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Charred Corn Salad with White Beans

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This Charred Corn Salad is the most delicious use for summer corn! Plus, it requires just 9 ingredients and takes less than 30 minutes to make. It’s a crowd pleasing side dish for barbecues and picnics, but also hearty enough to stand in as a main dish.
Prep 25 minutes
Cook 5 minutes
Total 30 minutes
5 from 31 votes

I’ve shared quite a few summer recipes recently, and while I love most summer produce, there is a very special spot reserved in my soul for corn. There’s really nothing quite like fresh corn in the summer, and luckily, it is so inexpensive!

My dad is equally obsessed with fresh corn, and during the summer, he always makes a really delicious grilled corn salad. It’s different each time (he’s not one to write down recipes), but it often contains red onions, chili peppers, tomatoes or bell peppers, and, sometimes, a few Indian spices. Regardless of what he adds, it’s always delicious.

He made one of these corn salads for a summer barbecue the first time he met Max’s parents, and it was so tasty, they were speechless. They’ve only tasted his food that one time, but they’re now convinced he’s an A+ chef.

This Charred Corn Salad with White Beans is inspired by the fresh summer corn salads my dad loves to make, and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do! It features both raw and charred corn, juicy cherry tomatoes, marinated red onions and jalapeños, avocados, white beans, basil, and lots of lime juice and extra virgin olive oil.

woman holding bowl of corn salad

Why you’ll love this recipe

Easy to make but gourmet. I’m not going to say this is “easiest” corn salad to make. That title would go to a basic corn salad made with canned corn and not much else. BUT, for how gourmet this salad tastes, it’s actually quite easy.

9 ingredients. There are 9 main ingredients, all of which are everyday ingredients you can find at any grocery store!

Light yet satisfying. Made with fresh corn, tomatoes, onions and basil, this salad is light and perfect for summer. But, thanks to the addition of white beans and avocado, it’s hearty enough to act as a main course.

Summer perfection. This salad highlights the best of summer corn season. Fresh corn is sweet enough to eat raw, so this salad features both raw and charred corn. The sweetness that fresh corn brings to this salad is the perfect balance to the spiciness of the jalapeño peppers and the tartness of the lime juice.

Weeknight friendly. From start to finish, you can get this meal on the table in 25 minutes.

overhead shot of corn salad in a bowl

Ingredient Rundown

Fresh corn. One of my core cooking principles is when you make a recipe with minimal ingredients and minimal cooking, as in this recipe, it is very important to use the best quality ingredients you can find. And right now, fresh corn is the best thing you can do for this recipe. It’s corn season and corn is very inexpensive, so this is a no-brainer.

Don’t get me wrong, though. If you’re reading this in the dead of winter and still want to make this salad, I will not shame you for using canned corn or thawed frozen corn. But, if you’re reading this during the summer, I cannot urge you enough to use fresh corn.

Red onions and jalapeños. Since I’m not a huge fan of raw red onions, I quick marinate them in lime juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. The marinade helps soften the texture up, as well as mellow the pungency. Plus, it infuses a lot of flavor into the onions and jalapeños.

I don’t find jalapeños to be very spicy, so I leave the seeds in. It brings a subtle heat, not a prominent heat that sits at the forefront. However, if you are very sensitive to spicy food, go ahead and remove the seeds before slicing them.

Lime juice and extra virgin olive oil. There are minimal ingredients in this salad, so I use a generous amount of fresh lime juice (which pairs beautifully with fresh corn and jalapeños) and good-quality extra virgin olive oil. This is the time to use the good olive oil. Again, minimal ingredients + minimal cooking = use the best-quality ingredients you can afford.

Cherry Tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes bring the perfect sweet taste, which complements the sweet corn, along with a juicy bite that contrasts nicely with the chewiness of the corn. I used a mix of sungold tomatoes (the most delicious, sweetest tomatoes) and classic cherry tomatoes.

White Beans. I have made this salad without beans and it is delicious, but I like adding beans because it makes this salad hearty enough to serve as a full lunch or main dish. I used one can of cannellini beans, but you could use beans cooked from scratch or use an entirely different type of bean (see the section on substitutions).

Cannellini beans are so versatile. I always keep some cans in my pantry so I can throw together some stewed beans or white bean dip.

Avocado. Again, to heart-ify this salad (totally not a word, but you know what I mean), I add avocado as well. Plus, the combination of summer corn-tomatoes-avocado is too good to be true.

Basil. To bring in some extra summer freshness and flavor, I finish this salad with a handful of basil. Since basil is also at its peak right now, you don’t need to use too much of it, as it is extra fragrant and a little goes a long way.

How to Make Charred Corn Salad with White Beans

This recipe is quite simple, so this will be a short section!

Marinate the onions and jalapeños. This is the first step in the recipe, and while you marinate the onions and jalapeños in the lime juice and olive oil (20 minutes is sufficient, though you can let it sit for up to an hour), you can prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Shave the corn. You’ll need to husk your ears of corn and then shave the kernels. To see how I shave corn without creating a mess, watch this Youtube video starting at the 1:00 mark.

Char half of the corn kernels. Set aside half of the corn kernels and keep them raw. Then, char the remaining half. This mixture creates interest and variety from both a taste and texture perspective. To char corn, all you need is a little olive oil and a large cast iron skillet.

Of course, if you have a grill, you can grill the whole ears of corn, then shave the kernels.

Mix everything together. Once the onions and jalapeños are done marinating and the corn is charred, it’s time to mix everything together!

overhead shot of corns salad

Substitutions for this recipe

Red onion. I don’t recommend using yellow or white onions, but shallots would be a good substitute in this recipe if you don’t like red onions.

Jalapeños. If you prefer your salad to be quite spicy, use a serrano pepper (or 2 peppers), as they are significantly spicier than jalapeño peppers.

Cherry tomatoes. You could also use heirloom tomatoes or other good summer tomatoes and dice them finely.

White beans. If you don’t like white beans or don’t have them, you can substitute with chickpeas (my preference) or even black beans.

charred corn salad in a bowl with spoon overhead shot

Tips for making this recipe

Season with salt and pepper at stages, and don’t skimp.

Since there aren’t a ton of ingredients in this recipe, I season the salad with salt and pepper at each stage. First, I season the onions and jalapeños with the lime juice marinade. Then, when I add the charred and raw corn to the marinated onions and jalapeños, I season again with salt and pepper. Finally, after adding the basil and avocado, and before serving, I season yet again.

The generous amount of salt helps bring out the sweetness of the corn and the tartness in the lime juice, (AKA, it makes the ingredients taste like they should)!

If you don’t have a large (12-inch) cast iron skillet, I recommend charring the corn in two batches. Otherwise, you’ll overcrowd the pan and some corn kernels will get overcharred, and some not at all charred.

If you don’t plan to eat all of the corn salad on the day you make it (it makes a big quantity), add avocado only to the portion you plan to consume that day to prevent it from browning in the salad. Then, when you serve the leftovers, you can add more avocado if you have it.

If you give this Charred Corn Salad with White Beans recipe a try, be sure to tag me on Instagram with your recreations and please comment with your feedback below!

woman holding bowl of corn salad

Big Vegan Flavor

Techniques and 150 recipes to master vegan cooking.

Charred Corn Salad with White Beans

5 from 31 votes
This Charred Corn Salad is the most delicious use for summer corn! Plus, it requires just 9 ingredients and takes less than 30 minutes to make. It’s a crowd pleasing side dish for barbecues and picnics, but also hearty enough to stand in as a main dish.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Lunch, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet Vegan
Serving size: 4 as a main, 8 as a side dish


  • 1/2 of a large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 large or 3 small jalapeño peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup (75-80 mL) lime juice, plus 1 extra lime for finishing
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 6 ears of corn (about 600-650g of corn kernels)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (optional)
  • 1 pint (~300g) cherry tomatoes, sliced in half or quarters
  • 1 (15-ounce/440g) can of cannellini beans (or navy beans, or chickpeas), drained and rinsed
  • 2 medium ripe avocados*, diced
  • 1 handful of fresh basil leaves, slivered


  • In a large bowl, mix together the thinly sliced red onions, thinly sliced jalapeños, 1/3 cup lime juice, and 3 tablespoons of the extra virgin olive oil. Season with kosher salt and black pepper and let the mixture marinate for at least 20 minutes, or up to 1 hour. This helps soften the onion’s texture, as well as mellow its pungency.
  • Position an ear of corn upright in a large bowl. Use a knife in a downward direction to shave the corn kernels, allowing the kernels to drop into the bowl.
  • Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of the extra virgin olive oil. Add HALF of the corn kernels. Cook the corn for 3-5 minutes until charred in spots, tossing just once or twice to get a nice char on them. If you are using the paprika, add the paprika during the last 2 minutes of cooking and toss to combine.
    1. NOTE: If you don’t have a large-sized cast iron skillet, cook the corn in two batches to get the most even browning. You might need to add a tiny bit more oil if you do this.
  • Add the charred corn to the bowl with the marinated onions and jalapeños. Add the raw corn to the bowl, along with the sliced cherry tomatoes and drained beans. Season to taste with salt and pepper and the juice from the extra lime, toss to combine and taste again for seasonings. Be pretty generous with the salt.
  • Add the basil and toss to combine. If serving the salad immediately, dice the avocado and mix gently to combine. If keeping some of the salad as leftovers, add the avocado only to the portion you plan to eat now.


* If serving all of the salad immediately, add in the avocado now. But if you plan to keep leftovers, add the avocado only to the portion of the salad you plan to eat today.

Calories: 381kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 225mg | Potassium: 1108mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 734IU | Vitamin C: 43mg | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 4mg

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4.97 from 31 votes (10 ratings without comment)

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63 comments on Charred Corn Salad with White Beans

  1. Karen

    Made this last night! Amazing definitely will be making it again!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Karen, we’re thrilled to hear you enjoyed this recipe! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating alongside your review? Star ratings are big help to readers who are thinking of making the recipe. Thanks!

  2. Giulia

    5 stars
    Such a quick, flavoursome and filling summer salad! I had it for lunch and it was a hit, even using very little olive oil. Thanks Nisha!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      So happy you loved the salad, Giulia!

  3. Loretta

    5 stars
    This was a HUGE hit! Thank you😋❤️

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Perfect, Loretta! Glad to be of help :)

  4. Rachel Wiggins

    5 stars
    Made this again last night and it didn’t disappoint! Yummy, easy, and perfect for summer. I made it oil-free by using the aqua faba from the beans, instead of the EVOO, and including the marinade in the salad. Thanks Nisha & your dad too!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Interesting, Rachel! Glad the aquafaba worked out for you and thanks for trying the recipe!

  5. Ann-Marie Fritz Allen

    What would be a good alternative for marinating if not using oil? Also, is it possible for you to mention in your future videos/recipes alternatives to the oil you suggest? I’m trying to cook without oil.
    I really enjoy your videos! I am a lawyer who just walked out on the profession after 32 years of practicing family law in Riverside CA, and moved to the peace and quiet of the Midwest. Game changer for me! I mention this because you mentioned once you’re from Barstow (not far from Riverside) and also gave up law. Trust me when I say you were smart to get out sooner than later. It about killed me. Eating plant based is probably what saved me 😂😂😂
    Thank you,

    1. Rene

      You can always use vege stock. That is my go to.

    2. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Ann-Marie, we don’t do oil-free recipes here at Rainbow Plant Life very often as we think oil adds a lot of flavor and complexity to many meals. Our focus is to get people to eat more plants and less animal products, so if oil helps with that.. we use it!

      That being said, with almost any salad, some oil is necessary for flavor and some richness, so I’m not sure. You could just try omitting it and marinating only in lime juice but it might be too sour and not well balanced.

      We are happy to hear you love the recipes and thank you for sharing your story! :)

  6. Tori Pierce

    5 stars
    This salad is delicious! I’m not vegan, however I am trying to eat less meat and incorporate more plant-based meals into my diet. I made this as a main meal, we dipped tortilla chips into it. It was super satisfying and soo good! Definitely will be bringing this to parties!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      That sounds great, Tori! So glad to hear this corn salad was a hit!

  7. Stacie Pollard

    5 stars
    I never leave comments, but felt I had to. This was delicious!!! I did not have a jalepeno, but it was perfect just as it was. We paired it with a large stuffed portobello mushroom. Honestly, this was so simple and refreshing. I am trying to eat more plant based but have felt like I am just adding more veggies on my plate versus really experiencing a rainbow looking dinner. It was one of the first times that I felt I had a good rainbow! I could eat this combo weekly! Thank you!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      So glad to help you in eating more plants, Stacie! Thanks for trying the recipe and leaving a nice review!

  8. Megan

    5 stars
    I eat this for dinner I love it so much! I toast some good bread to go along with it and it makes a delicious, light dinner too!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Sounds super tasty, Megan! Thanks for the great review and we are so glad you love this Salad :)

  9. Abi

    5 stars
    This recipe is AMAZING! The left overs were even better the next day, one of my new favourite dishes. I am so pleased to have found your recipes. I am also obsessed with your Date-Citrus salad which is another favourite of mine. Thank you for sharing :)

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Abi! We are so glad you love the recipes :)

  10. Sara M

    5 stars
    Just made this cuz fresh corn is in season. My hubby, who loves red onions and crunchy everything LOVED this. He had seconds before I even finished my serving. Love how easy and quick this is, and how easy it is to season just right. This will be one of the dishes we take on our sailboat trips to Catalina this summer, with the corn pre-grilled, and everything ready to mix up fresh. Thank you!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the wonderful review, Sara. We are so happy to provide wholesome plant based recipes for you and your loved ones!

    2. Rachel Wiggins

      Great idea for traveling Sara!

  11. Neha Tadimeti

    This corn salad is super easy to make and the tastes great! The pickled onions and Jalapenos add such a beautiful depth to the flavors. Absolutely fell in love, been dreaming about making another batch. Highly recommend.

  12. Maneesha

    So delicious! I added in some chopped pineapple to get that mix of spicy, sweet, and acidity from the lime juice. Turned out beautifully! Thanks Nisha!

    1. Nisha Vora

      That’s such a fun addition and something my dad would totally do! I will have to try that next time I make it :)

  13. Debbie

    I had a barbecue today and cooked two corns on the bbq planning to use them in the salad. It is so delicious, thank you. This will definitely become a barbecue staple salad for me, so good!

  14. Erin

    This salad is so delicious – it was fresh and light, perfect for a hot summer night! I added some homemade salsa and forgot the avocado (on accident) and it was wonderful. The corn is so sweet and the char adds a nice texture and depth of flavor. Excited to make again and eat tomorrow for leftovers!

  15. Melinda

    This salad was so delicious! I will definitely be making it again. Marinating the red onion and jalapeno was the key to this recipe!! I think next time I make it I am going to add black beans too! My guy wasn’t a big fan of the raw corn, but I thought it was fine! Thank you for another great and easy recipe!

  16. Nadia

    Made this salad this afternoon and it was incredible!! My only changes to the recipe were to include a handful of chopped cilantro instead of basil, and no beans. The recipe is so good and one we will definitely be making again and again. Thank you!!

  17. Puja

    I made salad and it was amazing I especially found the lemon, salt with the kick of the jalapeños went really well with the corn and chickpeas 🙂 Will definitely make it again

  18. Kristy

    This salad was so refreshing! The jalapeños gave it a kick that was almost too much for my family, but I really liked it. Will definitely make it again!

  19. Abby

    This salad is so refreshing and tasty! I didn’t add the jalapeño bc I am a wimp with spicy things. It paired well with chickpeas. I charred my corn on the grill and seasoned with chili lime seasoning, i let it cool off before slicing. I love this salad so much it will be a repeat throughout the summer!

  20. Anna

    This salad is absolutely fantastic. I used frozen fire-roasted and black-eyed peas because that’s what I had on hand. I’ll definitely be making this again. Thank you for the delicious recipes, Nisha. Your blog is such a good resource!

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