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Black Bean and Avocado Starter Recipe


After a big meal, the last thing you want to do is prepare more food, right?

It seems almost unfair that two huge “food” holidays are so close together. No sooner do we get through the turkey day meal than we have to start planning for Christmas dinner (with a few dish-to-pass parties and potlucks strewn in between, usually).

We had a midday Thanksgiving meal this Saturday at our house, and after my parents and grandparents left around 4:30, we were stuffed and the tryptophan was definitely kicking in. I knew that although we adults could probably make it to bedtime with a simple bowl of yogurt or an apple as a “snack,” children just aren’t wired that way.

Whether it’s that they don’t overeat at what an adult calls a “huge meal” or just that they are used to eating 5+ times per day and are creatures of habit, kids always need a real meal at every appropriate time slot. (And yes, usually they’d prefer more food at some inappropriate times, too…)

But there was no way we were serving a normal dinner after all that food! So what to feed the kiddos?

I relished announcing that we were having popcorn and smoothies for dinner, and luckily I realized in advance that two measly items might not suffice for my ravenous bunch unless I planned on allowing them to eat their weight in popcorn. I added apple-slice-and-peanut-butter sandwiches and rice pudding (made the easy way with leftover rice, recipe in The Healthy Breakfast Book) to the menu.

An entire dinner of “snacky” foods, all super easy to throw together with zero stress and lots of kid participation…and yet it was deemed the “best best best meal in a thousand nights” by my 3-year-old and received a hearty two thumbs up from the big kids.

It’s often that way – the meals I feel are “cheats” and super simple are the ones met with the most enthusiasm by the family.

Black Bean and Avocado Salad

The recipe I have for you today is a lot like that.

A breeze in its creation, simple in presentation, yet the flavors do all the talking and will garner plenty of praise.

Just because we’re going to party doesn’t always need to mean we’re required to bring complicated, fancy schmancy dishes. Often the recipes people savor the most are ones that could also suffice for a weekday dinner or quick lunch, when pulled off right.

Go simple this time. I’ll help you out.

Recipe: Black Bean & Avocado Starter (Salad)

Black Bean and Avocado Salad

In the summer I’d grab some fresh cilantro and some peppers and onions from the Farmer’s Market and throw together this delicious salad in practically no time.

This time of year, of course, it’s the grocery store for this Midwestern girl, but the ingredients are still simple to find (and avocados are even more “in season”). It’s a salad, sure, but the word “starter” is very purposeful since it also doubles as a dip or topping, making it a versatile new addition to your party-hopping repertoire!

Serve with tacos, quesadillas, tortilla chips, crackers, pitas…or just a fork and a smile.

Black Bean and Avocado Salad
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Black Bean and Avocado Salad

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  • Author: Katie Kimball
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 10 mins
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: appetizer, salad
  • Cuisine: Mexican


If you’re looking for your next real food dish to pass at a potluck that is simple, not too expensive and will be loved by all – as long as your people appreciate Mexican flavors, you’ve just found it. You can throw together this delicious salad, which also doubles as a dip or topping, in minutes, making it a versatile new addition to your party repertoire.


Units Scale
  • 1 can or 2 c. cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large or 2 small avocados, cubed
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded, diced finely
  • 12 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c. frozen corn, optional
  • fresh cilantro to taste, chopped (about 2 Tbs. is good)
  • 23 Tbs. olive oil
  • 12 Tbs. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Optional: diced fresh tomatoes

ship kroger


  1. Mix everything together and give the salad about an hour at room temp or in the fridge for the flavors to meld together. Because the avocado will brown quickly, make the dish the day you serve it (or at least add the avocado at the last minute).
  2. Serve as a salad to be eaten with a fork or as a relish/dip to be eaten on corn chips or crackers. Makes a great cold topping option for gourmet tacos or quesadillas as well.
  3. Store cold for up to three days, but remember that how fresh your avocado was when you made the dish will make a huge impact on its longevity.


* This amount of jalapeno is a spicy version for sure. If you don’t want a zinger, cut the amount in half or omit it entirely. For a very hot presentation, leave some of the seeds in. Note: homegrown jalapenos are often much hotter than storebought ones these days, so if you’re buying your peppers at the store, you might even add the entire thing before your salad hits “hot” on the spice-o-meter. Taste and see!

* If you have frozen peppers from summer’s bounty, you could get away with using finely chopped frozen jalapenos, but not the bell peppers.

* When I use canned beans, I try to buy Eden brand because they cook with kombu to reduce flatulence and increase digestibility and have BPA-free cans.

* Mix and match: you can omit or switch up the onions and peppers in this dish, and the amounts on the olive oil (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!), lime juice and salt (Use the code kitchenstewardship for 15% off of your first purchase) should also be seen as “to taste,” adding more to your own liking.

* For a beautiful presentation: hold out some of the avocado cubes to put right on top, since the avocado, particularly if it’s quite soft, will sort of coat the black beans and end up looking less appetizing. Also add diced tomatoes (in glass jars, no BPA!) or cherry tomato halves and a few whole leaves of cilantro right on top. Holding out a bit of the red onion and red pepper to put on top doesn’t hurt the presentation either.

* Inspired by From Garbage to Gourmet by Carrie Isaac

  • Need a little help getting healthy food on the table every day? Real Plans takes the stress out of meal planning and puts the nourishing food BACK on your table. There’s a plan for every diet type, including GAPS, Paleo, AIP, Whole30, vegetarian and more! You remain totally in control: use your own recipes, accept theirs, and teach the system what your family likes…Check out how powerful it is here!

If you’d like to learn more about using dry beans as a cost-saving and nutrition-boosting strategy, my eBook The Everything Beans Book is a great resource. Twenty pages on everything…well, beans…plus recipes from appetizers to desserts to fit every palate. (Coming soon as a “real” paper edition! I’m in the final proofing process this week…)

Black bean avocado starter salad

TBT: Throwback Tuesday with Holiday Sweets & Savory Treats

I know it’s really supposed to be Thursday, by the way, even if I’ve never found the time to scan an old photo and share it on Facebook…but I couldn’t resist borrowing the acronym.


You see, I’ve been around the blogosphere for over five years now, and as much as I say I feel like a rookie sometimes, there’s no denying that I’m nearing “grandma” age as blogs go, just as no matter how often I say I don’t think I’ve changed a whit in appearance since our wedding day, the crow’s feet and calendar aren’t buying it. Winking smile

Back in the “olden days” of blogging, I used to do things a lot differently – I had time to read and comment on other blogs, I interacted with tons of people (other bloggers) daily on Twitter, and I joined up in a lot of “blog carnivals” and “linkys.”

I even hosted some:

No more, my friends…no more time. The web has become in some sense a lot less “social” for me, even though I’m often drowning in “social media” as a consequence of what I do here for a living.

I recognized quite a handful of “old friends” with whom I used to rub virtual shoulders when Jessica Fisher of Life as MOM invited me to join in a little holiday recipe roundup, a newfangled twist on the old carnival deal. (The Eat Well, Spend Less series, a two-year gem of a series, was also her idea.)

I’m honored to be in this bunch, and although every recipe won’t be real-food-approved, I’m sure you’ll find some goodness (and some compromise goodies) to pin, share and perhaps even make for an event (or non-event, like dinner) this month.

Mine is in the “savory” section, obviously. Winking smile

Holiday Sweets

Holiday Sweets

savory treats

Savory Treats


Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

5 thoughts on “Black Bean and Avocado Starter Recipe”

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Thanks for co-hosting, Lynn! You’re so right – people aren’t usually all that interested in healthy recipes in December, and I can tell because they won’t visit my site much…until January! 😉 Katie

  1. Amy of MomsToolbox

    I love this lighter (yet super flavorful) addition to the roundup and I’ll definitely be giving this a try very soon. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Thanks Amy! Every buffet table needs a little balance with all the cookies, right? 😉 Katie

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