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Corn, Red Pepper, & Black Bean Salad

Marcelle enjoys preparing delicious meals for family and friends. She especially loves creating original, plant-based, vegan recipes.

You won’t miss the salt in this healthy, low-sodium, and easy to make side dish! Fresh vegetables, beans, and spices combine to make this flavorful dish. It works well as a dinner side dish or lunch salad, and it's great to bring to potlucks or a cookout. You can even throw a couple cobs of corn on the grill to use in the salad.



  • 2 cups fresh corn or frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 15-oz can no-salt-added black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sodium free chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Splash of lime juice, optional


  1. Combine corn, bell pepper, green onions, cilantro, and black beans in a medium bowl.
  2. Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Drizzle vinegar mixture over corn mixture and toss well. Cover and chill.

Leftovers make a great lunch paired with low-sodium tortilla chips or wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla with avocado slices. It keeps well refrigerated for a few days.

Watch the Sodium

According to the CDC, Americans eat too much sodium. Americans consume on average just over 3,400mg per day. The CDC’s recommended adequate intake level for sodium is less than half that at 1500mg. A diet high in sodium is linked to high blood pressure, a major risk factor for stroke and heart disease.

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Make this a low-sodium salad by purchasing no-salt-added black beans. Canned foods are typically filled with sodium, however, many food makers are reducing the sodium in their foods. You will see terms like “less sodium” or “no-salt-added” on the front label, but do flip the can around and look at the back label. Check out the milligrams of sodium listed for each serving size and be sure to get the product with the lowest sodium content. You can further reduce the sodium content, up to 40%, by draining and rinsing the beans. Be sure to use chili powder that is salt free as well. Several brands of sodium-free chili powder can be purchased at whole food grocers or online, including the brands Frontier and Simply Organic. Finally, you should not use garlic salt in place of the garlic powder.

Packs a Nutrition Punch

Black beans not only taste wonderful, they will leave you feeling full. The calorie content is low compared to weight, making black beans a low energy dense food. A legume, these beans provide both a good source of protein and fiber. They are high in folic acid and magnesium and are a good source of both iron and potassium.


The phytochemicals found in red peppers are antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals in the body. Red peppers are among the richest sources of vitamin C, providing almost 300% of the daily value needed in just one cup. Vitamin C aids in the absorption of iron, making the peppers a great pair with the iron-rich black beans. High in water content and low in calories, each pepper contains only about 30 calories.

When it comes to spices, we don’t always consider how they add nutritional benefits to our meals. In addition to being rich in antioxidants and a good source of potassium, magnesium, and iron, cilantro may have a natural calming effect on the digestive system. When used in meals that contain gas-producing foods, such as beans, cilantro helps to calm the stomach and aids in digestion.


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