Betsy’s Famous Black Bean Mango Salad

With such a fiesta of color, this dish just has to be good!

Why famous? Well, it started many years ago when I was making pottery and taking classes on a regular basis at the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center.

I specialized in handbuilding and loved to Raku-fire pots outdoors. At the end of each quarter, we would have a party, appropriately named “pot luck raku.” Each person brought a dish to share. We’d set the food out on long tables outdoors next to the raku kilns and eat, drink wine, fire pots, pull them out of the kilns at red hot temperature and throw them in the sawdust to absorb the smoke! There were some amazing dishes—both from a food and a pottery perspective—that showed up at these events, and I have such fond memories of these times. It was at one of these parties that I first tasted the dish Fesenjan, the Persian chicken and pomegranate stew, as well as some other worldly delights.

I’ve already posted about one of my two favorite art party dishes in the form of my Arty Artichoke Dip, but perhaps the most beloved pot luck dish of all that I make…the “famous” dish of this post, was my oft-requested Black Bean Mango salad. This salad is just perfect for this time of year. It has a little kick from the cumin and chili powder, but is very cooling at the same time. It combines fresh tropical fruit with peppers, black beans, red onion and citrus, as well as some garlic, for a nice balance of flavors. And it’s as versatile as the day is long, because it can be used as a vegetarian main dish, a side dish for grilled meats or vegetables and alongside almost anything with Mexican flavors. Don’t have access to mangoes you say? Use peaches instead, as they are equally good. Additionally, this makes a wonderful appetizer eaten with tortilla chips.

We enjoyed this dish at home the other night alongside my easy Enchiladas Verdes, and it was just the right accompaniment. I’ve shared this recipe so many times with friends and it has been listed in the recipes section of this blog for quite a while now. But in making it again the other night, I decided it truly deserved its own post and I hope you’ll love this great salad as much as we and my friends do. With all the hot temps we’ve had, the timing couldn’t be much better for this dish!

So tell me, what favorite summer salad are you famous for?

Betsy’s Black Bean Mango Salad

Serves 8

For the Salad:
2 – 14.5 oz cans of black beans, low or no salt preferred, drain, and rinse with water and drain again
3 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled and minced
2 ripe fresh mangoes peeled, pitted and diced, or an equal amount of peeled and diced fresh peaches can be substituted
1 red bell pepper, washed, cored, seeded and diced
1 red onion, peeled, cored and diced

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 4 large limes
1 rounded tsp. of ground cumin
1 rounded T. of chili powder

Place beans, garlic, mango, red bell pepper and onion in a large bowl and mix gently to combine. In a small bowl combine the cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, cumin and chili powder with a whisk until well mixed. Pour the dressing over the bean mixture and stir with a spoon until thoroughly coated. Cover the salad and place into the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes to let the flavors combine. Keeps well in the fridge for several days.


60 thoughts on “Betsy’s Famous Black Bean Mango Salad

  1. Betsy this looks so delicious! What a great mix of flavors in one dish. Definitely adding this one to my salad recipes. I have lots of divine salad recipes that I’d gladly whip up, but the one salad I get asked for time and time again is my little ole Southern macaroni salad. Hahahaha! My family asks for this salad probably once a weekend and it seems to be stocked in the frig most of the summer. It’s so simple it’s embarrassing. But it makes my family happy. 🙂


    • Hey, simple is not a bad thing…this one is quite simple as well! I love a good macaroni salad…did I happen to miss that one on your blog, or has it not made it there? I think pasta salads are wonderful, as are bean salads…probably my two faves!


  2. That just sounds like an incredible group to be a part of. What great times you must have had. And yes, peaches are a great substitute for mangoes. Love the look of this dish and it sounds very versatile. xx


  3. This definitely looks like a salad I would love, Betsy. The flavours sound incredible, and I can see why it’s famous! In a lot of recipes I noticed people soak their red onions in cold water to remove the harshness, do you think it would alter the flavour too much in this recipe? I like raw onions but JT does not.


    • I think you would love this, Eva, and it is so great with shellfish and grilled meats as well as by itself. I don’t think it would hurt it to soak the red onions first. I like to cut mine fairly small to keep that potent taste more harmonious myself and I like red onion. Regardless, the acidity of the lime juice in the dressing does extremely diminish the sharpness of the red onion as the flavors blend over time. Either way, I think you’d be fine. 🙂


  4. I love raku, it is my favourite firing technique. i used to collect raku bowls in NZ, I have wanted to make patoery most of my life but just never have.. this is a gorgeous salad, and probably ridiculously healthy! morning betsy! c


    • I can tell you’d make amazing pots, cecilia. I miss doing it so much after doing it for 15 or more years, and hope to get back to it some day…too many other priorities just now. You know somehow I’d never thought of this salad as being particularly healthy, but you’re right!


    • Thanks Sawsan. I truly miss those wonderful and grounding days of having my hands in clay and all the great folks I met that way. Some day I will go back to it when the rest of my life isn’t so demanding. Meanwhile, I have this great salad to remind me…and few pots, too, of course!


  5. Love Raku but have never tried my hands at it. I can imagine what a sense of wonder there is each time that dish or pot comes out of the kiln – as if it had its own life in it – which in a way it does. Your salad sounds absolutely scrumptious!


    • Hi Spree, and thank you. We used to say that it was up to the raku gods to decide what the pot looked like when it was done…and that was very true! Unless you use commercial glazes, you never know what chemical reaction you may get…so fun! 🙂


  6. Such a great salad, Betsy, and fully deserving of its celebrity status. As you’ve mentioned, this would make a perfect accompaniment alongside fish or grilled meats. A Summertime treat.
    Have you ever considered creating a post showing us your pottery? I, for one, would love to see your artwork. 🙂


    • Thank you, John…such a nice compliment! I will see what I can do about showing some of my pottery. Sadly it has now been 7 years since I gave up my studio and making pots…it was supposed to be a sabbatical, but the economy as well as other needs for my time has really stretched it out. I sold or gave a way a lot of my pieces, but I’ll see what I have that I can either shoot or pull a slide of and put them up one day. I’d hoped to take a class and learn to throw this year with the idea of maybe showing functional pots and dishes on this blog…but it hasn’t happened yet and I may now have to shoot for next year. 🙂


  7. What a perfect summery salad Betsy, and no doubt deservedly famous! I love black beans and now I want to try your version, lovely flavours. And I’m so intruiged by your pottery do you still make any?


    • Hi Claire, you can see my response to John just above as to a bit more on my pottery story, but to answer your question, no I do not make any right now. Am hoping that may change by next year…I truly miss it. Thanks for your nice compliments and I hope you try the salad…it’s so good!


  8. I do like a blackbean and mango salad! I would make it often when we were in Florida and just this past weekend while my daughter was visiting she asked for it! I think it’s a refreshing salad, unexpected from other types having the black beans, gives it more a Caribbean feel and makes you long for palm trees and ocean views 🙂


  9. Looks absolutely delicious – I love beans, and as it happens mango is my favourite fruit! I’d be all over this 😀 It actually looks a little like something a nearby restaurant serves too – great minds think alike it seems 😀


  10. I make a great bean salad as well but a more run-of-the-mill kind (red peppers, corn, etc), but the added spices and mangoes in this one truly does make it sound special, different and something people would request and remember. So glad you shared a favorite! My broccoli slaw gets requested now and then but I wouldn’t say I was famous for it. 😉


  11. I am not a huge black bean person. I never was, but this is making me reconsider my stans on that issue lol. This looks absolutely wonderful. I definitely missed your wonderful recipes 🙂


    • Hi Kay, it’s wonderful to “see” you out and about again, and thank you for your lovely compliments. This salad really isn’t too “beany” amazingly enough. I think the mango and other flavors blend it all together.


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