Black bean and corn salsa gives fresh color and flavor to tacos, nachos, or as a dip for tortilla chips. With fresh ingredients, this is a great recipe for summer but works just as well with frozen corn in the cooler months.
It’s that time of year when easy, no-cook recipes seem particularly appealing. I’ve been making many salads, sauces, and dips that can be stored in the fridge and served whenever we’re ready, and this salsa has been showing up more than any other. While it is delicious to serve with tortilla chips for snacking, we find so many other ways to use it. Served over lettuce with chicken carnitas, taco meat, or quinoa with a spoonful of sour cream makes one of my favorite healthy taco salads. It’s also great in breakfast burritos for some added flavor and protein. I made a triple batch over the weekend to serve over salmon tacos while we were vacationing at the lake.
Want to add this to your Tex Mex rotation? Here’s how to make it!
How to Make It
- Make dressing. Make a light dressing with onions or shallots, fresh lime juice, olive oil, and seasonings. If you’d like it to be spicy, add red pepper flakes or hot sauce.
- Add fresh ingredients. Fold in corn kernels, black beans, and tomatoes.
- Refrigerate. For the best flavor, refrigerate the salsa for at least an hour. This will allow the flavors to develop.
- Stir in fresh herbs. Wait to stir in chopped green onions or cilantro until right before serving.
- Lime Juice - Fresh lime juice adds so much brightness to this salsa. Don’t skip it!
- Onion or Shallots - This is not a salsa that is heavy on the onion flavor, but the tangy bite and crunch of onions is a good balance to the natural sweetness of the corn. Shallots are slightly more mild and sweet, so they make a great substitute if you don’t love raw onions.
- Corn Kernels - Fresh corn, sliced off the cob, is great here. For extra flavor, you can even grill or broil the corn before slicing the corn off the cobs.
- Black Beans - Be sure to drain and rinse them before using them.
- Tomatoes - I like to use small plum tomatoes here but regular tomatoes work well too.
- Cilantro or Green Onions - Use your favorite. If you have both in your garden or fridge, it’s great with a combination.
- Olive Oil - A little bit of olive oil goes a long way to help coat the salsa ingredients. Any neutral cooking oil will work just fine as well (like vegetable, grapeseed, or avocado oil).
- Honey, Chili Powder, Ground Cumin - I like a small amount of these seasonings to add some dimension to the flavors of the salsa. Feel free to skip any of these if you prefer a simpler flavor profile.
- Red Pepper Flakes - Only if you’d like this salsa to be spicy. Any hot sauce will work well too.
- Salt and Pepper - Don’t forget these to help the flavors shine. Adjust to taste, adding more salt and pepper if you’d like.
- Use a slotted spoon. The dressing and liquids from the fresh ingredients will gather in the bottom of the bowl. Use a slotted spoon to serve the salsa so that it doesn’t add too much water to tacos, nachos, or salads.
- Adjust spice and seasonings. If you want spice, feel free to wait until the salsa has been made and add spice to taste at the end. Do the same with the salt and pepper. Depending on how salty the beans are, you may want more or less salt than listed in the recipe below.
- Use charred corn - For extra flavor, I love to grill or char the corn under the broiler before slicing it off the cobs. It’s not necessary but adds great smoky flavor.
The salsa is best if used within a day, but usually will keep in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. It’s best if you add the fresh herbs right before serving, but leftovers are still delicious even if the herbs have already been added.
Absolutely. You’ll get the best flavor from fresh sweet corn, but when it’s not in season, these are great substitutes.
- Add avocado - For more substance and healthy fats, add avocado. Just wait to stir the avocado in until right before serving so it doesn’t brown.
- Add red bell peppers - For more crunch and color, add diced red bell peppers. You can use them in addition to or in place of the tomatoes.
- Use rotel instead of tomatoes - If tomatoes aren’t in season (or if you just want a shortcut), use a can of Rotel Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilis.
More Tex Mex Recipes
- Instant Pot Tex Mex Chicken and Brown Rice Stew
- Sheet Pan Tacos
- Ground Chicken Burrito Bowls
- Slow Cooker Tex Mex Stuffed Peppers
- Slow Cooker Green Salsa Chicken
Black Bean and Corn Salsa Recipe
- Mixing Bowl
- ¼ cup Lime Juice
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- ½ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
- ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
- ½ teaspoon Honey
- ¼ teaspoon Chili Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Ground Cumin
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- ¼ cup chopped Red Onion, White Onion, or Shallots
- 2 cups Corn Kernels, fresh (see note)
- 1 15 ounce can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 small Plum Tomatoes (substitute 1 regular tomato)
- ½ cup chopped Fresh Herbs (cilantro or green onions)
- Whisk together lime juice, olive oil, red pepper flakes (if using), salt, honey, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, and onions / shallots.
- Add corn kernels, black beans, and tomatoes and stir gently.
- Refrigerate for at least one hour and up to one day to let the flavors develop.
- Just before serving, stir in fresh herbs. (Note: Liquids will gather on the bottom of the bowl as the salsa rests, so give it a stir before serving. Use a slotted spoon to serve the salsa.)