(Note: this post was originally published on August 16, 2020. It has been updated several times since then with additional examples).
Are you looking for the fastest, freshest salad ever? Meet the No-Cook Rainbow Black Bean Salad! It has become one of my go-to dishes for summer get-togethers and I hope it will for you to.
A few summers ago, I posted this salad on Instagram and you all went crazy over it. I wasn't even planning to post a full recipe on the blog because it just seemed too simple. But your love of this salad gave me a very clear message: you guys are on the hunt for easy, fresh summer dishes that will get you back to your outdoor activities faster.
So here it is- just about the easiest bean salad ever. There's absolutely zero cooking involved. This rainbow creation will allow you to play outside all day, throw everything together at the last minute, and still have a very flavorful and nutritious meal.
The flavor profile of this salad is very fresh and light, largely Mexican-inspired with a kiss of Hawaii. The dressing is just lime juice, a bit of honey (or agave for a fully vegan version), freshly grated ginger, and perhaps a dash of cayenne or hot sauce; keeping the dressing simple really allows the fresh veggies to shine.
I like to use multi-colored bell peppers, mango, purple cabbage, corn, and fresh cilantro for a rainbow effect. Aren't the colors great?? But it will taste equally as wonderful with fewer colors represented, so use what you have.
Feel free to make whatever flavor swaps you like- this salad is so flexible! Use mint instead of cilantro, pineapple instead of mango, or orange juice instead of lime juice. The whole point here is for this to be EASY, so this is definitely not a place to make a whole separate trip to the store because you don't have any cilantro in the fridge.
One of the things I love most about this salad is its flexibility. It can truly become anything! Especially for a summer get-together, this sort of versatility is so important. This salad can easily be a side dish alongside some grilled fare, or can function as a main course for herbivores. It's a delightful chip dip too. Because it can be different things for different people based on diet, it's a great dish for a crowd.
I also like that this salad can be as fancy or as humble as you like. It's quite beautiful when plated nicely, and can make for a great party dish if you cut some pretty mango slices. I've even plated it in a papaya half- see the photo below! But it also works great out of a container on a picnic.
Got leftovers? This salad is great in a burrito bowl, on top of a salad, or stuffed into a taco the following day!
This salad also works great as a make-ahead meal, so it would be perfect for a potluck or even as an easy lunch throughout the week. If you want to make it ahead, the dressing, cabbage, beans, and peppers can happily co-exist in the fridge for a few days. I'd just add the mango, avocado, cilantro, and pepitas right before serving so that they stay fresh.
Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.
As you can tell from all the ideas and different photos in this post, this salad makes frequent appearances in our house and on our deck. Everything about this salad is just so friendly... it's easy, a crowd-pleaser, super colorful, and versatile. You can do pretty much anything you want to it, swapping ingredients left and right, and it will still be great. One time, I even made this into a heart shape as a chip dip for Valentine's Day date night... see below!.
My biggest tip though? Make a double batch! It always goes quickly, and having leftovers the next day is a major win.
It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.
A go-to for get-togethers on our deck, this black bean salad is fresh, colorful, and infinitely customizable. Best of all, there's no cooking involved!