This fresh and delicious Bean Salad Recipe comes together in less than 15 minutes and is super easy to make! Filled with four different kinds of beans, crunchy vegetables, sweet corn, ripe tomatoes, and drizzled with a zesty red wine vinaigrette, everyone will love this colorful vegan and gluten-free Mexican Bean Salad.
Easy Mexican Bean Salad Recipe
Plain beans are pretty boring. But beans in a bean salad? Well, they’re like little tasty bits of heaven.
In my experience, the key to a delicious tasting bean salad starts by adding contrasting textures followed by bold flavors. This Mexican-inspired bean salad is packed with crunchy vegetables, creamy avocado, sweet corn, and a tangy vinaigrette.
A harmonious fusion of textures and flavors makes this easy bean salad recipe one of my very favorites.
Vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and jam-packed with nutrients, this is a seriously healthy salad (and equally delicious!)
Bean Salad Ingredients
- Beans – In this recipe I added black beans, garbanzo beans, cannellini beans, and kidney beans. I love adding different types of beans since they all have a slightly different texture and flavor helping keep this Mexican bean salad interesting and varied. Of course, feel free to mix up your own version, or use what you have available in your own pantry.
- Red + green onion – Eating just beans can be pretty boring. We need some contrasting textures and flavors. Diced red onion does just the trick in adding a little crunch with just the right amount of spice.
- Celery – Fresh and crunchy. You don’t need to a lot, especially if you’re not a huge fan of celery, but with so many bold flavors, celery adds a refreshing break.
- Bell pepper – Since this bean salad has a Mexican twist, bell pepper makes a flavorful, healthy addition.
- Jalapeño – Make it spicy! Or don’t. Totally up to you.
- Sweet corn – From a cob, can, or thawed from frozen, sweet corn is a delicious contrast to the savory flavors from the rest of the salad.
- Cherry tomatoes – Cherry tomatoes, when ripe, are sweet and loaded with flavor.
- Cilantro – If you love it, you’ll want it. If you don’t, simply leave it out.
- Lime – ZEST and juice!
- Vinegar – Red wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar are my all-time favorite vinegar for dressing. You may use one or the other, or, play around with other vinegar such as white wine or champagne vinegar. I do not recommend plain white vinegar as it is far too harsh.
- Olive oil – We’re making a vinaigrette, so naturally, we need a little bit of oil. I tend to go light on the oil, but feel free to add more to yours if you prefer.
- Spices – Salt, pepper, chili powder, and ground cumin. Cumin is super flavorful and common to many Mexican dishes. Add more or less to suit your taste.
How to Make a Bean Salad
Let’s talk about making this bean salad.
It’s super easy to make, so that’s a relief. However, if you have a little forethought or perhaps a little extra time, I highly recommend preparing this salad ahead of time. As far as the night before, but even an hour will help intensify the flavors.
To make this bean salad simply,
Combine Bean Salad Ingredients. In a large salad bowl combine the rinsed and drained beans, red onion, celery, red bell pepper, jalapeño, sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, green onion, and fresh cilantro. Gently mix to combine.
Mix together the vinaigrette. In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
Mix everything together. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the bean salad and thoroughly mix to combine. Cover and refrigerate for two hours to overnight before serving (time allowing).
Serve. Serve garnished with fresh cilantro or sliced avocado, or with grilled or baked chicken for a protein-packed meal.
Should you rinse canned beans?
Anytime you make a bean salad, I highly recommend thoroughly rinsing the beans.
The reason being that they’re canned in a mixture of water and salt which, over time, causes the beans to release starches creating a thick, cloudy, and unappealing liquid.
Although it is completely edible, it is also very salty and will alter the overall taste (and look) of the final dish.
Simply drain the beans in a fine mesh strainer and rinse with cool water before adding to the mixing bowl.
Are Beans Good for You?
Are beans good for you? The true answer to this question is that it’s probably a little different for everyone.
That said, here’s what we do know about beans,
Beans are an excellent source of fiber, particularly the soluble kind, with approximately 1 cup of cooked beans providing 9-13 grams. Fiber helps lower blood cholesterol, promotes regularity, and helps manage blood sugar levels by helping you feel full for longer. All great things, right?
But beans are not only high in fiber; they’re also high in protein, complex carbohydrates, iron, B vitamins, and many other important vitamins and minerals. Also good, yes?
Although the benefits of adding beans to your diet far outweigh the risks (for most people), there are a few things to look out for including,
- Some people may be allergic to beans or members of the legume family. Did you know that peanuts are a legume? Yep. Also the soybean. It is common that people who are allergic to one bean may be allergic to another.
- Most beans cannot be eaten raw because they contain proteins called lectins. Lectins can cause serious food poisoning because they may lead to cyanide formation. Fortunately, cooking beans for at least 10 minutes destroys lectins.
So, yes or no? For me, yes. Beans are absolutely healthy. But if you have any doubts yourself, ask a doctor.
Tips + Tricks
- Rinse your beans. You don’t want the salty liquid tainting your salad.
- Chop the veggies (celery, bell pepper, red onion) into tiny, similar-size, bits and pieces.
- Allow your bean salad to marinate in the vinaigrette for at least 1-2 hours, time allowing.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Add some fresh lime juice and cilantro to add life and freshness back to the salad.
- Chili powder (ancho chili powder, for example) will not make the bean salad spicy. Cayenne powder, on the other hand, will.
- You will need to season with enough salt and pepper to help bring out the flavors.
- If you plan on adding avocado, only do so at the just before serving.
How to serve this Mexican Bean Salad Recipe
Like my Three Bean Salad and Broccoli Salad, this is one that I frequently keep stocked in my refrigerator for easy lunches or last-minute dinners. It’s my favorite way to clean out my refrigerator and shop my pantry and feel good while doing it!
Here are some delicious ways to serve this easy Bean Salad and keep it interesting through the week,
- I love to add some protein such as Steak Bites, Cilantro Lime Shrimp, or Chimichurri Chicken. Of course, anything will go- leftover rotisserie chicken, tempeh, or even hard-boiled eggs.
- Add more greens. My favorite thing to do is toss this salad with a big bowl of fresh leafy greens. It’s such an easy way to add more veggies to your diet. Add some pico de gallo or fresh mango salsa? The possibilities are endless!
- Top some tortilla chips with shredded cheese, bake until melted, and top with bean salad! Serve with homemade guacamole and a margarita and you’ve got yourself a party!
More salad recipes,
- Strawberry Spinach Salad Recipe with Poppy Seed Dressing
- Taco Salad Recipe
- Egg Salad Recipe (How to Make Egg Salad)
- Easy Fruit Salad Recipe
- The Best Italian Pasta Salad Recipe
- Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe
If you try this Mexican Bean Salad Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
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Easy Bean Salad Recipe
- 1 (15 ounce) can black beans - drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans - drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans - drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans - drained and rinsed
- ½ red onion - diced
- 2 stalks celery - diced
- 1 red bell pepper - cored, seeded, and diced
- 1 jalapeño - seeded and minced
- 1 cup sweet corn - fresh, frozen, or canned
- 10 ounces cherry tomatoes - halved or quartered
- 1 cup green onions - chopped
- ½ cup fresh cilantro - chopped, plus more for serving
- Sliced avocado - for serving
For the Vinaigrette
- 1 large lime - zest and juice
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar - plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon chili powder - plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Combine Bean Salad Ingredients. In a large salad bowl combine the rinsed and drained beans, red onion, celery, red bell pepper, jalapeño, sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, green onion, and fresh cilantro. Gently mix to combine.
- Mix together the vinaigrette. In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
- Mix everything together. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the bean salad and thoroughly mix to combine. Cover and refrigerate for two hours to overnight before serving (time allowing) to let "marinate" and enhance flavor.
- Serve. Serve garnished with fresh cilantro or sliced avocado, or with grilled or baked chicken for a protein-packed meal.
- Leftovers will keep for up to 4 days when stored in a sealed container and in the refrigerator.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)
Great recipe, flavors are wonderful!
Literally the best bean salad I’ve ever had. Don’t be scared by the long list of ingredients & chopping, it’s TOTALLY worth it!! The flavor is phenomenal. I will continue to make this
Jessica Randhawa says
Thank you for the phenomenal feedback and rating, January 😀
I’ve never left a review for a Pinterest recipe, but decided it was necessary for the Easy Bean Salad recipe from The Forked Spoon. We eat a lot of cold bean and vegetable salads and this one tops the list! The dressing for the salad is delicious and different – the cumin gives it a distinct flavor! Keep up the good work 👍
Jessica Randhawa says
Thank you for the kind feedback Julie 🙂
Blossom Smith says
These beans look so comforting and delicious! I’m going to have to make them soon! Really interesting reading about putting the oil in with the beans while they are cooking. Thanks for all the great tips!