If you need one more fresh summertime salad for this Memorial Day weekend, I’ve got ya! This light and fresh Cucumber and Black Bean Salad is the perfect side for all your summer grilling, but also works great as a taco topper, base for a bowl meal, or even a chunky salsa for chip dippin’. The freshness of the cucumber balances the earthy black beans, and the tangy homemade vinaigrette keeps everything light and fresh!
Keep it Simple or Spruce it Up
You know I love to keep my food as simple as possible, but this salad is flexible enough to handle additions, if you happen to have them on hand. Might as well use up any lingering ingredients in your fridge, right? Here are some other ingredients that would go great in this Cucumber and Black Bean Salad:
- Corn kernels
- Diced red bell pepper (fresh or roasted)
- Diced Green bell pepper
- Diced tomato
- Cotija cheese
“I Hate Cilantro!”
I hear ya. You got dealt the cilantro-hating genetic hand, but this Cucumber and Black Bean Salad still looks so delicious! Luckily, this salad is one of the few instances where I think parsley would work equally as well. Parsley goes great with cucumber, so it would be just as home here as the cilantro. We all win!
How to Serve Cucumber and Black Bean Salad
This is another great “refrigerator salad” that you can keep on hand and add to just about any meal you eat throughout the week. And not only does it hold up well, the flavor gets better as it marinates in the fridge.
Its obvious use is as a side dish, and it would go particularly well with grilled meat. I’ve also been using it as a base for bowl meals (add an egg and a spoonful or two of salsa verde), it can be spooned onto tacos as a sort of chunky salsa or relish, or you can scoop it up with chips for a fresh vegetable-y dip!
Cucumber and Black Bean Salad
- 1 15 oz. can black beans ($0.49)
- 1 cucumber ($1.29)
- 1/3 cup finely diced red onion (about 1/4 onion) ($0.11)
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, loosely packed ($0.20)
- 2 Tbsp crumbled feta (optional)* ($0.55)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar ($0.12)
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin ($0.05)
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
- 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
- freshly cracked pepper ($0.03)
- Soak the red onions in ice water for about 5 minutes to soften their flavor. Rinse and drain the black beans. Allow them to drain well while you chop the rest of the vegetables.
- Finely dice the cucumber to pieces about the same size as the black beans. Finely dice the red onion, and roughly chop the cilantro.
- In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, vinegar, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper (about 15 cranks of a pepper mill).
- Add the black beans, cucumber, red onion, cilantro, and feta to a large bowl. Pour the dressing over top, then fold the ingredients to combine. Allow the salad to sit for 10 minutes to marinate. Serve immediately, or refrigerate up to 4-5 days.
Step by Step Photos
Let the red onion soak in ice water for about 5 minutes before you begin. This takes the sharp edge off their flavor. I like to slice them before soaking to maximize the water contact, then finely dice them after soaking. You’ll only need about 1/3 cup once diced, or about 1/4 of a medium red onion.
Rinse and drain one 15 oz. can of black beans. Let them drain well while you chop the rest of the ingredients.
Dice one cucumber into small pieces, about the same size as the black beans. The most efficient way to do this is to slice the cucumber, then stack a few of the slices, and cut crosswise into cubes. Take care when stacking and cutting, as the cucumber slices can be slippery. So watch those fingers!
Finely dice the onion after soaking, and roughly chop about 1/2 cup of cilantro. Combine the cucumber, black beans, red onion, cilantro, and 2 Tbsp feta in a large bowl.
In a separate small bowl, stir together 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1/8 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp salt, and some freshly cracked pepper (about 15 cranks of a pepper mill). Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients.
Gently fold the ingredients together until everything is combined and coated in dressing. Let it sit to marinate for at least ten minutes before serving, or refrigerate for up to 4-5 days. Make sure to give it a brief stir to redistribute the dressing just before serving each time.