Black Bean & Corn Salad with Cilantro Cream Dressing (Gluten-Free)

black bean, corn, tomato salad with cilantro cream

The food services at the place in which I spend my weekdays are limited during spring and summer, so I have been forced to pack all of my lunches. Here is a hearty bean and corn salad that is great chilled or at room temperature. It has a slight Tex-Mex flair with a cilantro cream dressing that is quick and easy to prepare when you have the correct tools. This was well-received by my #1 test kitchen associate.

Black Bean & Corn Salad with Cilantro Cream Dressing (Gluten-Free)

Adapted from Hellmann’s and CHOW

Serves: 4
Time: 15 minutes

For the cilantro cream dressing:

  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves and stems
    (30 young stems or so)
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
    (Choosing lite mayonnaise may not be gluten-free.)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
    (Choosing a lite sour cream product may not be gluten-free.)
  • 2 Tbsp lime or lemon juice + more to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

For the salad:

  • 540 ml (1 can) black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 341 ml (1 can) corn kernels, drained
  • 300 g (1 clamshell) grape tomatoes, cut into halves or quarters
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced finely


For the cilantro cream dressing:

  1. Using a food processor, blend all dressing ingredients except for the salt and pepper.

cilantro and garlic in mini food processor
Before shot.  My first time using my new mini food processor!

  1. Stop blending as needed to scrape the sides of the processor bowl to ensure even mixing. Continue to blend until you have a creamy, uniform-ish-looking dressing.  Flecks of green will be inevitable.

blended cilantro cream dressing
I apologize for the incorrect focus.  It’s one of many limitations of a point-and-shoot camera.

  1. Mix in salt and pepper to your taste. Add more lime/lemon juice if you like.
  1. The total volume of dressing may be too much for this one salad.   If you have any left over, the dressing should keep in the fridge for one week.

For assembly of the salad:

  1. Optional: to eliminate some of the bite of the red onion, soak the cut-up onion in iced water for 10+ minutes (i.e. before Step 1 of this procedure). Drain before assembling salad.
  1. In a large bowl, mix the beans, corn, grape tomatoes, and red onion together.

black bean, corn, tomato, onion salad
Nutritious, delicious colours.

  1. Fold in the dressing, a few Tbsp at a time, until the chunk ingredients are covered with as much dressing as you are comfortable with.
  1. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

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