This nutritious, delicious and colorful Fiesta Salad combines fresh vegetables with canned beans and tangy Mexican flavors. It’s a great make-ahead or meal-prep salad recipe. I promise you’ll keep coming back to it again and again.
Why You Should Make This Fiesta Black Bean Salad
Here’s why you should make this great salad:
- It’s delicious, healthy, and filling
- It can be made in under 15 minutes
- A perfect lunch option for the kids
- An excellent make-ahead (or meal prep) salad
- It’s customizable (add some protein and turn it into a main course)
This salad isn’t traditional Mexican by any means, but it is definitely Mexican-inspired. I have served it as a side with tacos, barbacoa, carnitas and quesadillas. But you don’t have to only serve it with Mexican food. It works well with barbecued chicken, ribs or even as a dip with tortilla chips or corn chips.
It’s a crowd-pleaser and a great option for your next picnic, pot luck or get-together. Serve it with one of my main dishes.
This is one of those salad recipes you should keep in your back pocket. It comes together so quickly and is a perfect addition to your weekly meal prep. It uses standard ingredients you probably have in your pantry and fridge right now!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Canned black beans: Unless you plan to soak your beans overnight and pressure cook them, canned beans are truly the way to go. You can take some creative liberty here and use red kidney beans, pinto beans, Romano beans, or even chickpeas. Make sure to rinse and drain the beans well as the liquid will make the salad murky and unappetizing.
- Canned corn: Canned corn is just convenient and you probably have some in your pantry or basement right now. But if you prefer, you can use frozen or fresh corn kernels, just make sure to boil it and cool it down before adding it to the salad.
- Red Bell pepper: Bell peppers add a nice crunch and sweetness to this fiesta salad. You can use green, yellow, orange, or red sweet bell peppers. The choice is yours. But do think of how the colors complement each other in the final dish.
- Red onion: Onions add a nice bite and spiciness to the salad. If you have picky eaters, you can use milder green onions (scallions) or don’t use them at all.
- Cucumber: No substitute for a crunchy and refreshing cucumber.
- Jalapeno: In keeping with the Mexican-inspired theme, jalapenos are an important addition (they are a medium heat level chili). You can use them whole or deseed them. Feel free to use other chiles like Serrano if you prefer. Or don’t use any hot peppers and keep the salad mild.
- Cilantro: Love it or hate it, cilantro is a must in this salad. The herby flavor rounds out the entire salad. If you truly can’t stand fresh cilantro, use some parsley instead.
- Olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil is my go-to oil base for salad dressings because it’s healthy and versatile, but you can use any oil you like.
- Lime juice: Another important ingredient to round out the Mexican-inspired flavors of this salad. You can use lemon juice in a pinch, but lime juice is truly the best option.
- Tajin Seasoning: I do love Tajin chili lime seasoning. It’s a great and versatile product that will round out the flavor of this salad.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
How to Make this Fiesta Salad Recipe
- Make the dressing. In a mason jar, combine olive oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Shake vigorously to combine (Image 1).
- Assemble the salad. In a large bowl, add all the salad ingredients. Drizzle the dressing and toss. Garnish with extra cilantro leaves and Tajin chile lime seasoning (Image 2).
Turn this Salad into a Meal with these Additions
This is where you can get creative. Try out some of these options:
- Romaine lettuce to bulk it up for a crowd
- Cotija or feta cheese to jazz it up
- Pumpkin seeds (pepitas) for added crunch
- Sour cream or crema can be added to create a creamy salad
- Grilled chicken for added protein like in my Authentic Shish Tawook or Chicken Kafta recipes
- Pan-fried shrimp for a little extra flavor
- Grilled steak and turn it into a full meal
- Using dry beans. If you would like to use dry beans, you will need to soak them overnight and then boil them or cook them in a pressure cooker. Using a pressure cooker or an instant pot will make the job faster. I still like using canned beans. No shame!
- Play around with the salad dressing. If you want a creamier or richer salad dressing, you can add sour cream, crema or even some mayonnaise to the salad dressing. Adjust the quantities accordingly.
- Grow your own. If you have a garden or balcony, consider growing some vegetables and herbs. Homegrown cucumbers, cilantro and bell peppers will taste way better than storebought. If you want to learn more about growing your own fresh veggies, check out my book, Seed to Table. It also has 40+ recipes.
Fiesta just means party in Spanish so think of this salad a party in your mouth with so many delicious ingredients, textures and flavors.
You can make this salad up to 4 days ahead of time but keep the dressing separate. You can dress it before serving.For meal prep, you can portion the salad into individual containers. If you have small salad dressing containers, split the salad dressing out equally.
If you make a big batch of fiesta salad and you have leftovers, no problem. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. After 3 days, the lime juice will begin to break down the vegetables and the salad won’t be as vibrant.
Other Appetizers and Salad Recipes You Will Enjoy
If you make this Fiesta Salad or any other salads on Urban Farm and Kitchen, please take a moment to rate this easy recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe.
- ⅓ cup Olive Oil
- ⅓ cup Lime Juice
- 1 teaspoon Honey or agave syrup
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste - Start with 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 can Black beans - drained and rinsed
- 1 can Corn - drained and rinsed
- 1 Red bell pepper - cored, seeded and diced into ½ inch cubes
- 1 Tomato - seeds discarded, diced into ½ inch cubes
- ½ English cucumber (or 2 Persian cucumbers) - diced into ½ inch cubes
- ½ Red onion - diced into ½ inch cubes
- 1 Jalapeno or Serrano pepper - seeded and deveined, chopped finely
- ½ cup Cilantro leaves - roughly chopped
- cilantro,Tajin chile lime seasoning and optional avocado for garnish
- Make the dressing. In a mason jar (or small bowl), combine olive oil, lime juice, honey, salt, and pepper. Shake (or stir) vigorously to combine.
- Assemble the salad. In a large mixing bowl, add all the salad ingredients. Drizzle the dressing and toss. Transfer to a serving platter or serve in the same bowl garnished with Tajin chile lime seasoning, extra cilantro leaves and optional avocado. This salad is best served cold or cool.