Black Bean Salsa or Salad, you choose

IMG_6561I have made this festive black bean salad for many years.  It just started as a throw together passing dish for a day on the boat.  I initially served it with tortilla chips as a black bean salsa.  It has evolved through the years from a salsa to a salad served over fresh greens, a vegetarian main dish served in warm corn tortillas as vegetarian tacos and as a colorful side dish alongside grilled meat or kebobs for a light summer meal.  One of my very favorite memories of this black bean salsa was when I prepared it for our first dinner in San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico; the trip that we got engaged!  Awwww, I digress….

Again, this really is a throw together dish.  I do not have an exact recipe per say but here are the ingredients.  The dressing is simply fresh squeezed lime juice and olive oil, approximately 1/4 cup of each.  Feel free to add a teaspoon or so of sugar if it’s too tart for you.  I’ve never had that complaint so I don’t use any sugar.  I’ve included some variations at the bottom of the recipe.

Now, let’s talk lime pepper.  This is the seasoning I use for this dish.  However, it’s become ridiculously hard to find.  I used to buy a large container of it at my local Costco/Sams Club store.  It was Tone’s brand.  They no longer have it and I’ve been unsuccessful finding it.  I’m now ordering it from Amazon, (the company taking over the world!)  The Tone’s brand is currently not available; in my research it seems Tone’s has been sold and the product is now produced under the Durkee name.  So I’ve settled for the Durkee brand; it is great and I’ll warn you up front, it’s pricey!  But, it’s a very large container and I use it for a lot of dishes including fish, chicken, summer pasta salads, slaws and I add it to the cooking liquid of rice and quinoa for extra flavor.  Honestly, it is a lovely fresh citrus blend that adds a really nice flavor…totally worth it.  This dish could be made without the lime pepper by adding the zest of 1 lime, black pepper and a couple teaspoons of cumin instead.  I’ve done this method when I was searching for the lime pepper and it was delicious.

Now that you think I’m a total geek with all my lime pepper research here’s the recipe.  Enjoy, it’s a keeper!

Black Bean Salsa or Salad, you choose
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Appetizer, Side Dish, Vegetarian Main
Cuisine: Mexican, American, Tex-Mex
Serves: 6-8
  • 2 cans of black beans (I use no salt added) - drained and rinsed
  • 1 green bell pepper - diced
  • 1 red bell pepper - diced
  • 1 yellow or orange bell pepper - diced
  • 1 medium red onion - diced
  • 2 handfuls of cilantro - chopped (I like cilantro, you can adjust your amount to taste. Remember, the stems are just as flavorful as the leaves so they can be chopped up as well!)
  • ¼ cup plus fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Lime pepper to taste - I use a lot of it (2+Tablespoons)
  • 1½ teaspoons cumin (optional)
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • NOTE - I've also added 1½ cups of a frozen roasted corn (defrosted) for a black bean and corn salsa.
  • NOTE 2 - A substitution for the lime pepper is to add the zest of 1 lime, black pepper and 2 teaspoon of cumin.
  1. Place the black beans, bell peppers, red onion, corn (if using) and cilantro in a large bowl and stir well to mix. Add the lime juice and olive oil and mix to fully combine. Add the lime pepper, cumin (if using) and a pinch or two of the Kosher salt and mix well to combine. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to blend. Stir well before serving.


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