Open Arms of Minnesota

Weekly Recipe #178: Tangy Black Bean Salad

Diana Brostow, Dietetic Intern [University of Minnesota – The Emily Program]

Photo Credit - Beccapie/Flickr
Photo Credit – Beccapie/Flickr

I love this salad for so many reasons: it’s easy, it’s fast, it’s CHEAP, and it’s a fabulous meal all on its own. You can make a huge batch of it to feed a crowd, or keep it in the fridge for a week – it stays delicious for days. Also, as much as I like beans in every form, I get tired of the many recipes that make them heavy, soupy, or mushy. Sometimes I have a hankering for a bean dish that tastes fresh, tangy and crisp, and this one delivers.

Nutritionally, this salad packs a big punch – lean protein, lots of fiber, fresh veggies in every color and texture, healthy fats in the dressing, and a little briny feta cheese for extra tang and some richness.
My mother introduced me to this recipe – I have no idea where she got it from, but I’ve adapted the dressing slightly to give it a brighter flavor. It makes a regular appearance at my summer potlucks…

Tangy Black Bean Salad

Servings: up to 12 people as a side dish, up to 6 as a main dish, can easily be doubled or tripled


For the salad:

  • 4 cups cooked, drained black beans*
  • 1 packed cup shredded carrots (about 2-3 raw carrots)
  • 3 medium roma or plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 large bell pepper (red, orange or yellow), seeded and diced
  • 2 scallion stalks (green onions), finely sliced
  • ½ bunch of fresh cilantro**, stems removed and finely minced (about 1 cup)
  • 4 oz. feta, crumbled (about ½ package)

* 4 cups = 2 average 15-ounce cans of black beans. Just be sure to rinse and drain them thoroughly.
** If you don’t like cilantro, you can omit it altogether, or substitute an equal amount of fresh flat-leaf parsley

For the dressing:

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar (red wine vinegar works as well)
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ tsp. honey
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients until well-combined. Let the dressing sit and its flavors meld while you make the salad.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the salad ingredients. Toss gently, just to distribute the vegetables and cilantro around the beans.
  3. Pour dressing over salad and toss again. Taste a spoonful and add salt or pepper if desired. Serve and enjoy. Note: This salad tastes even better if you let it sit in the fridge, covered, for an hour or two.


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