Bushels upon bushels of corn waiting to be husked are a sure sign that summer is here. While a good old straight-up cob is a pleasure and a seasonal rite, corn has a sweetness and a savoriness that’s too good not to spread around.
Fresh-off-the-cob corn pairs and contrasts beautifully with other summer produce, practically demanding to be tossed into a colorful and chunky salad.
There are are near-infinite ways to build corn salads, so we’re all for experimentation in the kitchen (or hovering, licking your fingers, over your outdoor grill). Here are some of our favorite recipes to make this veggie the corn-erstone of summer eating.
Got ears coming out your ears? Try these 9 corn salad recipes
Juicy, crunchy, and creamy, this salad combines the tartness of tomatillos with sweet corn, cool jicama, and meaty tomatoes. The whole thing’s topped off with a thick, smoky avocado-chipotle dressing (that happens to be vegan!).
Simple yet stunning, this easy salad goes with anything grilled, and is perfect for picnics too. Try it with heirloom tomatoes or sweet orange Sungolds — but to preserve their texture, don’t add the tomatoes until you’re ready to serve. (Same goes for the fresh basil.)
Maque choux — a corn salad featuring the Cajun “holy trinity” of onion, green pepper, and celery — is a Southern classic. (And it’s “mock shoe” to all you non-Louisianans.)
This recipe gets a boost from crispy okra, cream, and bacon. Pair it with Cajun shrimp or jambalaya for a summertime jamboree, y’all.
Zucchini and corn are a pairing that sings of summer. But what really sets this recipe apart is the crisp layer of char you’ll get from grilling your corn ahead of time. (You could even repurpose leftover grilled corn — if such a thing exists — from your last barbecue.) The zingy chopped cilantro and feta cheese don’t hurt the flavor profile, either.
If you’ve never tried the chili-lime deliciousness that is Tajin seasoning, let this summery corn entree be your introduction. (Don’t worry, honey sweetens up the spice’s signature kick.)
In this main dish salad, you’ll also get a hefty dose of protein from shrimp and 7 grams of fiber from the rainbow of corn kernels and other veggies.
The Southwestern salad gets an upgrade! Built around the usual suspects of corn and beans, this one introduces quinoa for a healthy, protein-packed twist, while a light, cumin-dusted vinaigrette lends a kick. Upgrade the nutrition (and the Southwestern flair) even further with sliced avocado, a sprinkle of cotija, or chopped fresh tomatoes.
Grilled Mexican street corn is a crowd-pleasing summer barbecue side, but turn it into a salad and it’s even easier to serve and enjoy. Prepare to share the recipe because everyone will want it.
It’s easy, it’s vegan, and it gives you a hefty serving of leafy greens — this one checks all the boxes. Just shuck a few ears of corn, pair with peppery arugula and colorful red onion and bell pepper, and dress with an easy-peasy vinaigrette. Whole foods for the win!
Summertime picnicking, potlucking, and plain old dinner-ing can always use a side (or main dish) with sweet, crunchy corn. We’re convinced the salads above will have you thinking of “corny” as a very good thing. Oh, and if you could use some help shuckin’? Try our tips for removing kernels like a pro.