bean and corn salad


Hearty Bean & Corn Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette

One of the things that I’m most enthusiastic about in what I do is breaking down myths about Mexican food and also about Mexicans. One of the biggest misconceptions is that Mexican food is greasy, fatty, cheesy and overloaded in heavy amounts of condiments. Some of the dishes that crossed the Mexican border and have become popular in the US, have been re-interpreted and promoted by the US fast food industry. Yet, mega burrito bombs, nachos smothered in cheese, and sizzling fajitas with scoops of sour cream on top are things you will have a really hard time finding in Mexico.

One thing that surprises people who delve a bit more into the Mexican culinary world is how crazy we are about salads. Not taco salads, no, no, no… Wholesome salads that use vegetables and beans and grains and flowers and all kinds of dried chiles and herbs…

It may be that the Mexican use of the word salad “ensalada” doesn’t help much to spread this good information because we usually call “ensalada” when there is lettuce or leafy greens in it. This leaves out chayote en vinagre, calabacitas en escacheche (pickled zucchini salad), nopalitos, and a gazillion other salads named simply by their main ingredient.

Mexican salads are so fascinating that I dedicated an entire chapter to them in my cookbook. They tend to be easy to make, and there always tends to be something exotic or interesting going on. A hibiscus flower vinaigrette, crunchy and watery jícama, or quickly pickled ancho chiles, super crispy and sweet garnishes like caramelized pecans or peanuts, spiced pepitas, or toasted sunflower seeds, just to name some.

Salads are usually dressed up in an oil and vinegar treatment, and Mexican cooks get very creative with them. We whip up vinaigrettes quickly, either in the blender or simply shaking them up in a jar. After they are made they can be refrigerated and re-used, with just a re-shake to emulsify. Every Mexican home that I know, has their home staple vinaigrettes of choice.

Pick a flavor of your choice: say, cilantro! Fresh, grassy, strong.


Don’t like cilantro? Pick another one, such as chives, tarragon, mint, parsley… a combination of many.

But stick with me on cilantro for this one. This is one of my regular vinaigrettes. All you do is add the ingredients in a blender, puree, done. Don’t be deterred. In less time than it takes to run to the store for a bottle, you have a tastier one made at home.

cilantro vinaigrette

You can use it in a regular green salad, over tomato and mozzarella, soaking up other cooked vegetables like green beans or asparagus and sprinkled with fresh cheese. I tried it with this combination of corn, hearts of palm and black and garbanzo beans, and we all went wild over it. So many textures, so many flavors, so many colors, so very playful.

It can be your main dish, anytime of the year, with some crusty bread on the side. It can also be a great side salad for your barbecues and picnics in the summertime.

bean and corn salad

Hearty Bean & Corn Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette

Ensalada de Frijol, Garbanzo y Elote con Vinagreta de Cilantro

Recipe Yield

6 to 8 servings

Cooking time

10 minutes

Rate this recipe

4.50 from 4 votes


For the salad:

  • 1 15.5oz can black beans drained and rinsed, or 1 ¾ cups black beans from the pot , drained
  • 1 15.5oz can garbanzo beans or chickpeas drained and rinsed, or 1 ¾ cups cooked garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 15.2oz can corn drain and rinsed, or 1 ¾ cup fresh or frozen corn kernels cooked
  • 1 14oz can hearts of palm rinsed and cut into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion

For the vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves and upper stems, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove peeled
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt or more to taste

To Prepare

  • Place all the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a blender and puree until smooth. You may make the vinaigrette up to a week ahead and store covered in the refrigerator. If made ahead, whisk with a fork or whisk to re-emulsify prior to using. You may also shake it in the covered container.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine black beans, garbanzo beans, corn, red bell pepper and red onion. Pour vinaigrette and combine well. Add hearts of palm, gently toss and serve.


62comments inHearty Bean & Corn Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette

  1. Concha

    Mar 08

    Thank Pati you’re so talented and sweet I appreciate your love for food as I do I’ve learned so much from you and so happy i found you, please don’t stop teaching us these wonderful foods!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Mar 20

      Thanks to you for being so kind Concha, so glad to read you are tuning in and enjoying with me. Un abrazo!

  2. Lore

    Feb 05

    I love your show and your blog. I feel like I am cooking with you in the kitchen. Many of your recipes remind me of my childhood cooking with my mom, aunts and sisters.

    Thank you, Pati, for this wonderful recipe. I was looking for an easy snack/salad for super bowl. This will be the perfect salad with tortilla chips.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Feb 10

      Muchas gracias Lore! So glad you liked this salad, un abrazo 😉

  3. Patricia

    Aug 31

    As a Cuban America .. I found your show so exciting. Love your recipes because they are so healthy. I made this and it’s great for a hot Miami summer.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Sep 05

      Gracias Patricia! Greetings to Miami 😉

  4. Cate

    Jul 01

    Thank you, Pati! Just made this as a side for our fish tacos. So flavorful! I love your show 🙂

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 04

      Thanks so much Cate, great choice to go with your fish tacos, glad you enjoyed them!

  5. Isabel

    Jun 19

    Tried this yesterday and it is delicious. This one is a keeper even my 5 yr old asked for more.

    1. Pati

      Jun 30

      Thank you, Isabel!

  6. Dan Wagner

    Nov 10

    Great! It was really good with the cheese. We are primarily used to Mexican food that has been Americanized. But we have really enjoyed trying your recipes. I didn’t leave a comment on the first recipe we tried, but it was the “Tacos de Lingua.” The Salsa Verde was so easy to make as well, and so full of flavor. We used the left over salsa with our eggs (yes, our own hens as well) the morning! We just got a hog back from butchering that we raised, so I am going to look for some recipes calling for pork. If you have any specific suggestions please let us know. Thanks again!

  7. Dan Wagner

    Nov 10

    Pati, thank you for this recipe! My family and I love it! The only thing I changed was I added a small amount of fresh goat cheese that my wife makes from our goat milk on our small farm. Is it OK to use goat cheese in traditional Mexican cooking?


    1. Pati

      Nov 10

      Of course!!!!!!! Wow, fresh goat cheese from your farm… amazing! Thank you for trying the recipe!

  8. Joy Sisto

    Jan 20

    I am saving this for later! 🙂 After realizing I am sensitive to nightshades, especially chili peppers, I find I miss Mexican dishes and was searching for recipes I could easily adapt without taking away too much from the original recipe. I would like to try this out!

    Thanks so much for the inspiration! 🙂

    1. Pati

      Jan 22

      Let me know how it turns out! You can try many of my dishes without the chiles, or less chile. 🙂

  9. Mike missano

    Apr 13

    Pati….I caught your show while changing channels a saw the episode with the red snapper…you were so interesting I watched till the end and than there was the tequila you were drinking but it was water ..everybody on show laughed and so did I…I’m hooked in like a fish in the water …you great but it gets better..I went on your web site and made the dish above..not I’m no where near a chef but after I put this very simple dish together….like you say the colors ..the taste…unbelievable dish so simple…looking forward to making many more of your reciepies and I am telling everyone about you…don’t know how long you’ve been around but think its time for r. Ray to step aside cause pati is here !!!!! Congratulations !!!!

    1. Pati

      Apr 16

      Hola Mike, You are making me laugh; thank you SO MUCH for your message!! I hope you make some of my dishes for your friends. Let me know if you ever have questions…

      1. Mike missano

        Apr 16

        Thank you so much for your response… have a fantastic personality and are very attractive….sort of wish I could make you a dinner … Will be watching …lay off that tequila !!!!!!!!

  10. Lia Negrete

    Mar 25

    Thank you Patti, this came out so delicious. This is my first time trying out your recipes. Delicious , thanks again 😉

    1. Pati

      Mar 26

      Hi Lia, Thank you for trying my recipe! 🙂

  11. AlbertocChavez

    Sep 22

    aunque yo no cocino me encanta ver tu programa,se antoja todo lo que cocinas y gracias por las recetas paty porque se me antoja cocinar saludos y sigue para adelante.

    1. Pati

      Sep 28

      Con mucho gusto Alberto, muchas gracias por escribirme este recadito tan lindo.

  12. Daniel Foster

    Aug 27

    Absolutely amazing recipe. I need to use more beans in my cooking.

    1. Pati

      Aug 29

      Thank you!

  13. Mary

    Jul 20

    I made this last night and it was delicious! We had a friend over and between the 3 of us we just about ate the whole bowl of salad! Thank you for another fantastic recipe.

  14. lou

    Jul 17

    that’s how I feel! pati’s book and style are ‘accessible’. I had two rick bayless books……pretty, and useless to me. maybe its me, but ‘go pati!’ i gotta cook something!

  15. ann

    Jul 17

    i do not like the web site because evertime i try to get a recipe it takes me to the blog and does not take me to the recipe i want i really like the show but the website is just to hard to use

    1. Pati

      Jul 18

      Hola Ann, Thank you so much for taking the time to write me about your concern! The recipes are always at the end of the blog post, so you just need to scroll to the end and you’ll find them…

  16. Sanni

    Jul 16

    Dear Pati,
    I just wanted to say thanks for your great book! I’d pre-ordered it and was so exited when it arrived. I have a Diane Kennedy book and must say it intimidates me…makes Mexican cuisine sound really complicated. Your book makes it simple. I have to make a few substitutions here and there as I can’t get poblanos here in Germany, e.g. but find that green bell peppers work allright. SPecial thanks goes to the Fish Rodrigo and MahiMahi w/ poblanos – the best fish recipes I’ve made in years. Today I’ll make the Tamarind chicken. I love Tamarind but didn’t know it was popular in Mexican cooking as well. Looking forward to your next book!
    Best wishes, Sanni

  17. Michelle

    Jul 13

    Yumm, can’t wait to try this. I just printed this recipe at work and one of the Mexican ladies I work with said she had to have a print-out, too!

    1. Pati

      Jul 15

      Ohh!! So nice to hear. I hope you both enjoy it!

      1. Michelle

        Jul 28

        OMG, finally made this and it was fabuloso!!! Gracias por todo su trabajo y las recetas en su blog.

  18. Frank Starnes

    Jul 08

    Pati, I made the bean and corn salsa again. I added 1 cup of blond quinoa that I cooked in 2 cups of chicken broth. Once again your recipe hit the spot. Thanks

  19. lou

    Jul 05

    this WAS delicious. I added about 8 ounces of salad-size pasta (I used ditalini), and it became a wonderful pasta salad! thanks!

  20. John@ The Bread Makers

    Jul 04

    This recipe looks really good. I can’t wait it give it a try.

    1. Pati

      Jul 08

      Thank you!! Let me know how it turns out.

  21. Fletcher, Rohrbaugh, & Chahine

    Jul 03

    This looks absolutely delicious. I love Mexican food and your blog!

    1. Pati

      Jul 08

      Thank you!! I hope you have a chance to try them!

  22. Ann Sanderson

    Jul 01

    I follow your blog and enjoy your recipes so much. Thank you! I keep hoping a recipe for the spicy carrots served in San Diego Mexican restaurants will make it to the website, they are so good and I”m sure are very simple to make…but I haven’t been able to even come close. I bought some recently in a pint size platic container that were very good. They were made by a company that makes a very good salsa. The company is named Oscar’s Homemade Salsa and they are located at 684 Anita St., Suite D2, Chula Vista, CA 91911. The 100% fresh ingredients are listed in this order: carrots, water, vinegar, onions, mixed peppers, garlic, salt, and spices. The phone is listed on the container as (619) 621-5483. Website is I’m hoping, of course, that with your reputation as a famous Mexican cooking expert, you will be able to get the recipe, proportioned correctly for the home cook, with instructions for preparation and a complete listing of ingredients (what spices?? what peppers?? and what type of vinegar??)

    Now for the funny part… I live about 15 miles away from Chula Vista, lived there for several years, and worked at non-profit community center on Anita Street. I’m going to check the website to see if I can figure out anything…and to keep myself from storming their facility! I hope your efforts are more sensible and thus more productive.

    Thank you so much for sharing your recipes and your expertise with us.

    Ann Sanderson

    1. Pati

      Jul 11

      Hola Ann, Thank you so much for taking the time to write to me!! Try my recipe for pickled jalapenos with carrots and onions: I’m pretty sure it’s what you are looking for. With all my best…

  23. Frank Starnes

    Jun 24

    The Hearty bean and corn salad, was DELICIOUS!

    1. Pati

      Jun 24

      Thank you, Frank! So happy you tried it!!

  24. Debbie

    Jun 18

    Pati, this salad was delicious!!! Thank you so much and please keep these wonderful recipes coming!!!

    1. Pati

      Jun 18

      Will do!

  25. lou

    Jun 18

    sounds wonderful. hearts of palm are delicious (be sure to rinse). and beans are the best thing one can eat! for those who don’t like raw peppers, try peeling them with a good veg. peeler. probably reduces pesticide exposure also. pati’s recipes are timeless.

    1. Pati

      Jun 18

      Thank you!!

  26. Miguel

    Jun 18

    I made this last night for my daughters high school graduation dinner. My family loved it. I didn’t deviate at all from your recipe although my wife thought sliced banana would have been a delicious addition. I’ll add it next time and let you know how it tastes.

    1. Pati

      Jun 18

      Hola Miguel, Please give my congratulations to your daughter! I’m so happy you tried this salad for the occasion. I’m very interested to hear how it tastes with bananas; let me know…

  27. Timothy

    Jun 17

    This looks like a very fun recipe! Anything with garbanzo beans is a winner for me, thanks!

    1. Pati

      Jun 17

      With pleasure!

  28. Jeanne Banegas

    Jun 17

    Hola Pati,

    I’m exicited to try out the cilantro vinaigrette. Do you by any chance have a recipe for “Sopa de Caracol” (Conch Soup)? I’ve tried some of your prior dishes and they have come out terrific! Thank you for sharing your great talent! Jeanne

    1. Pati

      Jun 17

      Thank you Jeanne! Now you made me so very curious about the Caracol Soup: Was it tomato based by any chance? can you describe it a bit? I will research for you.

  29. Cheryl

    Jun 17

    Hi Pati, Thanks for the simple yet delicious Cilantro vinaigrette. Was thinking next time to give a kick add a little pepper or Dijon mustard. I have to agree, Mexican food is so delicious, I especially love their soups. 🙂

    1. Pati

      Jun 17

      Thank you, Cheryl!! I hope you will try some of my soup recipes, too.

  30. Max Ehrsam

    Jun 16

    Hola, Pati.

    El otro día hice de cenar, entre otras cosas, tu mole de calabaza y chile ancho y, de postre, los cochinitos. ¡Qué cena más deliciosa! Mil gracias por tus recetas. Me fascina tu programa. Por cierto, ¿cuándo empieza la tercera temporada?

    Otra pregunta, ¿de qué parte de México eres? Saludos afectuosos,

    Max (un chilango que vive en Boston)

    1. Pati

      Jun 16

      Gracias Max!!! Que lindo leer este mensaje. Estamos ahorita en producción de la Tercera temporada, así que saldrá al aire como en unos seis meses (enero 2014). Yo soy del D.F. Saludos desde DC!

  31. Pam

    Jun 15

    I meant to add that I added a little jalapeño pepper and served with fresh sliced tomatoes. It was wonderful!

    1. Pati

      Jun 16


  32. Pam

    Jun 15

    Absolutely delicious!

  33. karen nelson

    Jun 15

    What are hearts of palm and what do they taste like? Also how do you measure fresh herbs, do you loosely pack or really stuff them in?

  34. Liz

    Jun 14

    Thank you Pati for the nice recipes. Have a wonderful weekend!

    1. Pati

      Jun 15

      Thank you Liz for your note!

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