Annie P’s Black Bean Salsa with Olives

black bean salsa with olives -

I love this Black Bean Salsa with Olives any time of year. But in the middle of January, when there are no sweet summer tomatoes to be had…well, that’s usually when you’ll see me mixing up a big bowl of this colorful salsa.

It’s full of fresh sweet bell peppers, onion, and garlic, which provide that from-the-garden tasty goodness. A can of diced tomatoes bestows summer in preserved form. And black beans bring fiber, protein, and another layer of texture and flavor. But the really cool ingredients in this bowl? Chopped black olives and green olives. Those briny beauties give it a unique kind of saltiness, which completely makes this salsa. And the recipe calls for “handfuls” of olives – I love that!

My friend Ann shared this interesting salsa recipe with me many years ago, a favorite dish from her friend “Annie P”. And the recipe has such a great story behind it…

When Ann’s son Graham was very young, he set out on a mission to increase the number of monarch butterflies in this world. It was the ultimate summer job for a boy in his youth. Graham raised and released over 26 monarchs that summer, naming each one as he went through the alphabet…A is for Albert, B is for Bill, C is for Cathy, etc.

Raising small stripy caterpillars into big gorgeous black and orange butterflies was a huge part of their summer. So it was only fitting that Ann and Graham turned Annie P’s Salsa into “Caterpillar Salsa”, a name they still reference to this day. They got creative with color in their kitchen mixing bowl, using no red ingredients, and incorporating only yellow tomatoes that I shared with them from my own garden, yellow bell peppers, white onions, and the blackness of beans and olives. If you know what a monarch caterpillar looks like, with its yellow, black, and white stripes, you can imagine their Caterpillar Salsa in all its boyhood glory. 

Annie P’s Black Bean Salsa with Olives

Yield: about 3 pints of salsa


  • 1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 large handfuls black olives, chopped
  • 2 large handfuls green olives, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers chopped (I like to use 1 red and 1 yellow, but green and orange are great, too!)
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • minced jalapeno pepper, to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 c. chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 c. red wine vinegar


Place all ingredients in large bowl and stir. Can be made 1 day prior to serving. Serve with tortilla chips. The chips shaped like scoops work especially well.


Adapted from the recipe box of my friend Ann Hauer. Originally from Ann's friend Anne Perkins.

black bean salsa with olives -


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25 Responses to “Annie P’s Black Bean Salsa with Olives”

  1. #
    Sommer@ASpicyPerspective — January 16, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Love it Brenda, perfect for game day!

  2. #
    Amanda — January 16, 2013 at 8:52 am

    What a great background with amazing memories for that family!! Love that you shared it!!!

  3. #
    Mom — January 16, 2013 at 9:03 am

    The salsa looks so flavorful! Loved the story of Ann and Graham and the butterflies.

  4. #
    Kim | At Home With Kim — January 16, 2013 at 9:07 am

    I’ve never thought to add olives to salsa! Great idea. And such a sweet caterpillar story. These kind of recipes born from sweet stories like that are the best.

  5. #
    Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen — January 16, 2013 at 9:53 am

    That looks so falvorful and delicious! Mmm olives!

  6. #
    Robyn | Add a Pinch — January 16, 2013 at 10:13 am

    Mmmm. This sounds delicious! Love the addition of the olives in this salsa!

  7. #
    Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen — January 16, 2013 at 10:36 am

    What a great story and I love the olives, I hadn’t thought of that!

  8. #
    Erika @ The Hopeless Housewife — January 16, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Great idea to put olives in the salsa, so bright and perfect for game day.

  9. #
    Paula — January 16, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Love the story of Annie’s son and how the story of the salsa came to be named Caterpiller Salsa. It is such a pretty salsa nd all that colour at this time of the year is a welcome sight to any table.

  10. #
    Cassie | Bake Your Day — January 16, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    Black bean salsa is a favorite here – and the olives are a great addition. I have never thought of adding them!

  11. #
    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — January 16, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    This salsa looks so tasty, love the presentation in the scoop chips!

  12. #
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — January 16, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    Fabulous idea!!

  13. #
    Rachel — January 16, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    Yum! I make a black bean and corn salsa that is pretty delicious too. Never thought of adding olives to salsa. Will have to give it a try.

  14. #
    Sandy @ RE — January 16, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    Love this for game day, Brenda. I think we are hosting this year. I agree about fresh tomatoes … no where to be found (sad!) :)

  15. #
    Amanda — January 17, 2013 at 7:08 am

    Aside from how delicious this sounds, the colors are spectacular!

  16. #
    Julia {The Roasted Root} — January 17, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    What an ingenious recipe! I never thought to put olives in salsa and it just makes so much sense! I want to scoop that whole bowl of salsa into my mouth with the nifty tortilla chip scoopers!

  17. #
    Tara @ Unsophisticook — January 18, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Love the beautiful colors. What a great way to spice up a dreary January day!

  18. #
    Paula - bell'alimento — January 18, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    I’m kind of obsessed with black beans so I know I’d love this!

  19. #
    Angie — January 19, 2013 at 6:25 am

    This looks amazing, I love olives, so I’ll definitely be making this!

  20. #
    Leigh Anne @Yourhomebasedmom — January 20, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Love black bean salsa and really like the idea of adding black olives to it!
    I just started a new Finding the Pretty & Delicious Linky Party on my blog this week – would love to have you stop by and share!

    • Brenda replied on January 21st, 2013 at 8:39 pm

      Thanks, Leigh Anne – so nice to hear from you!

      • Leigh replied on January 25th, 2013 at 3:32 pm

        Thanks so much for linking up over at Finding the Pretty & Delicious – hope you’ll visit again this weekend!

  21. #
    Shaina — January 24, 2013 at 11:10 am

    This looks so good. I can’t wait for tomatoes. Only 6 more months to go.

  22. #
    Aggie — February 5, 2013 at 10:21 am

    I was so excited when I saw olives in this salsa! :) YUM!

    And I am so touched by that sweet caterpillar story, I could cry!! What a wonderful way to spend the summer, I’m so glad you shared that story – love it.

    Thanks so much for linking up my friend!

    • Brenda replied on February 5th, 2013 at 8:45 pm

      That story IS so sweet. Hard to believe that kid is graduating this spring!

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