Black Bean Salad – Perfect BBQ Side Dish

4.41 from 49 votes
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This Black Bean Salad is an easy and fresh BBQ side dish with flavors from fresh tomatoes, heat from jalapeños and finished with a citrus vinaigrette.

It makes a great accompaniment to dishes like a brisket spread, baby back ribs, or even a relish for burgers. Heck, you can even eat it with chips!

black bean salad served with chips

And is this dish healthy? We think so, but check out this article for more details on the health benefits of black beans.

Do You Cook Black Beans For Salad?

No. It’s easier to use canned low sodium black beans, rinse them in a strainer and then add them to the salad. The texture is soft, the flavor is still very good and there is no need to spend time soaking and cooking the black beans.

How to Make a Black Bean Salad

It cannot be any easier. Simply rinse the beans, prep your fresh ingredients, and then add them together in a large bowl. Add the dressing and stir.

Black Bean Salad ingredients
The color and fresh flavor is amazing

Season as needed and serve. You can prep this salad a day in advance, it is great on day two for leftovers.

Black Bean Dressing Recipe

When making a black bean salad dressing, or even cowboy caviar, we use three flavor profiles to build our dressing. We start with acid, add olive oil and finish with our herbs or spices. It’s so easy to modify to your palate.

  • Acid – Red Wine Vinegar is great, alternatively you can use rice wine vinegar, white balsamic vinegar, or even white wine vinegar. We also add lime, which in addition to acid, gives a fresh bright flavor to the dressing.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – The oil is great to bind together the acid and other ingredients. You can use a flavored version like garlic or jalapeno, or use a high quality olive oil. Arbuequna style olive oil is fruity and amazing with this dish.
  • Herbs or Spices – We love keeping it simple with a good quality kosher salt and pepper. But you can add cumin, cayenne, thyme, or any host of flavors that you like. Start small and add more after you taste it in the salad.

We really want the freshness of the black bean salad to be the star. So we add a little bit of a dressing to give some acidity and a binding agent. But we don’t go overboard and we only make a little bit.

Add the dressing just before serving, because the black beans will absorb the dressing if made in advance.

Variations for the Salad

  • Add Cumin for some earthy flavor
  • Double the dressing portion for a relish
  • Use a flavored vinegar or olive oil
  • Add other beans for more flavor and color like White Beans

Other Great BBQ Sides

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close up of black bean salad
4.41 from 49 votes

Black Bean Salad Recipe With Lime and Pepper Dressing

The perfect BBQ side dish that can double as a relish and topping for a variety of dishes.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 people


  • 2 15 ounce cans low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 ounce can sweet corn, drained
  • 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • ¼ cup diced orange bell pepper
  • ¼ cup diced red bell pepper
  • ¼ cup diced avocado
  • ¼ cup diced jalapeños, ribs and seeds removed
  • ¼ cup cilantro


  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lime fresh squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse black pepper



  • In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk to incorporate.

Black Bean Salad

  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix using your hands (it's easier).
  • Add the dressing and then using a large spoon mix.
  • Add additional salt and pepper to taste.


Calories: 107kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 103mg | Potassium: 155mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 610IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American, barbecue
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 107
Keyword: black bean salad, black bean salad recipe, cowboy caviar
Like this recipe? Leave a comment below!

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About Mary

I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

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    1. Thank you. We use an automated system but for portion sizes revalidating the information seems consistent with what we published.

  1. 5 stars
    I make a similar recipe and add a can of chopped mandarin oranges! Reserve the juice and use for the acid portion of the dressing. Very good and you can even eat it like salsa. This is such a fantastic versatile recipe.

    1. Love the addition of the citrus, especially as an added dressing. We agree that there are so many ways to modify this to your own preference for sure.