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Black Bean Sweet Pepper Salad

This black bean sweet pepper salad is easy to make ahead for a potluck! It’s vegan-friendly and even more delicious after a night in the fridge.

We’re getting married in less than a month and I’m trying to figure out what to serve! Yes, I’m crazy enough to be DIYing the reception (with the help of my dad). This black bean and sweet pepper salad has made the short list! Summery, pretty, and even better after it sits overnight, it seems like a winner for our casual outdoor reception. Wether or not it makes an appearance on the Big Day, I have enjoyed it at home and hope you do, too. (Update – This was a huge hit at our wedding!)

Make-Ahead Black Bean Red Pepper Salad

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To be honest, I feel a little guilty about making this salad. Our guinea pig absolutely loves bell pepper. She hates apples, bananas, and basically everything else that’s supposed to be a super big treat for cavies, but she loves bell pepper. We bought a bag of those mini sweet peppers the other day so she could have them, but then I decided to make most of them up into this salad! Now the poor piggy is left with cut off end bits.

I used mixed mini sweet peppers for this salad, but you could use any combination of red, yellow, and/or orange peppers, including full-sized bell peppers, if you’d like. I prefer how the little ones look when cut up, but it’s up to you!

mini sweet peppersLike I said above, this salad is a great make ahead dish. It needs to sit in the fridge for at least an hour or so, but overnight is fine, too. I think this is a great side dish, but Papi Chulo thought it was pretty delicious as a very chunky topping for plantain chips he fried up. It would work well as a hearty, meatless lunch salad, too! As written, this black bean salad is vegetarian and vegan.

Black Bean Sweet Pepper Summer Salad

You can make the finished salad as hot (or not!) as you’d like by changing up the amount of cayenne pepper, or even by adding in minced jalapeño.

I personally think it’s pretty delicious with feta cheese, but I could eat cheese on just about anything.

No matter how you customize it, completely washing your beans is very important. Just running some water into the can won’t cut it! You’ll still have a layer of sludge at the bottom of the can. I poured the can into my Cook’s Illustrated recommended colander and throughly washed them off to remove all of that slimy can liquid and then allowed the water to drain away before adding them to the mix.

Black Bean Sweet Pepper Salad

Black Bean Sweet Pepper Salad


  • 16 ounces of mixed sweet peppers, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of lime juice
  • Zest from one lime
  • 1 small minced shallot (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons minced cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and thoroughly rinsed


Combine the olive oil, lime juice, and lime zest in a bowl and whisk throughly to combine.

Add in the shallot, cilantro, garlic, cumin, salt, and cayenne pepper and whisk.

Add the peppers to the dressing and toss to coat.

Carefully stir in the black beans so you don't accidentally mash them.

Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour (or as long as you can stand!)

Toss or stir gently once again, garnish with additional cilantro, if desired, serve, and enjoy!

black beans and mini sweet peppersWhat do you think – does this look wedding worthy? Have you ever ‘self-catered’ a reception or large party, or do you think that’s just about the craziest thing you’ve ever heard?

Black Bean and Sweet Pepper Salad

More salad recipes

Cilantro carrot salad

Asian-inspired Sesame Cilantro Carrot Salad

Coconut mango quinoa salad

Tropical Mango Coconut Quinoa Salad


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{ 16 comments… add one }
  • sakk July 11, 2014, 05:18

    I noticed that you have lots of yummy recipes on your page and I would like to suggest you have a look at our Top Food Blogs section here: www(dot) mytaste.com/top-food-blogs
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    • natashalh July 11, 2014, 07:11

      Thanks so much for the info! Unfortunately, even when I replace the (dot) with the appropriate punctuation, it says the page isn’t found. It looks like a useful site, though, and I’ll look into it more after the wedding. =)

  • Tasha's mom June 27, 2014, 08:59

    Looks beautiful and delicious !
    I’m so hopeless in the kitchen…

    • natashalh June 27, 2014, 09:01

      I just don’t show the failures…I made some raspberry pancakes Sunday that were tasty but pretty hideous to look at!

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