ginger.
We use maple syrup instead of honey to keep the recipe vegan friendly. Agave syrup also works.
You can use fresh garlic or garlic powder.
The dressing needs salt to be tasty; we usually use sea salt or kosher salt.
Step 1: Boil the Beans
Rinse, then boil the black beans in a large pot with plenty of lightly salted water for about 1 to 1.5 hours.
Tip: black beans don't require soaking as they are smaller, and their skin is thinner than, for example, kidney beans.
Also, always cook beans in salted water; they'll taste much better and keep their shape.
Finally, to make the beans even tastier, you can cook them in vegetable broth, or you can add aromatics such as bay leaves, onions, rosemary, carrots, and sage.
There's no better method than tasting the beans to check if they are done cooking. Then, when you are happy with them, drain them in a colander.
Step 2: Cook the Sweet Potatoes
You can cook the sweet potatoes in the oven or the air-fryer for this black bean salad. Preheat oven or air-fryer to 400°F or 200°C.
Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into 1-Inch cubes. Toss them in olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Oven Roasting: transfer cubed sweet potatoes onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until tender and browned.
Air frying: transfer the cubed sweet potatoes into the air fryer basket. The cubes CAN overlap. Air fry for 15 to 18 minutes, shaking the air fryer basket every 4 minutes to allow for even cooking.
Step 3: Make the Dressing
Add cilantro, lime juice, maple syrup, garlic, peeled and grated ginger, salt, and olive oil to a food processor or blender.
Tip: it's best to use a mini food processor, small blender, or immersion blender.
Blend for a couple of minutes. Taste and adjust for salt to your liking.
Tip: if you don't have a blender, you can finely chop the cilantro, ginger, and garlic with a knife, then mix them with the other ingredients in a small bowl.
Step 4: Mix the Black Bean Salad
To a large bowl, add the black beans, diced avocado, finely chopped onion, sliced jalapeños, roasted sweet potatoes, corn kernels, and diced green bell pepper.
Next, pour in the cilantro lime dressing.
Toss well, taste and adjust for salt, and let the flavors meld for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Black bean salad with quinoa
Make this black bean salad even more nutritious by adding boiled quinoa, and it'll keep you healthy and satiated for the whole day.
It's the perfect meal prep recipe for lunch, dinner, and post-workout meals, as the ingredients in the salad are packed with nutrition, wholesome plant protein, healthy carbs, vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber.
Cook the quinoa as per package instructions, let it cool down for 15 minutes, then add it to the black bean salad. Alternatively, you can substitute brown rice for quinoa.
Lentils and sweet potato salad
Want to try a different legume? Then our lentil sweet potato salad is perfect for you.
Still plenty nutritious and tasty, this variation with lentils features a Mediterranean-inspired dressing with lemon juice, cumin, paprika, garlic, and parsley.
This one is also perfect for making ahead and bringing with you for lunch. You can also serve this as an appetizer or side dish.
Check out our lentil sweet potato salad recipe.
We eat this black bean salad as a main meal, mostly for lunch, sometimes dinner.
Black bean and corn salad is a great recipe to make ahead of time, store in the fridge, and serve as you need during the week.
It lasts for about 4 days if stored in an airtight container, and you can eat it cold straight out of the fridge.
The only advice I'd give you is to add some extra dressing on top the next day, as the salad can get a little dry in the fridge.
For example, we drizzle some tahini sauce on top when we eat it the day after it's made, but a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil would also do.
Store black bean salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. We do not recommend freezing this salad.
Yes, our black bean salad is gluten-free and vegan.
According to "The vegetarian flavor bible" by Karen Page and to our testing, black beans pair perfectly with bell peppers, jalapeños, chipotles, chipotle sauce, cilantro, avocado, corn, cumin, garlic, lime, red onion, oregano, quinoa, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, and olive oil.
Yes, black beans are a great ingredient in salads thanks to their firm texture, earthy notes, meaty and creamy texture, and overall rich taste.
They pair well with a variety of ingredients that combined make great tasting and nutritious salads, like our black bean and sweet potato salad.
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Black Bean Salad
FOR THE SALAD
- 1 cup cooked black beans
- 1½ pound sweet potatoes peeled and chopped into 1-Inch cubes
- 1 cup green bell pepper diced
- 1 medium avocado diced
- ½ cup corn
- ½ red onion chopped
- ¼ cup pickled jalapeños chopped
FOR THE CILANTRO LIME DRESSING
- 1 cup packed cilantro
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- ½ clove garlic
- ½ teaspoon grated ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
STEP 1: BOIL THE BEANS
- Rinse, then boil the black beans in a large pot with plenty of lightly salted water for about 1 to 1.5 hours.
- Taste the beans to check if they are done, then drain them in a colander.
STEP 2: COOK THE SWEET POTATOES
- Preheat oven or air-fryer to 400°F or 200°C.Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into 1-Inch cubes. Toss them in ½ tablespoon of olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and a few twists of black pepper.
- Oven Roasting: transfer cubed sweet potatoes onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast in the oven for 25 minutes, or until tender and browned.
- Air frying: transfer cubed sweet potatoes into the air fryer basket. The cubes CAN overlap. Air fry for 15 to 18 minutes, shaking the air fryer basket every 4 minutes to allow for even cooking.
STEP 3: MAKE THE DRESSING
- To a blender add all ingredients: cilantro, lime juice, maple syrup, garlic, peeled and grated ginger, salt, and olive oil.
- Blend for a couple of minutes until smooth. Taste and adjust for salt and lime before serving.
STEP 4: MIX THE BLACK BEAN SALAD
- To a large bowl, add the black beans, diced avocado, finely chopped onion, sliced jalapeños, roasted sweet potatoes, corn kernels, and diced green bell pepper.Next, pour in the cilantro lime dressing.
- Toss well, taste and adjust for salt, and let the flavors meld for at least 15 minutes before serving.
- Optionally, you can add about 1 cup of boiled quinoa.