black bean, corn and coriander salad recipe

As I've watched each of our jalapeno chillies grow and ripen I've been thinking about what I might do with them first. This time last year we were packing up our life in NZ all ready to make the move over the ditch so I hadn't bothered planting much in our garden that summer. The year before I pickled most of our crop and then savoured each one throughout the year adding them to salads, sandwiches and pizza's alike. If you have been reading for some time you will have noticed I have a thing for chillies and while I often go for the almighty knock-out effect of birds eye chillies it is the jalapeno that I love the most. It's mellow heat means you get to taste the actual chilli and are perfect added to all sorts of dishes, especially those with ties to South and Central America, namely mexico.

With that in mind I put together a fresh summer salad recently, filled with a bunch of my favourite things; freshly cooked black beans, pan-cooked corn, coriander (cilantro), fresh jalapenos, avocado and feta, all tossed around in a good dose of freshly squeezed lime and extra virgin olive oil. Yes I know, you may be wondering where the avocado is in these photos?! I totally forgot to add it when taking these photos only to remember later as I sat down to eat...

If you don't have access to fresh jalapeno chillies, pickled would work just as good, possibly even better and if you don't eat dairy at all or are vegan simply omit the feta and season perfectly with sea salt instead. This salad is one of those instances where you really need to season correctly, taste and adjust as you go along, adding more salt, lime juice or olive oil as needed. Trust your instincts.

I've been pulling off chillies as they ripen saving them in the fridge until I've got enough to pickle. I can't wait! I use this recipe from David Lebovitz, and I'm hoping to get a good few jars done by the end of summer.

Update: Ada had a great first week at school, she's tired but happy. Kye's first day at kindy left us both in tears, but he had a great day after that rough start and by day two happily reported back to me "kindy's as cool as can be mum", so all's good!

black bean, corn and coriander salad
I prefer to use freshly cooked black beans, especially in salads like this where they are taking centre stage, but of course you can also get away with using good quality tinned ones too. Just make sure you rinse them well to remove as much of that salty brine as possible, and drain before using.
serves 2 as a main or more as a side

  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • 1 medium red onion, finely diced
  • 1 small capsicum (any colour), finely diced
  • 1 corn cob, husk and silk removed, kernels cut from the cob with a sharp knife
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups cooked black beans (see below) or 1x 400g tin black beans, rinsed well and drained
  • Juice 1 lime, plus extra to serve
  • 1-2 fresh jalapeno chillies, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup coriander (cilantro) leaves
  • 1 perfectly ripe avocado, diced, optional
  • crumbled feta to serve, optional

Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium/high heat, add onion, capsicum and corn kernels. Cook for 5-8 minutes stirring often until everything is tender and the corn has a few flecks of golden-near-burnt bits around the edges. Add the oregano and cook for a further minutes until fragrant. Remove from the heat and season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Add the black beans, lime juice, diced jalapenos and another little splash of extra virgin olive oil. Stir through coriander (cilantro) and check for seasoning, adding a little more sea salt and black pepper if needed to make those flavours really pop.

Serve salad topped with diced avocado (which I forgot to add when taking these photos but remembered later on when it came time to eat!), a crumbling of feta (if desired/tolerated) and lime wedges to squeeze over.

* To cook black beans; soak beans overnight in plenty of cold water. The next day drain and rinse. Cover with fresh water, bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer and cook until soft but not mushy, anywhere from 30-60 minutes. Season with a little sea salt in the last 5 minutes of cooking, no earlier or the skin with never soften up. Drain and use or cool and freeze for later use.

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  • Pigs & Bishops
    February 6, 2012 at 5:55 am

    Yum! I might have to put some black beans in the pressure cooker to make a variation on this tonight, or maybe soak some and do it tomorrow. I'd been planning to make sopa de quinua, an Ecuadorian quinoa and potato soup.

    Our baby doesn't like chilli, unfortunately, so I pickled our crop last night. I thought perhaps they might be jalapeno chillis (the plant was already here when we moved in) but they're longer and thinner than the ones in your picture. I did have two plants at our last house, but an old woman came into our garden and dug them up!

    Mexico is in Central America, by the way, not South America πŸ™‚

    • emma
      February 6, 2012 at 6:31 am

      Aha yes thanks, was a late night writing last night! Will amend now thanks heaps.
      P.s Your sopa de quinua sounds amazing! And your chillies might have been jalapeno? The ones I used were picked a tad prematurely, they do grow slightly longer, but always stay quite round. You can leave them on the plant longer and they get even hotter as the skin starts to develop little lines on them.

  • the good soup
    February 6, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Dear Em, it's such a joy to finally have a little time to read your blog (Oliver's asleep and Mathew's in Perth, can you believe it!?) and find this answer to my chillie dilemmas. You see, I planted a heap of differently chillies in my garden this year, determined to invite more spice into my cooking, and I've got dozens of jalapenos… but I've been too nervous to use them! Scared I'd blow the eyebrows of my baby boy, and well, just a little bit to tired and busy to bite the courage pill. So pickling them- that's perfect! I can delay the whole chillie introduction thing without sacrificing the whole crop! I've also got a truck load of habeneros- do you use them ever? They're much hotter, aren't they?

    • emma
      February 6, 2012 at 11:16 am

      Dear Angela, be brave and try a jalapeno love! I don't find them hot at all πŸ™‚ But yes, pickling them is a great option if saving them for another time is more your thing. I've never grown or eaten habaneros before, but I'm pretty sure they are meant to be one of the hottest if not THE hottest chilli out! Good luck with those! Knock-your-socks-off hot chilli sauce maybe? πŸ˜‰

  • The InTolerant Chef
    February 6, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Lovely salad, and its so rewarding to highlight something special you've grown yourself.
    Glad school is settling down well πŸ™‚

  • Caitlin
    February 6, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    what a delicious salad! i love how it's kind of like taco filling, without the taco! i absolutely love black beans, corn, coriander, and avocado together <3 and the photos are gorgeous!

  • Marie-Anne
    February 6, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Fresh and awesome πŸ™‚ And I'm just with you on that one, Emma, jalapenos are awesome and should be used as often as possible. They're not as hot as one may think, plus oven-baked as a popper with cottage cheese, they're even less daunting for the palate.
    Thank you for this wonderful recipe (the pictures are stunning BTW).

    • emma
      February 8, 2012 at 3:12 am

      Oven baked with cottage cheese! Sounds delicious πŸ™‚

  • France@beyondthepeel
    February 6, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    I love this recipe. We make one very similar but we call it a corn and black bean salsa and eat it with fish. The funny part is that we eat it like a salad like you do but call it a salsa. I think your term is way more accurate! hahaha. Beautiful photos Emma.

    • emma
      February 8, 2012 at 3:13 am

      Thanks πŸ™‚ I actually tossed up between calling this a salad or a salsa!

  • Alessandra
    February 6, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    Good looking chillies! I have none in my garden, they don't seem to like the Waitakere forest, I guess that it is too humid here, I should try to grow them in a terracotta pot next year. This salad is perfect for me :-).


    • emma
      February 8, 2012 at 3:16 am

      We've just got ours growing in large pots, they seem to be great for chillies cause when it gets too cold you can just bring them indoors and they should keep growing indefinitely. The birds eye chilli that my mother-in-law gave me has been growing for over 10 years! The nice warm weather here in Perth might have something to do with that to though πŸ˜‰

  • Melissa @ Gluten Free For Good
    February 6, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    This is my kind of dish. Fresh and healthy (I'm a huge cilantro fan)! Love your series of photos. Gorgeous!

  • JenK
    February 7, 2012 at 8:56 am

    I love this. I was so keen I made it for dinner but had to substitute cannelini beans as I couldn't find tinned black beans and didn't have time to cook them. The flavours were great and I will absolutely do it properly next time. Thanks

    • emma
      February 8, 2012 at 3:16 am

      Hey wow, so glad you made it and enjoyed it πŸ™‚

  • erin @ yummy supper
    February 7, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Emma, This is the kind of food I love… a warm, fresh, colorful, nourishing meal in a bowl!

  • Anh
    February 7, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    An awesome salad! I grow chillis this summer as well, but they don't produce a huge crop… yet!

  • hungryandfrozen
    February 8, 2012 at 12:54 am

    I love fresh corn! And your mention of the avocado make me crack up, I do that all the time, even if it's like, an important central ingredient.

    Awww, glad kindy went well after a rough start!

    • emma
      February 8, 2012 at 3:18 am

      Ah yes, I've done that a few times now. I also spent ages taking photos of a cake recently, only to taste it after and realise it wasn't blog-worthy :-/

  • Stef
    February 9, 2012 at 5:04 am

    Hey, where do you buy your black beans? They can be so hard to find in Oz πŸ™

    • emma
      February 9, 2012 at 7:22 am

      Hey Stef, I buy mine at a health food stall at the Fremantle markets, but I've seen them in Indian grocery stores too. Any good health food shop should sell them, especially ones with bulk bins. Good luck!

  • Mairi @ Toast
    February 12, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Oh I love all these flavours and what beautiful jalapeΓ±os, love them too, well all sorts of chillies, find I add them to just about everything πŸ™‚

  • sian
    February 14, 2012 at 4:28 am

    i've made something similar but added in tomato as well! delicious!

  • JenK
    February 27, 2012 at 9:48 am

    OK I have already commented but this has become a favourite for me. Black beans are cooked and frozen and ready to go and corn is still in season. I love, love, love it!!! So easy to throw together when I get home late. Thanks again. I have fiddled with the recipe but it is never as good as when I actually follow it.

    • emma
      February 27, 2012 at 12:22 pm

      So happy to hear JenK πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for reporting back!

  • keukenwerkblad
    October 11, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    Thanks a lot for sharing. Will check back later for more of your articles.