Giant Black Bean Salad Recipe

A twist on the ubiquitous black bean salad - giant black beans and toasted almonds are tossed with a honey-jalapeno-lime dressing and served with a bit of crumbled feta over a bed of baby arugula.

Giant Black Bean Salad

Let's go find summer. There are many times, particularly this time of year, when I turn to Wayne and say these four words. To find summer might mean taking a short stroll west, just far enough to sneak out from under the fog bank. Other times it requires getting in the car and escaping San Francisco altogether. We often go north to Napa or Point Reyes or Stinson Beach. Other times we head south to Pescadero, a little town set back from the coast a couple of miles - home to Harley Farms Goat Dairy and Phipps Country Store & Farm. The last time I was at Phipps a bin of their huge, glossy, black beans caught my attention. These were beans that looked like large black beetles. I bought a bag, and made this salad - black beans and toasted almonds tossed with a honey-jalapeno-lime dressing served over baby arugula and finished with a bit of crumbled feta.

Black Bean Salad Recipe

I think this is an example of how you can introduce an element of surprise and delight simply by playing with one element - in this case size. More specifically, the size of the beans. It has the potential to take the ubiquitous black bean salad into fresh territory. I took a bowl of the cooked beans to a friend's house and at a glance she thought I had a bowl full of black olives -when cooked they are the the size of my thumb, from the knuckle up. Super fun.

I think the beans were some sort of black runner beans (out of stock on their site), but don't let it deter you if you can't find the exact bean. I suspect black valentines would be nice here or midnight black beans - neither nearly as large, but still wonderful heirloom beans. I'm tempted to make this salad again using these Ayocote Negro, which I haven't used before.

Also, it probably goes without saying - it is worth it to cook up a pot of beans from scratch for a salad like this. The thing is, the beans are the star, so you want them to have great texture and flavor. But yes, you can substitute canned black beans and the sky isn't going to fall ;) The salad will still be good, a bit mushier, but still tasty.

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Giant Black Bean Salad Recipe

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 small jalapeño, seeded, deveined and chopped
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 small garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon mustard
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 -3 big handfuls baby arugula (or other salad greens), well washed and dried
3 cups cooked black beans
1/4 cup feta, crumbled
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Start by making the dressing. I use an immersion blender - but a blender or food processor will work just as well. Combine the lime juice, vinegar, honey, jalapeño, salt, garlic and mustard and puree. Add the olive oil and puree until everything comes together. Taste and adjust with more salt, honey, or lime juice if needed. Set aside until you are ready to serve the salad.

Just before you are ready to serve the salad gently toss the arugula with a bit of the dressing. Arrange it on a platter. Now toss the beans and most of the almonds with a generous splash of the dressing. Arrange the beans on top of the arugula and finish by sprinkling with the remaining almonds and the crumbled feta cheese.

Serves 4 - 6.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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This salad sounds absolutely delicious! Black beans, feta and toasted almonds oh my!


You have become my salad guru! Made your whiskey wheat berry salad and it.....was....fantastic!!! A keeper.


Holy guacamole! (Oh those beans would be great with avocados;-) I am enjoying beans in all types of salads, too, but as usual, you've created another winning recipe. Liz - if you can find epazote, use about a tsp. when you cook the black beans to 'tone down the music.'

Cook 4 Seasons

i love bean salads with nuts but the black beans are new for me n i dunno if they are available in India.....loved it.

sangeeta khanna



Honey, jalapeno. lime, oh yum! I love the spicy arugula too, my greens are really starting to grow. I can't wait to start munching on them.

Marissa Makes

Looks so good! I'll be trying this one out for sure!


Acabo de recibir esta receta... deliciosa!!!!


Wow! At first, I though the black beans actually looked like olives. Most definitely the largest I have ever seen. Heidi, with all the beans that you eat, do have a trick to help make them easier to digest (how to put this nicely, less flatulence)? At the recommendation of some old school Chilean cooks, I have been soaking them for 24 hours with 1 teaspoon baking soda/2 cups dry beans. I must say, it seems to be working wonders. I am curious if there's any alternative remedy that doesn't need a whole day soaking?? Saludos, Liz

Liz Caskey

Love this recipe but wonder what to substitute for two ingredients in dressing: honey & mustard. Believe it or not, allergic to both. Usually work around but perhaps you can help me here and in other recipes. You're the best and I love knowing what you're up to daily.


I am very interested to cook this item and [ I love them ]

matthew m.s

looks delish. i made a black bean salad last week with chopped red onion, scallion, cherry tomatoes and red pepper, drizzled with white balsamic.


This salad looks divine - I'm adding it to the ever-growing list of 101 Cookbook recipes I need to make!

Holly (The Healthy Everythingtarian)

Those beans look beautiful. I love the flavor combination in the dressing - can't wait to try!

Sarah (Coffee Beans and Curry Leaves)

Your summer salads look so good, makes me even more anxious for things to start growing up here in Alaska. Luckily, it won't be too long as arugula is one of the first of the season. I bought some bean from Rancho Gordo a while back on your recommendation. Good stuff.


Love the dressing!! What a great combination - thanks Heidi!


Looks fabulous - Can't wait to try . . . Question: What type of mustard do you recommend, or is it mustard powder? Thanks HS: I usually have a small jar of Dijon mustard in the refrigerator - though I'm not particularly loyal to any certain brand at this point. Not powder.


verry verry taste


These are the summer delights! what a lovely quick flavorful salad. I have never used these beans, now i'll go find them.


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