THIS BLACK BEAN AND CORN SALSA RECIPE IS FRESH, HEARTY, HEALTHY AND PERFECT FOR EVERY occasion!
This Black Bean and Corn Salsa recipe is not only DELICIOUS with its creamy, crunchy textures and bright fiesta flavors, but it’s super easy to make! It’s made with earthy black beans, sweet corn, juicy tomatoes, spicy jalapenos and aromatic cilantro, onion, and garlic spiked with lime, cumin and salt. This Black Bean Corn Salsa recipe is the perfect make-ahead Game Day appetizer or snack OR pile it on tacos, baked potatoes, nachos, quesadillas, grilled chicken/fish, or salads. You can even enjoy it as a side salad because it’s so deeply satisfyingly all by itself.
Black Bean Corn Salsa
With football and holiday season upon us, I bring you EASY Black Bean Corn Salsa! It’s a fresh, bright, vibrant appetizer that’s creamy, hearty and healthy and a welcome break from indulgent fair. It’s delicious enough to stand up against all those cheesy Game Day favorites, but you don’t have to feel guilty consuming the whole bowl!
This Black Bean and Corn Salsa is SO delicious, that I actually debated on whether or not to call it a salsa or a salad because you can eat it by the forkful all by itself… as in I was literally eating it by the forkful all by itself!
This black bean salsa is a symphony of flavors and textures in every bite: the black beans offer a hearty creaminess, the corn lends the salsa a sweet, smoky “crunch,” the tomato adds the juicy savory and the jalapeno adds just a touch of crunchy heat to keep things lively. You can also customize your Black Bean and Corn Salsa with any of your favorite add-ins such as mangos, pineapple, quinoa, more jalapenos, etc.
This Black Bean Salsa recipe is made with simple pantry friendly ingredients so you can make it at a moment’s notice – and I less than 20 minutes! Just chop your tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, jalapenos, dump in your black beans, slice your corn and your salsa is practically made – no special skills required!
You will also love that this Black Bean Corn Salsa recipe is make ahead friendly. You can assemble it in advance then bring it out when it’s time to serve for stress free entertaining, potlucks, lunch or dinners without the last-minute hustle.
INGREDIENTS FOR BLACK BEAN AND CORN SALSA RECIPE
This Black Bean and Corn Salsa recipe is packed with fresh ingredients. You will need:
- Black Beans: one 15 oz. can black beans will the trick. Make sure you rinse and drain them very well.
- Tomatoes: use either ripe cherry tomatoes or Roma tomatoes rather than larger tomatoes because they have a higher ratio of flesh to watery inside. If using Roma tomatoes, make sure to seed them/remove any watery flesh so your Black Bean and Corn salsa doesn’t become watery.
- English cucumber: cucumbers are optional but I love the fresh crispness they add. I like English (hothouse) cucumbers so you don’t have to peel them, but you can certainly substitute with a peeled slicing cucumber.
- Jalapeno: remove the seeds and the white veins of your jalapenos because these pack the fieriest heat. Use one jalapeno for mild and then you can add additional jalapeno to taste.
- Corn: use sweet corn straight off the cob OR canned sweet corn so you can make this Black Bean Corn Salsa year-round. You can use the corn plain but I like to char the corn in a skillet or on the grill for an added smoky depth of flavor – instructions to follow.
- Red bell pepper: I recommend a red bell pepper because they are sweeter than other colors, but you can substitute if you only have other peppers on hand.
- Red onion. I like the fresh pop of red onion but you may also use white onions. If you’re not a fan of raw red onions, you can add them to a fine mesh sieve and rinse them, then pat very dry or microwave them for 30 seconds or so in to soften the bite.
- Fresh cilantro: adds a bright, fresh, citrus pop. You can use more or less to taste.
- Lime juice: you can use fresh or bottled lime juice and use more or less to taste.
- Garlic: you can use two garlic cloves or substitute with 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.
- Salt: black beans and corn NEED salt to really shine. If your Black Bean Corn Salsa tastes like it’s missing something, it is likely salt and/or lime so make sure you add additional salt to taste if needed.
- Ground Cumin: is my secret ingredient to this Black Bean and Corn Salsa recipe. Just 1/2 teaspoon of its nutty, warm, tones with a hint of lemon add a wonderful, complex, layer of flavor.
HOW TO MAKE CORN SALSA
Step 1: Char Corn
Sweet corn is already delish but grilling corn on the grill or charring it in a hot cast iron skillet enhances its natural sweetness delivering smoky, succulent, sweet corn you will be eating with a spoon. You will NOT regret the extra few minutes it takes to char your corn.
TO GRILL CORN ON THE COB:
- Peel the corn
- Remove all the silk
- Lightly brush all over with olive oil
- Grease and heat grill to high heat
- Grill corn over direct heat for 10-12 minutes, turning until lightly charred on all sides, closing the lid in between rotations
TO CHAR CORN IN A SKILLET:
If you don’t have corn on the cob or have access to a grill, you can still char frozen, canned, or fresh corn in a cast iron skillet:
- Heat one tablespoon olive oil in large cast iron skillet over high heat
- Add the corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until corn starts to char, approximately 5 minutes (a few minutes longer if frozen)
- Transfer kernels to a large bowl to cool so they don’t continue to cook
Step 2: Add ingredients to a large bowl
Choose a bowl that gives you some wiggle room to toss, so everything can get evenly combined – this bowl is likely different than your serving bowl.
Step 3: Adjust to taste
Taste your Black Bean and Corn Salsa with a chip if you’re serving with chips (because chips add saltiness) or with a fork if not serving with chips. Add additional lime juice for tangier, salt for more flavor, jalapeno for spicier (and more flavor).
Step 4: Chill
I recommend chilling the Black Bean Salsa for one hour before serving then bringing it to room temperature before serving. This gives the salsa time for the flavors to build and meld.
TIPS FOR BLACK BEAN CORN SALSA
- Customize heat. You can customize the heat of your Black Bean Corn Salsa by adding more or less jalapenos. I suggest adding one minced jalapeno then adding more to taste. You can also reserve the jalapeno seeds and add them to the salsa to make it even spicier – but take care, a little goes a long way!
- Seed tomatoes. Seeding the tomatoes is crucial so your Black Bean Salsa doesn’t become diluted or soggy. I cut all of the flesh out of my tomatoes before chopping.
- Char corn. If you want the BEST Black Bean and Corn Salsa, char the corn. This simple step adds a complex, smoky depth of flavor that can’t be achieved any other way.
- Adjust to taste. As will all recipes, you’ll want to taste the salsa and adjust the seasoning to suit your personal tastes. You can add additional salt, pepper, jalapeno or lime juice.
- Customize ingredients. You can use more or less of any of the Black Bean Salsa ingredients (or add other ingredients) depending on your likes/dislikes or what you have on hand.
BLACK BEAN AND CORN SALSA VARIATIONS:
Black Bean and Corn Salsa is delicious as written or use it as a springboard for adding additional vegetables, fruits or grains. Just keep in mind, that the more you add, the more you may need to increase the lime juice and seasonings. Black Bean Corn Salsa is also delicious with:
- Veggies: jicama, asparagus, shaved asparagus, radishes, zucchini etc.
- Fruit: I am a HUGE fan of mangos or pineapple or in black bean salsa. These fruits add a delightful juicy sweet contrast to the earthy beans.
- Avocado: chop and add just before serving. Use avocados that are ripe but on the firmer side so they don’t get mushy in the salsa. If you add avocados, keep in mind the leftovers will not keep for as long or as well because the avocados will brown and get mushy.
- Cheese: crumbled cotija cheese or queso fresco add a creamy saltiness. Take care to add less salt to the Black Bean Corn Salsa recipe if you know you are going to be adding Cotija because it is super salty – then add salt to taste if needed.
HOW LONG DOES BLACK BEAN CORN SALSA KEEP?
I recommended making Black Bean and Corn Salsa at least 60 minutes before serving to give the flavors time to marry. You can store Black Bean Salsa for up to 5 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
CAN I MAKE BLACK BEAN CORN SALSA RECIPE AHEAD?
Yes! Black Bean Corn Salsa keeps extremely well because it doesn’t have any immediately perishable ingredients. If you add additional ingredients such as avocados then it should be served immediately.
WAYS TO EAT BLACK BEAN AND CORN SALSA
This Black Bean and Corn Salsa is incredibly versatile. Here are a few more creative uses:
- Mexican dishes: spoon it up with tortilla chips or pile it on (or in!) your favorite enchiladas, tacos, burritos, fajitas, quesadillas, nachos, Southwest Salads, or burrito bowls.
- Eggs: it is delicious on scrambled eggs, omelets, breakfast tacos, breakfast burritos, breakfast taquitos, breakfast enchiladas etc.
- Grains: add quinoa, couscous, or rice to make it a quinoa/rice avocado salad along with additional olive oil and seasonings.
- Salad: add Black Bean Salsa to leafy salad greens or kale or make it a kale (quinoa) salad.
- Protein: make Black Bean Corn Salsas a meal by adding rotisserie chicken, Mexican chicken, carne asada steak, beef barbacoa, ground turkey, ground beef, etc.
- Grilled Proteins: It also pairs beautifully on top grilled steak, pork, poultry, shrimp and fish.
- Chicken: Serve it over chipotle chicken, chili lime chicken, cilantro lime chicken or salsa verde chicken.
- Pasta: Add Black Bean Corn Salsa to zoodles, spaghetti squash or other pasta/noodles with a splash of olive oil or Greek yogurt.
- Wraps: Add it to Bibb lettuce to make lettuce wraps or mix in some grains/and or protein and wrap it in a tortilla along with some Greek yogurt or sour cream.
- Everything else: This Black Bean and Corn Salsa simply makes everything better! Pile it in baked potatoes, pizza, burgers, etc.
LOOKING FOR MORE SALSA RECIPES?
- Pico de Gallo
- Homemade Salsa
- Salsa Verde
- Pineapple Salsa
- Blueberry Pineapple Salsa
- Pineapple Snow Pea Salsa
- Corn Avocado Salsa
- Mango Salsa
- Mango Pineapple Salsa
- Pineapple Pear Salsa
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