This healthy black bean salad features flavors from the Caribbean. The recipe is packed with protein and has minimal added fat. Perfect for a side dish with any meal or for your next cookout!
When my family traveled to Puerto Rico, one of the highlights of the trip was chartering a small boat for a day with Caribe Bliss.
We got to visit Icacos, a small island with a gorgeous private beach.
Then, Ken, our captain, took us to his “secret spot” off the coast of Icacos near where the Caribbean meets the Atlantic Ocean.
The water was very shallow so his spot is only accessible in small boats, and this is where he treated us to an amazing lunch.
One of my favorite parts of the lunch was his homemade bean salad.
It was so fresh, and different from any other bean salads I’ve enjoyed!
So of course, I asked him what was in it.
And the day after we got home, I went to work trying to recreate Ken’s three bean salad.
But with some tweaks to make it work within the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle as an E meal.
You can get more information about Trim Healthy Mama and how we started eating this way from Anne and from AnnMarie, plus our tips for getting started.
How I Created This Caribbean Black Bean Salad
One of the key parts of THM is “fuel separation.”
In a nutshell, when you enjoy healthy carbohydrates, keep fat to a minimum.
This simple trick allows your body to process the fuel more efficiently which reduces excess fuel that gets turned into fat cells!
Ken’s Puerto Rican bean salad had a fair amount of olive oil. When you combine all the carbs from the beans with a lot of fat from olive oil you get a “crossover” with Trim Healthy Mama.
Crossovers can still be on plan, but too many of them can lead to weight loss stalls and even weight gain.
So I worked to reduce the amount of added fat to just 5 grams per serving.
To add back a little more flavor, I increased the variety of beans in the recipe.
And I used two types of acid for more depth of flavor.
My version of Ken’s recipe is a delicious, healthy, THM-E side dish!
Pair it with grilled chicken, fish, or shrimp and a variety of grilled or raw veggies for a satisfying meal.
Or even combine it with brown rice or quinoa for a meatless meal.
I love that it travels well in a cooler, making it perfect for your next picnic, cookout, or camping trip.
Ingredients in This Bean Salad Recipe
- Red Kidney Beans
- Great Northern Beans
- Pink Kidney Beans
- Black Beans
- Red Bell Pepper
- Red Onion
- Fresh Cilantro
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Lime Juice
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- salt, black pepper, garlic powder
Health Benefits of Beans
If you’re looking to add more super foods to your diet, then this salad is for you!
Beans are a great source of protein, but their health benefits don’t stop there.
They’re also a great way to get more folate and antioxidants in your diet.
Studies show that including beans in your diet can improve heart health, reduce the risk of cancer, stabilize blood sugar, prevent diabetes and fatty liver, control appetite, and even improve gut health.
Oh, and they’re delicious with this light dressing!
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Tips for Making This Healthy Bean Salad
Thanks to canned beans, this salad is so fast and easy to make.
You can substitute dried beans if you prefer. You’ll just need to soak them overnight according to the package directions to soften them up.
I like to dump all the cans of beans into a mesh colander all at once, and then rinse them all together until the water runs clear.
Let the beans continue to drain in your sink while you chop the red pepper, onion, and fresh cilantro.
The star of this salad is the beans.
This is why I recommend finely dicing the pepper and onion.
By chopping them in tinier pieces, it lets them mix in with the beans so you get all the flavors in each bite!
I like using the 2-cup measuring cup from this set to whisk together the dressing ingredients.
I’m always looking for ways to minimize the number of dirty dishes I create. LOL
So, rinse and drain the beans, chop the veggies, whisk together the dressing, and then mix it all together.
The first night I made this black bean salad recipe, we ate it just after I mixed it together and it was good.
I had it with my lunch the next day, and it was so. much. better!
So I really do recommend refrigerating this salad for at least four hours before you serve it.
It let’s the flavors of the dressing to soak into the beans.
I just know you’re gonna love this light, healthy salad as much as my husband and I do!
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