This Mediterranean Black Bean Salad is made with hearty black beans, flavorful fresh vegetables, and homemade vinaigrette dressing. It's healthy, easy to make, and perfect for a light lunch or summer side dish.
When you think of salad, do you think of a big, boring bowl of leafy greens that you only eat out of obligation?
Well, this easy Mediterranean black bean salad is here to change that!
Bursting with fresh flavors, colorful ingredients, and a tangy red wine vinaigrette, this healthy black bean salad recipe is made without corn and is totally crave-worthy. It's definitely one you'll want to make again and again.
This delicious black bean salad can be served as a dinner side dish, light lunch, or at your next summer cookout. It pairs well with grilled meats and seafood, whole grains, flatbreads, and more.
So, if you're looking to make the best Mediterranean black bean salad for your next potluck party, keep reading to learn everything you need to know!
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Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Ready in 20 Minutes- This easy black bean salad recipe only requires a few simple steps and takes just 20 minutes to make.
- Healthy- Packed with fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, this simple Mediterranean black bean salad is perfect for a light lunch or summer side dish.
- Flavorful- The homemade red wine vinegar dressing, salty feta cheese, briny olives, and fresh vegetables come together to make a deliciously flavorful salad.
- Customizable- Make this black bean salad your own by adding or substituting other vegetables like cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, or roasted red peppers.
Here are some notes on the key ingredients. For the full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card below.
- Black Beans- Low-sodium canned beans are a quick, healthy way to enjoy black beans without having to cook your own.
- Cucumber- Deseeding the cucumber helps prevent the salad from becoming watery as it sits.
- Green Bell Pepper- Chopped green bell pepper adds a crunchy texture and fresh flavor to the salad.
- Tomato- Use one large globe tomato or two plum tomatoes. Removing the seeds prevents the salad from becoming watery.
- Red Onion- Finely mince the onion to distribute the flavor evenly throughout the salad.
- Parsley- Adds a fresh, herbaceous flavor.
- Kalamata Olives- Pitted kalamata olives add a briny and tangy flavor to the salad.
- Feta Cheese- Adds a creamy and salty element to the salad.
- Olive Oil- Extra virgin olive oil is best for homemade vinaigrettes.
- Red Wine Vinegar- The acidic part of the vinaigrette, red wine vinegar adds a bright, tangy flavor to the dressing.
- Dijon Mustard- Emulsifies the salad dressing and adds a slightly tangy flavor.
- Honey- Balances the acidity of the dressing with a touch of sweetness.
- Garlic- Grated or finely minced fresh garlic adds a bold, garlicky flavor to the dressing and salad.
- Seasonings- A combination of Italian seasoning, kosher salt, and black pepper gives the dressing a Mediterranean flavor.
Substitutions and Variations
Here are a few ways you can try customizing this Mediterranean black bean salad recipe to fit your diet and taste preferences.
- Black Beans- Swap black beans for chickpeas, white beans, or red kidney beans.
- Cucumber- Zucchini and yellow summer squash make good substitutes for cucumber.
- Green Bell Pepper- Red bell pepper, roasted red pepper, or jalapeño can be used in place of green bell pepper.
- Tomato- Try using cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, or sun-dried tomatoes instead of a globe or plum tomato.
- Red Onion- Replace red onion with shallots, sweet onion, or green onions.
- Parsley- Substitute parsley with cilantro, basil, or mint to give the salad a different flavor profile.
- Kalamata Olives- Black olives or green olives can be used in place of kalamata olives.
- Feta Cheese- Goat cheese or queso fresco can be used as substitutes for feta cheese.
- Olive Oil- Swap extra virgin olive oil for avocado oil, grapeseed oil, or canola oil.
- Red Wine Vinegar- Substitute red wine vinegar for lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or white wine vinegar.
- Dijon Mustard- Whole grain mustard, yellow mustard, or mustard powder can be swapped for dijon mustard.
- Honey- Replace honey with maple syrup or granulated sugar.
- Garlic- Substitute one fresh garlic clove for ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder.
- Seasonings- Oregano can be used in place of Italian seasoning.
- Vegan- Replace the feta cheese with dairy-free feta cheese and the honey with maple syrup to make this black bean salad vegan.
- Grains- Add quinoa, farro, couscous, bulgur, or brown rice to make this healthy black bean salad more hearty and satisfying.
- Nuts and Seeds- Toasted pine nuts, walnuts, or sunflower seeds can add crunch and a nutty flavor.
- Grilled Vegetables- Grill the bell pepper, tomato, and onion before dicing and adding them to the salad.
- Spicy- Add diced jalapeño or red pepper flakes to give this salad a little heat.
How to Make Mediterranean Black Bean Salad
Here is how to make Mediterranean black bean salad with feta cheese.
Step 1: Make the dressing. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, mustard, honey, and seasonings. Set aside.
Step 2: Prepare salad ingredients. Drain and rinse the low-sodium black beans. Dice the green bell pepper, deseed and dice the cucumber, deseed and dice the tomato, and finely dice the red onion. Chop the fresh parsley and quarter the kalamata olives.
Step 3: Add dressing to the vegetables. Add the drained black beans, diced vegetables, parsley, and olives to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle the prepared dressing over the vegetables in the mixing bowl.
Step 4: Mix the salad together. Stir gently to combine, ensuring that the dressing coats the vegetables evenly. Add the crumbled feta cheese to the mixing bowl and gently stir again to incorporate it. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Mediterranean Black Bean Salad (Instructional Video)
Tips for Success
- Use fresh, high-quality ingredients. This black bean salad tastes best when prepared using fresh, in-season vegetables, high-quality olive oil, red wine vinegar, and feta cheese.
- Prepare the dressing in advance. Make the dressing up to one week ahead of time and allow it to sit to let the flavors meld together.
- Chop the vegetables evenly. Cut the vegetables into equal-sized pieces, aiming for a similar size as the black beans.
- Chill before serving. Prepare the salad at least 30 minutes in advance and allow it to chill in the refrigerator before serving for a more flavorful dish.
What to Serve With Mediterranean Black Bean Salad
This black bean salad is a fresh and flavorful Mediterranean side dish that pairs perfectly with a variety of other dishes. Whether you're serving it with dinner or at a summer cookout, this black bean salad is sure to be a hit.
For a complete Mediterranean feast, serve it with hummus, tzatziki, and falafel. Or create a colorful Mediterranean mezze platter by serving the salad alongside dishes like tabbouleh, stuffed grape leaves, marinated olives, roasted red peppers, and feta cheese.
Finally, grains, pastas, and breads make great vegetarian side dishes for this black bean salad. Warm pita bread or naan bread can be used to scoop up the salad and dressing. Or serve the salad over a bed of whole grains or pasta for a hearty, satisfying meal.
How to Store
- Room Temperature- If you're serving this Mediterranean bean salad with feta at a cookout or potluck, remember to only leave the salad out at room temperature for a maximum of 2 hours to prevent foodborne illnesses.
- Refrigerator- Store leftover Mediterranean black bean salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Freezer- I do not recommend freezing this black bean and vegetable salad. Freezing raw vegetables alters the texture, making them mushy once defrosted.
If you want to get a jump start on preparing this black bean salad, the homemade dressing can be made up to 7 days in advance. Just give it a good shake before mixing with the vegetables.
Additionally, you can dice the vegetables a few days ahead of time. It's important to store them separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator so they don't become watery.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, this salad is naturally gluten-free as long as the ingredients used, including the spices and condiments, are certified gluten-free. Always double-check the labels of packaged ingredients to ensure they are free from gluten or any potential cross-contamination.
Yes, you can absolutely use homemade black beans instead of canned black beans in this recipe. If you have cooked black beans from scratch, you can substitute them in equal amounts for the canned black beans.
Absolutely! This recipe serves as a great base, and you can customize it by adding or substituting vegetables according to your preference. Feel free to include additional vegetables like diced avocado, grilled corn, or roasted red peppers to personalize the salad to your taste.
Yes, you can make this salad in advance. However, keep in mind that the texture of the vegetables may become softer as they marinate in the dressing. It is best to add the feta cheese and fresh herbs just before serving to maintain their freshness and texture.
Mediterranean Black Bean Salad
Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing Ingredients
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic grated or finely minced
- ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
Black Bean Salad Ingredients
- 15 ounces low-sodium black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 1 cucumber deseeded and diced
- 1 large globe tomato deseeded and diced
- ¼ large red onion diced
- ¼ cup fresh parsley chopped
- ¼ cup kalamata olives quartered
- ½ cup crumbed feta cheese
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, mustard, honey, and seasonings. Set aside.3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1 clove garlic, ½ teaspoon dijon mustard, ½ teaspoon honey, ¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Drain and rinse the low-sodium black beans. Dice the green bell pepper, deseed and dice the cucumber, deseed and dice the tomato, and finely dice the red onion. Chop the fresh parsley and quarter the kalamata olives.15 ounces low-sodium black beans, 1 green bell pepper, 1 cucumber, 1 large globe tomato, ¼ large red onion, ¼ cup fresh parsley, ¼ cup kalamata olives
- Add the drained black beans, diced vegetables, parsley, and olives to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle the prepared dressing over the vegetables in the mixing bowl.
- Stir gently to combine, ensuring that the dressing coats the vegetables evenly. Add the crumbled feta cheese to the mixing bowl and gently stir again to incorporate it. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.½ cup crumbed feta cheese
- Quick Tip: Cut the vegetables into equal-sized pieces, aiming for a similar size as the black beans.
- Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Make Ahead: Prepare the vinaigrette up to 7 days in advance. The vegetables can be chopped and stored separately in airtight containers for a few days before preparing the salad.