This easy and bright black bean and corn salad with Pablano pepper, fresh mint, and lime will surprise your taste buds in the best way possible! This recipe is from Joe Yonan's new book Cool Beans.
Beans are on the short list of foods we use all the time around here. I keep all sorts of beans in my pantry at all times because I know that, in a pinch, I can turn them into a quick side dish, a hearty stew, or a satisfying bean salad (or today's new black bean and corn salad) to serve a small crowd!
Recently, I put together a post with a list of favorite bean recipes that are often on the dinner rotation. Then I picked up Joe Yonan's new book called Cool Beans, and now I don't think I'll ever run out of ideas to use my pantry beans! This book is the ultimate guide to cooking with beans, the world's most versatile plant-based protein!
One of the recipes that immediately caught my eye is today's black bean and corn salad recipe. At first glance, you get a Mexican or a Southwest black bean salad vibe, but when you look closely at the list of tasty ingredients-- including fresh mint, lime juice, and even a little shredded coconut--you realize that Joe put such a unique and tasty spin on it!
I made this bean salad recipe for my family a few days ago and we devoured it in minutes! It's satisfying, bright and delicious, plus Mediterranean diet friendly!
Are black beans healthy?
The antioxidants, fiber, protein, and carbs make black beans some of the healthiest legumes and a nutrition powerhouse. They are satisfying and, thankfully, convenient and cheap. Most grocery stores will carry dry or canned black beans. And for a recipe like today's salad, the canned variety are just fine, you do not need to cook the beans from scratch.
What do you put in black bean salad?
Like I said earlier, Joe put a cool spin on the typical black bean corn salad with a couple of unique, yet available ingredients. Here is what you need to make it:
- Corn- you can use 2 ears of corn, which you can quickly cook in the microwave. Or, for a shortcut, start with 1 ½ cup frozen corn, just follow the package instructions to cook.
- Poblano pepper- 2 small peppers or 1 medium pepper. These lovely peppers are a mild variety of chile peppers, so they'll give a very slight spicy kick to this salad without overwhelming. And in this recipe, they're roasted to charred perfection--so much flavor! I have also tried this recipe with red peppers and really enjoyed it.
- Black beans- I used 1 ¾ cups of black beans from a can. Just be sure to rinse the beans well and drain them before using in this recipe.
- Grated coconut- just ½ cup, and I used already grated/shredded coconut from frozen. Not a usual ingredient in a black bean salad or a corn salad, but it works so well! If you can, don't skip the coconut!
- Fresh mint leaves- ¼ cup is what Joe recommends for this recipe, but I went for ½ cup of mint leaves because I just loved how herby and fresh the salad tasted with a little extra mint! Plus I like the change from the usual cilantro used in most black bean corn salads.
- Cherry tomatoes- a good cup of cherry tomatoes, which you can slice into halves or quarters depending on their size.
- Dressing ingredients- 2 tablespoons of lime juice and just 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil the light, no-fuss dressing.
- Kosher salt- start with ½ teaspoon and adjust to your liking
How do you make black bean and corn salad:
Time needed: 20 minutes.
Black bean corn salad: Step-by-step (print-friendly recipe below)
- Cook and Prepare Corn
Wet two paper towels and wring out excess water. Wrap corn ear with a moist paper towel and place on them both on a dinner plate. Cook in the microwave for 5 minutes. Let cool briefly then carefully remove the paper towel. Cut each cob in half crosswise (this will make it easier to stand the corn on your cutting board steadily). Place the corn on a cutting board and using a good knife, slice the kernels off. Transfer the corn kernels to a large mixing bowl.
Shortcut: you can use 1 ½ cups already cooked corn from a can or from frozen.
- Roast the pablano
The goal here is to get the pabalno charred real well. You can do this right on the grates over a gas burner. Use a pair of tongs to keep turning the pablano around until nicely charred on all sides. If you don't have a gas burner, place the pablano under the broiler and carefully turn around occasionally.
- Peel the pablano and chop
Once roasted, quickly put the pablano pepper in a bowl and cover with a plate. Leave it alone for 10 minutes so the steam will help release the skin. Uncover, and when cool enough to handle, use your fingers to slip the charred skin off. Discard the stem and seeds, then chop the pablano into small ½-inch pieces and add to the bowl with the corn.
- Mix the bean and corn salad!
Add the rest of the ingredients including black beans, coconut, mint, lime juice, tomatoes, olive oil, and salt. Toss to combine. Taste and adjust salt. Serve immediately.
Ways to serve this bean salad!
- As a hearty side next to your favorite protein. My mind went to grilled fish, baked salmon, lemon chicken, or even beef kabobs! Why not?!
- As a vegetarian lunch! This black bean salad is super hearty and can easily stand as lunch. Cook a cup of plain couscous and toss it in with this black bean and corn salad, adding a bit of lime juice and extra virgin olive oil. And if you're up for some more flavor, add a little ground cumin and some crushed pepper flakes for heat! You can do the same with quinoa for a gluten free quinoa black bean salad!
- As a salsa to share Joe says, if you want to go in the direction of a salsa with this bean salad recipe, go for it! Add some heat using a seeded and chopped jalapeno or Serrano chile and grab your favorite chips to serve along (Tortilla chips are the obvious choice, but don't put it past me to use pita chips instead)!
How long will it keep?
You can keep the leftovers of this black bean salad in the fridge in a tight-lid container for 2 to 3 days or so.
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Black Bean and Corn Salad Recipe
- 2 ears corn, cleaned with no husks (or 1 ½ cup cooked corn from frozen)
- 1 medium poblano chile
- 1 ¾ cups cooked black beans or from a can, rinsed if from can
- ½ cup grated coconut
- ¼ to ¼ cup lightly packed mint leaves, chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on size
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- Cook the corn in the microwave and prepare it. If working with corn (no husk) on the cob, wet two paper towels and wring out excess water. Wrap each ear of corn in the moist paper towel and place on a dinner plate. Cook in the microwave for 5 minutes. Let cool briefly then carefully remove the paper towel. Cut each cob in half crosswise, then stand one half at a time on a cutting board, cut side down, and slice off the kernels. Transfer the corn kernels to a large mixing bowl. (Alternatively, prepare 1 ½ cups from frozen cooked according to package instructions.)
- Roast the pablano pepper. Set the pablano pepper on the grates over a gas burner turned to high and use your tongs to turn the pepper until blackened in spots all over. (Alternatively, you can do this under the broiler).
- Peel the roasted pablano and chop. Place the roasted pablano in a bowl and cover plate, and let steam for 10 minutes. Uncover, and when cool enough to handle, use your fingers to slip off the blackened skin, then remove and discard the stem and seeds. Chop the roasted pablano into ½-inch pieces and add to the mixing bowl with the corn.
- Mix the salad. Now add the black beans, coconut, mint, lime juice, tomatoes, olive oil and kosher salt. Toss to combine. Taste and adjust salt to your liking. Serve immediately!
- Tip: This black bean salad is a cross between a hearty salad and a salsa. If you want to serve it more as a salsa, add 1 seeded and chopped jalapeno or serrano chile and serve with tortialla chips (for me, I'd do pita chips).
- What to serve along? This makes a great fresh side next to grilled fish, salmon burgers, lemon chicken, or even kabobs.
- Can this black bean corn salad be served as a main vegan course? Yes! I cooked a cup of plain couscous and tossed with this salad to give it even more heft, adding a little more lime juice and extra virgin olive oil. You can do the same with quinoa!
- Leftovers & Storage: Store any leftovers in the fridge in a tight-lid container for 2 to 3 days.
- This recipe is adapted from Cool Beans (affiliate link) by Joe Yonan
- Visit our online shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oils and spices.
*This post originally appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2020 and has been updated with new information and media for readers' benefit. Enjoy!