When sweet, fresh, corn on the cob is in season, make this refreshing Black Bean and Corn Salad loaded with milky corn kernels, black beans, and sweet cherry tomatoes. No cooking required. Make it extra delicious with Micro Cilantro. This recipe has been adapted from the America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.

Close up of Raw, no-cook corn salad with black beans, tomatoes and micro cilantro
No-Cook Black Bean and Corn Salad

I Wasn’t Always a Black Bean Eater

I moved into my first real apartment with college buddies Amber and Jen after graduation. It was May 2001; I was 21 years old and mentally drained from years of schooling.The yoke of adulting was a mere whisper.

At the time, another great friend got a gig busing tables at Chez Panisse, the restaurant of Alice Waters that treats food with the kind of awe usually reserved for gods. After a shift, she’d bring over the most amazing left-overs. 

Living in a moldy, dark, dingy apartment, trying to figure out life, and regularly tasting leftovers from an iconic California restaurant we could not afford–the future felt like a long way away.

Being broke, our little friends’ household loved to make big meals to share— trying to save money and break each other out of our young myopic food worlds. I was a vegetarian who refused to eat black beans, had never had an artichoke, and was generally a picky eater. 

My roommate Amber did not accept my blanket refusal to eat black beans. She made big pots of chili, sneaking black beans in here and there. It turned out I did like black beans, i just had to get out of my own way to realize it. 

Now I eat black beans all the time. I’ve been making this Black Bean and Corn Salad for over a decade. The Micro cilantro is a more recent addition, you can sub regular cilantro if you can’t find micro cilantro.

corn, tomatoes, jicama, micro cilantro, salad ingredients
Ingredients for Black Bean and Corn Salad

Can You Eat Raw Corn?

You can definitely eat raw corn, specifically sweet corn. Sweet corn is the kind of corn you find in the supermarket or farmer’s market. 

Field corn, on the other hand, is not found in the grocery store. It is often used for livestock feed and industrial uses. The kernels are usually large and dented. 

Flint corn is yet another type of corn. This is the hardest corn variety. Popcorn and cornmeal are often made from flint corn.

Though the vast majority of GMO corn is field corn, there are Genetically Modified Sweet Corn varieties. As of 2018, GMO sweet corn was only 10-25% of the sweet corn grown in the US.

Rinsed black beans
Rinsed Black Beans

What Are the Health Benefits of Raw Corn?

Raw sweet corn is a good source of fiber, which can aid digestion and keep you feeling fuller for longer. Raw sweet corn has lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that contribute to healthy vision. Additionally, raw sweet corn contains B vitamins, essential for energy production, and potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure.

Read a study about corn nutrition here.

Tricks for Using Canned Black Beans for a Cold Salad

This recipe saves time by using canned black beans. But canned black beans can taste a bit boring straight from the can. Rinsing them is a simple yet effective way to improve their flavor and get rid of the gunky canning liquid, which can be starchy and salty.

For this recipe, you absolutely must drain out all the canning liquid, and then rinse again to completely remove the gunky liquid.

Dressing in a jar
Corn salad dressing


Gather up the following in kitchen tools:

  • Jar with lid to shake dressing, or large bowl and whisk.
  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board
  • Serving bowl
Raw Corn Salad before mixing
No-Cook Black Bean and Corn Salad

Save Your Corn Cobbs

Save the corn cobs, a few leaves from the husk and the silks to make corn stock in the slow cooker. Corn stock is the perfect backbone to a lovely summer corn chowder, fresh corn risotto, or to make a simple steamed rice.

Raw Corn Salad with Black Beans
Raw Black Bean and Corn Salad

Transform To a Meal-Sized Salad

This Black Bean and Corn Salad makes a lovely side dish. Pair with a Quesadilla for a light lunch. Transform to a Big Salad by adding to a giant bowl of chopped romaine (or other crunchy lettuce) before adding the dressing, and top with avocado slices, hard-cooked egg, pumpkin seeds, and crumbly Mexican cheese like Cotija.

The Best Black Bean and Corn Salad (No Cook)

The Best Black Bean and Corn Salad (No Cook)

Melissa Canales
This is the no-cook, raw corn salad you'll want to eat all summer. It serves 4 and makes great leftovers. Perfect for those hot days when no one wants to cook.
Course Salad
Cuisine Mexican


The Dressing

  • 6 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 juice from a medium lime or two small limes
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoon minced jalapeno more or less depending on how spicy you desire
  • 2 large garlic clove minced about 2 teaspoons
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

The Salad

  • 4 ears corn on the cob, remove husks and silk approximately 3 cups of kernels
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed 15.5 oz
  • 6 scallions, sliced thin
  • 1 handful cilantro microgreens substitute regular cilantro.
  • 1 cup jicama, diced into bite-sized cubes optional


  • Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid. (fill no more than ¾ full). Shake vigorously to combine. Alternatively, place all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk vigorously to combine.
  • Carefully, use a sharp knife to cut corn kernels from the cob.
  • Combine corn kernels with the remaining ingredients in a serving bowl. Toss with dressing. Season with salt and pepper.
Keyword summer

About QM

About QM

Sign up to get the very latest twice monthly


Quantum Microrgeens is your guide to living well inside & out. This website is all about clean(ish) recipes, living tips and everything microgreens. We're Melissa & Kelly, two sisters living in California and Connecticut, on a mission


SEE more →

Sourdough Tortillas Recipe: Fluffy, Soft, Fast 


make it →

This recipe uses sourdough starter discard and transforms it into delicious, homemade tortillas perfect for tacos, burritos, or just enjoying on their own!

A place where plants are magical, cookbooks are read for fun, and salads are never boring.

Get the (outside) inside scoop

cookbook reader


Melissa & Kelly
The outside Inside Digest
sent bi-Monthly


My Summer 2024 Resolution, a selection of  Father's Day Gifts, find out about my new favorite condiment, beach games galore + more!


What's Inside
The Latest Issue?