A summertime favorite, this black bean and avocado salad is awesome served on a bed of greens or as a dip with tortilla chips.
Why you’ll love it: It’s a crowd-pleaser and it’s great as a salad or a dip.
How long it takes: 15 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: mixing bowl, sharp knife, strainer
Servings: 8 (one cup each)
This stuff is good. Really, really good. It’s similar to “cowboy caviar” or “Texas caviar” but with black beans instead of black-eyed peas. It’s easy and inexpensive to make, packed with healthy ingredients, and is so versatile.
So versatile in fact, that as I went through my list of categories to find a place for this recipe, I found it fitting in so many categories: Appetizer, lunch, main dish, salad, side dish, vegetarian, and snack. Yup, perfect for all of those categories. May I add, late night snack? Or, perfect with a cold beer?
Ways to Eat It
- Top a bed of lettuce with a couple scoops for a stunning and easy salad.
- Skip the lettuce and serve it as is, for a side dish.
- Slice a grilled tequila lime chicken breast and add it to the salad for a main dish. Or simply garnish the chicken with a couple spoonfuls of the salad.
- Eat this Southwestern style dip on a crispy, salty tortilla chip.
- Add it to cooked quinoa or rice to make a delicious grain bowl.
- Add nutrition and flavor to a cheese quesadilla, taco, or nachos with a garnish of this dip.
- Eat it straight out of a bowl with a fork.
I haven’t found anyone who doesn’t like this black bean and avocado salad. Oh, except my father-in-law who won’t eat avocado because it looks like lobster brain. I think I’ll just take his word on that. Almost everyone loves it and if you bring it to your next get-together, I promise you, it will disappear before your eyes.
About This Recipe
Black bean and avocado salad is actually quite healthy. It’s basically chopped up veggies with protein-rich black beans, and a light vinaigrette dressing. Avocado is super nutritious with healthy fats and tons of nutrients (Healthline). This recipe is easy to make, too!
Scroll down for the printable recipe at the end of this post. It has complete directions and nutrition information.
What You’ll Need
- Black Beans: One can of beans, rinsed and drained, is all you need. I usually buy the low sodium variety. Other types of beans are fine, too. Try black eyed peas for something more closely resembling cowboy caviar.
- Corn: Canned, frozen, fresh, whatever you like or happen to have. If I lived in a perfect world, I would always use fresh kernels cut off the cob because it’s so much better. Even better, grill the corn on the cob first for a nice charred flavor. But the reality is, I usually use a can of fiesta corn.
- Tomatoes: Any variety will work. I like Romas because they are more meaty and less juicy and seedy.
- Avocados: Use slightly underripe avocados for best results. Really ripe, soft avocados tend to get mushy and disintegrate a bit. Check out the FAQs for how to choose a ripe avocado.
- Vinaigrette: Make your own with a packet of dried Italian dressing mix, usually found in the dressing aisle of the grocery store. Mix it with white vinegar and oil, as directed. If you prefer, make homemade Italian dressing or use your favorite bottled dressing. You’ll need 1/2 cup.
- Lettuce, if you’re making a salad. Tortilla Chips, if you’re making a dip.
How To Make This Salad
It’s pretty simple. Drain the can of beans and the corn, if you’re using canned corn.
Add them to a big mixing bowl. Chop up the tomatoes, dice the avocados, and add them to the bowl. Note: if you’re not planning on serving this salad immediately, wait to add the avocado so it doesn’t turn brown or get mushy.
Stir up the vinaigrette in a small bowl or measuring cup.
Add the vinaigrette to the big bowl, and gently stir it all together. Be careful not to smush the avocado, especially if it’s on the ripe side.
That’s it! So easy and delicious.
Look for an avocado with dark, bumpy skin. Push gently with your finger. It should yield slightly but not feel mushy. Check out these helpful tips from Avocados From Mexico if you’re still not sure.
According to Healthline, beans are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Black beans contribute fiber, plant-based protein, and folate to your diet.
Choose a tomato that’s completely red. Hold the tomato in your hand. It should feel heavy for its size. Smell it. It should smell sweet and earthy, like a tomato.
Store tomatoes on the counter, not in the refrigerator. They will continue to ripen.
Make It Your Own
- Increase the veggie power. Add chopped bell peppers or red onions. They add a nice crunch and a lot of flavor to the salad.
If you want to take away some of the sharp flavor of raw onions, soak them (chopped) in ice water for about 15 minutes. Drain really well, and then add them to the salad.
- Love fresh herbs? Add fresh chopped cilantro or parsley to the salad. I add parsley to almost every salad. It’s nutritious and adds visual appeal, too.
- Substitute black-eyed peas, pinto beans, kidney beans, or another type of canned bean for the black beans.
If you want to get a head start on making this dip, mix everything up except the avocados. Store in the fridge for up to three days. Add the avocados right before serving.
This salad is best served right away. It will keep two to three days in the fridge but the avocado will discolor and get a bit soft. The dip still tastes great but isn’t quite as attractive.
Store leftovers in an airtight container or bowl covered with plastic wrap. The salad will keep for three days, or up to a week, if you haven’t added the avocado. You can freeze it, too, again without the avocado, for a month. Thaw overnight in the fridge.
More Southwestern style recipes
- Quinoa salad with cumin-lime dressing, black beans, and avocados
- Southwestern orzo pasta salad
- Southwestern guacamole toast
- Creamy Southwestern black bean dip
- Jalapeño ranch dip
- Slow Cooker Texas Chili – the best crockpot chili!
- Mexicali dip — one of my most popular dips.
- Taco salad — who doesn’t love taco salad?
- 7-layer dip – the best recipe ever!
- 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can (15.25 oz.) corn, drained (fiesta is fun, but not mandatory)
- 4-5 Roma tomatoes, diced
- 4 avocados, diced
- 1 package (0.7 oz.) dried Italian dressing mix (found in dressing aisle at grocery store)
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
- Lettuce or chips, for serving
- Put black beans, corn, tomatoes, and avocado into a large bowl.
- In a smaller bowl or measuring cup, mix together Italian dressing mix, white vinegar, and oil with a fork or whisk until combined.
- Pour dressing mixture over the other ingredients and mix gently to combine.
- Serve immediately, on a bed of lettuce or with tortilla chips. Makes 8 cups.
- Nutrition information is based on a one cup serving and does not include lettuce or tortilla chips.
- Substitute 1/2 cup bottled Italian dressing, if desired. That will replace the dressing mix, vinegar, and oil.
- Possible additions: Add 1/2 cup chopped red onions, chopped bell peppers, cilantro and/or parsley.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.