This is one of my favorite summertime dinners—a big bowl of rainbow-colored bean salsa, a bag of chips, and the front porch. It doesn’t get easier (or tastier) than that! Now I see a good 37% of you rolling your eyes and saying, “Um, salsa isn’t a meal.” When you do it like this? It totally is.
This black bean salsa recipe is super fun and easy to make. The bright yellow sweet corn swirls together with the vibrant red tomatoes, bold green bell peppers, and earthy black beans in a cacophony of yummy color.
Not only does this corn and black bean salsa look great on your plate, but it’s also nourishing, hearty, and delicious. Crisp tomatoes, a hint of fresh lime, hearty black beans, and a burst of sweetness from the corn combine to make the perfect black bean salsa.
What do I need to make this corn and black bean salsa?
One of the beautiful things about this recipe is that it’s so adaptable! It works well with various ingredient swaps and is easy to customize to your particular taste.
Corn: This recipe calls for frozen corn—and that’s definitely what we prefer here. It gives you all the flavor of fresh corn, but with much less work!
If you want to add the freshest corn you can to your black bean salsa, you should try corn straight off the cob. To do this, bring a large pot of water to a boil with a tablespoon of salt and add two to three ears of husked corn. Boil for three to five minutes, then drop your corn in some ice water to stop the cooking process. Simply cut your corn off of the cob, and it’s ready to be added to your corn and black bean salsa!
We don’t recommend canned corn for this recipe. It doesn’t have quite the fresh crunch you want for salsa!
Bell Peppers: Although green bell peppers are listed in the recipe, feel free to substitute for whichever pepper you have on hand. Orange, yellow, and red peppers tend to be sweeter than their green counterparts, if you’re in search of added sweetness or color.
Tomatoes: We recommend using fresh tomatoes over canned diced tomatoes. While you can use canned tomatoes, they won’t have the same satisfying texture as fresh. Hand-diced tomatoes are worth the effort because they’re crisp and add a fresh, crunchy bite to this black bean salsa.
Black Beans: This recipe calls for cooked seasoned black beans. If you don’t have the time to make seasoned black beans from scratch, you can always use canned beans. Make sure you rinse and drain canned beans well before tossing them in this black bean salsa recipe.
Can I refrigerate this black bean salsa?
Yes! When kept in an airtight container, this salsa can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. This means that it’s a great make-ahead option for your next potluck lunch, picnic, or game night. I’d recommend letting it sit in the fridge for at least ten minutes before serving. This will allow the flavors to mix, and it’ll give you that cool, crisp crunch you’re looking for in a salsa.
Do I need to eat this black bean salsa with chips?
You sure don’t! Remember how I said this black bean salsa is versatile? Well, that doesn’t stop at the ingredients. You can use this salsa as a topper on tacos, enchiladas, burritos, or nachos. Spoon it over a baked potato, put it in a quesadilla, or use it as a side dish with chicken or fish. You can even grab a spoon and just dig in. Trust me, it’s that good!
If you’re looking to turn this black bean salsa into a more substantial meal—and who could blame you if you did—you can do this with a few extra ingredients. Cooked quinoa or brown rice will add substance to turn your black bean salsa into a vegetarian salad. Adding some cooked chicken breast or steak will turn this corn and black bean salsa into a dinner that meat lovers will love.
Is this salsa spicy?
No, but it certainly can be! All you need to do is finely dice some jalapeños—remove the seeds first—and toss them in your salsa. That’s it. You can adjust the spice level to your taste by changing the number of jalapeños you throw in.
If spice isn’t your thing, you can make this recipe sweeter by adding some diced fresh mango or pineapple. Or pair this salsa with our Mango Guacamole for a dip-tastic snack!