Southwest Corn Salad | Grilled sweet corn on the cob is the star of the show in this bright, summery salad. A great combination of southwestern flavors like charred corn, tomato, jalapeno, lime, cumin, and oregano along with some bell pepper, cucumber, and diced avocado all mixed with chopped romaine. Plus an easy Cumin + Oregano Lime Vinaigrette Dressing! This southwestern corn salad recipe makes a great side dish for dinner, lunch, or even a taco topping.
Are you ready to get the best out of the season as summer comes to an end? You'll love this bright and tasty Southwest Corn Salad.
One of my favorite side dishes, especially in warm weather, is a great big salad. Why? Because it's fast and easy and there's no cooking involved! Add a quick homemade (or storebought) dressing and you've got half of your dinner ready, in like 20 minutes. And it's healthy and fresh.
For this grilled corn salad, I love a really quick + bold dressing so we'll start with a base of extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, and lime juice. We'll add mustard for flavor and to help the salad dressing emulsify.
Then we can add dried oregano and cumin for more flavor and because they both pair well with corn and lend a southwest flavor.
And finally, we'll balance the acid of the vinegar and lime juice with a bit of maple syrup and add just a touch of heat with a tablespoon of brine from a jar of pickled jalapenos.
You could serve this with the recipes I linked below for a full meal, or just with some tortilla chips for a great summer lunch.
- Corn on the Cob - I like 3 cobs of corn for this recipe, charred. I use my barbeque to char the corn but you could also use a cast iron pan, or roast the corn in the oven, or even broil the cobs - just watch closely if broiling. 3 corncobs are a good amount for this corn salad, but you could do 4 or 5 if you just really love corn. If corn on the cob is out of season, you can also char canned or frozen corn - using a cast iron pan or a non-stick pan.
- Romaine Lettuce - I buy large bags of pre-chopped romaine a lot of the time. They are 907 grams and I use half of the bag for this corn salad recipe. I tip the lettuce onto my cutting board and haphazardly chop it smaller. You don't need to be neat or particular, just chop it up.
- Fresh vegetables - I use a whole cucumber, a roma tomato, and 1 red bell pepper and 1 orange bell pepper. I chop these all into small pieces. This helps you get a little bit of almost everything per bite - the best part of a chopped salad.
- Avocado - healthy fats help to keep you feeling full
- Fresh herbs - Cilantro or parsley would be great here, I was out of both during these photos but I almost always add a fresh herb to my salads.
- The Dressing - A homemade 5-minute Vinaigrette with Cumin + Oregano - perfect for many salads. You could easily add a bit of mayo or yogurt to this dressing or blend in an avocado and end up with a creamy southwest corn salad instead - that would be so so so good. This salad would be also be good with my Avocado Cilantro Lime Dressing.
EXPERT TIP: How to trim corn off the cob. Slice kernels, the long way down the cob. You'll then have a flatter surface to trim the remaining kernels off. Flip the cob onto the flat side and trim the rest of the kernels off.
To start this salad, grill the corn. Heat your barbeque on medium-high heat or a grill pan (I have this cast iron grill pan by Lodge - it's great) on the stovetop over medium heat.
Grill the corn for 8-10 minutes, turning the cobs a few times to char all over. This may take a few minutes longer in a grill pan on the stovetop. Set the corn aside to cool.
Chop the romaine lettuce into small bits and dice the tomato, cucumber, bell peppers, and avocado.
Slice the corn kernels off the cob. I find the easiest way to do this is lengthwise. Once you slice one side of the corn cob, you'll have a flat edge to set the corn on to cut the rest off and the corn won't roll all over the place.
To make the Cumin + Oregano Vinaigrette, add all of the dressing ingredients to a jar and shake it up. Shake before each use. Optionally, you can add all of the dressing ingredients to a bowl or cup and whisk or stir vigorously with a fork.
Store the dressing in the fridge or at room temperature for a few days. If storing in the fridge, allow to come to room temperature on the counter and then shake or stir before using.
To assemble the salad add all of the salad ingredients into a large bowl. Add half of the dressing and mix well. Taste and add more dressing if needed. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
Doesn't keep well in the fridge. I'd recommend only a day or so of refrigerating. If making the salad ahead, leave the avocado out and add it right before serving so that it doesn't turn brown.
> For a bit of protein add some black beans or grilled chicken.
✔ This salad is gluten-free.
✔ This salad is both vegetarian and vegan.
> Use a different type of salad green if you like.
> Swap the Roma tomato for cherry.
> Try a different dressing, such as my Avocado Cilantro Lime Dressing, or your favorite southwest style dressing.
What to serve with this recipe
Southwest Corn Salad
- BBQ or
- 3 large corncobs (shucked)
- 454 grams chopped romaine (16 oz, chopped smaller)
- 2 bell peppers (chopped into small pieces)
- 1 roma tomato (chopped into small pieces)
- 1 cucumber (chopped into small pieces)
- 1 avocado (cubed)
Cumin + Oregano Lime Vinaigrette Dressing
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon brine from a jar of pickled jalapenos
- Optional additions (pickled red onion, red onion, pickled jalapenos, black beans, roasted sweet potato, pinto beans, pumpkin seeds, monterey jack cheese or queso fresco)
For the Corn
- Grill the corn on the cob. Preheat your grill to medium heat and add the corn cobs. Cook them for about 8-10 minutes, turning every few minutes to acheive charring evenly. Set aside to cool and then slice the corn kernels off the cob. I slice in lengthwise sections. Once you slice the first section, you'll have a flat surface to lay the corn on so it doesn't roll around.
For the Salad
- Roughly chop the romaine lettuce into small pieces.
- Dice the tomato, bell peppers, cucumber, and avocado.
For the Cumin + Oregano Lime Vinaigrette Dressing
- Add all ingredients to a jar, add the lid and shake to combine. Optinally, add all ingredients to a bowl instead and whisk together until combined. Adjust flavors to taste by adding more lime, maple syrup or salt and pepper as needed.
- Add the salad ingredients to a large bowl. Add the dressing, starting with about half. Mix and then add more dressing as needed. Serve immediately or refrigerate for an hour or two. If not serving immediately, leave the avocado out and peel, cut and add just before serving so it doesn't turn brown.
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Save this image to your Summer Salads board.