This Black Bean Salad is full of fresh ingredients and southwest flavors that make a delicious lunch or side dish idea!
Aside from a little bit of chopping, the recipe comes together quickly with a few canned items.
If you’re looking for easy recipes that is perfect for your family, this one appeals to kids and parents alike!
This conversation is sponsored by WhiteWave Foods. The opinions and text are all mine.
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This post was originally posted July 29, 2015. It has been updated to include more detailed directions.
Black Bean Salad is a great lunch for kids
Back to school looks a little different this year. But we’re rolling with it.
For the moment, the kids are doing school from home, but soon they could start a transitional plan where they attend a few days a week in person.
While they miss their friends, I really enjoy having them home. I never really know what they eat for lunch when they are physically at school so at least this way, I can make sure my kids are eating healthier.
My kids are old enough to pack or put together their own lunches. But I still need to make sure they have a selection of natural options, otherwise they pack what they like which is not going to do their little bodies any favors.
Today I’m sharing one of my favorite recipes that is perfect for back to school lunches.
What I like best about it is that it uses organic canned beans and corn, mixed with fresh veggies and can be served in a few different ways so that it pleases the kids. And also me.
Other items I pack for lunch
But first…chocolate milk. One of our recent discoveries is this Horizon Organic Chocolate milk. My oldest son has finally grown out of his milk allergy but hasn’t developed a taste for milk yet.
He LOVES these individual-sized chocolate milk cartons. He takes these to school, from time to time, which makes me really happy since he’s getting some real calcium. And I feel like this organic milk is a way better option than juice.
We keep these on a low shelf, where he can reach them. I always try to make it as easy as possible for the boys to get to the good stuff. The cookies and other treats are kept out-of-the-way so they don’t make their way into lunch pails.
If your kids don’t like sandwiches, you should check out these lunch ideas too.
Our local Ralphs store makes it super easy to shop for better lunch options. Whether it is convenience products like Horizon Organic snack crackers or organic fruit snacks to the other organic ingredients you need to create your own recipes, Ralphs makes it super simple.
My particular store doesn’t have a full department dedicated to natural products. Instead, they are spread throughout the store with designated signs that you can’t miss.
Whenever I can, I just make one easy recipe, like organic mac and cheese or this Southwestern Black Bean Salad and take care of lunch for both kids for a few days!
How to make Black Bean Salad
This black bean salad is super flavorful, full of protein, and is just plain delicious.
The colors and taste are vibrant and my kids love it. They are picky eaters, so I was pleasantly surprised when I made this for myself and they basically stole it from me.
These Simple Truth organics are super easy to find and you know you are using quality ingredients.
Scroll down to find a printable recipe card with full measurements and detailed instructions.
- Black beans
- Red and orange bell pepper
- Balsamic vinegar
- Red onion
- Olive oil
- Crushed red pepper flakes for heat, optional
- Tortilla chips or arugula
With all canned foods, I like to drain and rinse them before use. That helps to remove any extra salt that may have been used. This allows you to control the flavor a bit more.
And as with any recipe I share, if your kids don’t love a certain ingredient, just skip it!
The preparation is really quick. But the flavor gets even better if you have a little bit of time to let it sit for a bit (half an hour) before eating.
Rinse and drain the Organic Simple Truth beans and corn and chop the veggies into a small-ish dice. This Salad with Black Beans is a little bit like an extra chunky salsa so a rough chop is fine.
My kids really enjoy the sweet crunch of bell peppers so I knew they would at least try this dish. I try to make sure I have their favorite fruits and veggies on hand to add to their lunches.
And I also have them try something new every few weeks. Kids really love to find new things they like.
You can make this salad in just one bowl and if there weren’t being photos taken, I would have made it right in a plastic storage container.
You prep this easy Black Bean Salad once and have a healthy lunch and snack option for your whole family for several days.
If your kids would freak out about the onions, leave them out or try a shallot that has a little less bite. You can easily make this recipe your own to suit your own little taste buds.
Toss everything together with just a little olive oil and a good quality balsamic vinegar and sea salt to taste.
A good quality vinegar tends to be a little bit sweeter and less vinegary or you can even try a flavored variety. I know there is a honey balsamic which might be a good choice as a starter vinegar for a picky kid.
I know there are certain flavors I don’t enjoy (sesame) so I never force my kids to eat the things I can tell they don’t like. I always let them know that we will revisit them later to see if we like it better.
But some things just aren’t going to appeal to them (mayo – I’m looking at you).
This is one of those dishes that gets better flavor the longer it sits. The flavors meld together and take on the sweet tang of the vinegar.
My kids love to eat this with Organic tortilla chips from Simple Truth. Who am I kidding, so do I. It works really well as a salsa and this would also be a great recipe for your summer entertaining.
A better way for me to eat this Black Bean Salad is over arugula. All the bold flavors work really well together. And you don’t need to add any other dressing since the black bean salad has the oil and vinegar.
The beans give you protein so you’ll feel more full, longer. I’m worried that because I have the day to myself that I will run myself crazy and grab junk at lunchtime.
If this is already made, that will mean I have a healthier option I can grab and go. Which is the same for the kids.
We pack lunches after dinner and they can take leftovers of the dinner we just finished.
This means there are usually veggies and a lean meat, which are great healthy choices. Sure they still pack sandwiches some days (rarely), but we keep our options open.
For the kids, I pack smaller plastic storage containers so they are easy to grab when they are putting their lunch together. I pre-portion it out to make sure they are getting enough protein, and then they can pick their accompaniments to go with it.
With just this one prep session, I was able to take care of lunches for about a week. Boom.
Do you have your kids pack their own lunches? It’s the best thing that ever happened to me. Besides them being able to bathe themselves.
You may also love these easy recipes:
- These letter sandwiches (made with Sunbutter and banana) are a fun thing to send with the kids for school lunch!
- Tuna and Noodles is great hot or cold. My youngest LOVES to take this to school.
- A leftover piece of this Salami Pizza always puts smiles on my kid’s faces.
Black Bean Salad
- 2 15 oz cans Organic Simple Truth black beans
- 1 15 oz can Organic Simple Truth sweet corn
- 1 orange bell pepper chopped
- 2 red bell peppers chopped
- 1/2 small red onion chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes for heat optional
- Tortilla chips or arugula
- Drain and rinse the black beans and corn then add to a large bowl.
- Add all the other ingredients and mix well.
- Store in a plastic or glass storage container and keep covered in the fridge.
- Serve with chips or over arugula. Whatever you prefer!
Pin to save this Black Bean Salad Recipe for later
Make this yummy Black Bean Salad! It’s a great back to school lunch idea for everyone!