This Healthy Mexican Salad is super easy to make and is amazing with our Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing!
With no expensive ingredients, you can enjoy it as either dinner salad or a side dish. What a perfectly healthy and satisfying way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo or Taco Tuesday!
When I was brainstorming delicious Mexican food I could make for Cinco de Mayo this year, none of my ideas seemed super exciting.
They all felt a little… heavy.
After the long winter we’re just coming out of, my body is craving vegetables and giant dinner salads! So a healthy Mexican Salad it is!
I love having big salads for dinner, but they have to have a decent amount of protein in them, otherwise I’m hungry a half hour after I eat.
The black beans in this salad do the trick, and combined with cheese, corn, avocado and tomato, they make this a substantial enough salad for a whole meal. Or you can just have smaller servings as a side dish.
Beans are a super inexpensive pantry staple that we use from time to time, but I’m excited to use more of in the future.
I used canned beans in this recipe, but dried beans are much cheaper (although they do take longer to prep than opening a can, so go with what works for you).
I used frozen corn (very inexpensive) and lettuce is starting to go on sale. A bit of grated cheese, a tomato (on sale!) and some green onions, all of which are pretty affordable.
Oh, and an avocado. Because, mygawd, I just love avocado so darn much and sometimes I HAVE TO HAVE IT. So yes, an avocado, even though they can be semi-expensive (sad face).
Serve this salad with our Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing – they were meant for each other. And I mean that literally. They were designed to go together. You’ll see what I mean!
What else can I add to this Mexican summer salad?
This awesome salad is full of opportunity to add more delicious ingredients! Things I think would be delicious are:
- chicken, ground beef, sliced steak or tofu (pre-cooked or you could cook it before the black beans, in the same seasoning)
- chickpeas or other beans/legumes
- black olives
- chopped bell peppers
- pickled banana peppers or jalapenos
- pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- cooked pasta, quinoa or rice
Is this salad a main course or side dish?
I find the beans in this salad make it hearty enough to stand on its own as a dinner salad. If you need a little more protein to fill up, chicken, ground beef, sliced steak or tofu would all be delicious (especially if they’re grilled!!)
This also makes a great side dish to go with a Mexican inspired meal, or an awesome dish to bring to a potluck!
Related: Freezer Chicken or Steak Quesadillas
Healthy Mexican Salad – Step-by-Step Instructions
Healthy Mexican Salad – Ingredients
If you’re using canned black beans, empty them into a strainer and rinse well. If you’re using dried beans you’ll have to cook them first according to the package directions.
I used around 1.5-2 cups for my salad, but you could use more or less.
Sautée black beans with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, one minced clove of garlic, 2 large pinches of salt (unless your beans were already salted) and 1 teaspoon of chili powder.
Set aside to cool.
If you’re using frozen corn, place it in a microwave safe bowl, add a bit of water, cover and microwave for 2 minutes. Stir, then microwave for 2 more minutes. Drain well. (Check your package for alternate directions).
Set aside to cool.
If you’re using canned corn, drain it well.
Fresh corn kernels are most likely ready to use.
Slice one large or two medium tomatoes and use a knife to take out the seeds and pulp. Chop into large chunks.
Finely chop two green onions, grate about 1 cup of cheese (any kind will do) and chop an avocado.
Wash, dry and chop or tear your head of romaine lettuce.
Toss together lettuce, corn, black beans, cheese and chopped vegetables.
Garnish individual servings with crushed tortilla chips and serve with the most amazing Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing!
Do you celebrate Cinco de Mayo? What are you planning to eat and drink?
How to Meal Prep This Recipe
This recipe is a great option for weekly meal prep! If you want to prep this salad ahead of time, I would prepare all the components completely and store them separately (so that they don’t get mushy).
If you plan to eat this salad all in one sitting, I would toss it together right before eating and then have people crush tortilla chips on their own helpings.
If you want to meal prep this for work lunches, I would prepare all the components, make sure they are cool and well drained.
Then I’d layer them into containers or mason jars, starting with the dressing on the bottom, followed by the corn, green onion, then tomatoes, black beans, avocado, cheese and lettuce.
When it’s time to eat you can just dump the whole thing onto a plate and mix it up (the lettuce will be on the bottom now and the dressing will be on top).
I wouldn’t add the tortilla chips to the container because they will get soggy. Just take them along and crush them on top of your salad once you dump it out onto a place.
Tip: If you don’t want your avocado to brown at all, you may want to wait and add it when you eat it, with the crushed tortilla chips.
Before making this salad, try to figure out if you’ll eat all (or most) of it in one sitting/meal. If so, go ahead and toss all the ingredients together, and serve.
If you don’t think you’ll eat it all at once, you should probably keep most of the ingredients separate and then have people build their own individual salads.
This way you can store the leftover ingredients separately so they keep better for future meals.
Did you love this recipe? Leave us a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating below! 😍
- 1 head romaine lettuce washed, dried and chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 can black beans or 1.5 – 2 cups of dried black beans, cooked according to package directions
- 2 pinches salt
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1.5 cups corn can use frozen (cook according to package), canned or fresh
- 1 cup shredded cheese
- 1 large tomato
- 1 avocado
- 2 green onions
- 1 handful tortilla chips
- 1 batch Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing * See link to dressing recipe in Notes below
- If you’re using canned black beans, empty them into a strainer and rinse well. If you’re using dried beans you’ll have to cook them first according to the package directions. I used around 1.5-2 cups for my salad, but you could use more or less.
- Sautee black beans with olive oil, minced garlic, salt (unless your beans were already salted) and chili powder.
- Slice tomato and use a knife to take out the seeds and pulp. Chop into large chunks.
- Finely chop two green onions, grate about 1 cup of cheese (any kind will do) and chop an avocado.
- Toss chopped vegetables and grated cheese with washed, dried and chopped romaine lettuce, corn and cooled black beans. Garnish individual servings with crushed tortilla chips and serve with the most amazing Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing!
Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing – The perfect compliment to this salad!
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Beth Groom says
Absolutely love this salad! I’ve made it 3 times now and it keeps getting better and better. The last time I made it, I wasn’t able to get a ripe avocado but the salad was still awesome without it.
Awesome Beth! Thanks! 🙂