I love recipes that are simple but surprisingly flavor-packed, and that’s exactly what this Grilled Corn Salad is. It’s made with just 10 simple ingredients you can buy at any grocery store, takes less than 30 minutes to make, and is foolproof. Despite all that easy breezy stuff, it’s packed with so much good flavor and is guaranteed to be a crowdpleaser this summer.
Whether you’re planning your summer cookout menu or just want a light picnic dish, this grilled corn salad is an easy, versatile option that everyone will love.
And if you do have summer barbecues on your mind, be sure to check out my Complete Guide to Vegan Grilling!
Why you’ll enjoy this Grilled Corn Salad
So easy, quick, and fuss-free! From start to finish, this grilled corn salad takes 25 to 30 minutes to make and requires just 10 ingredients you can get at any grocery store. Plus, you get the charred flavors of summer grilling without having to fire up and clean an outdoor grill.
Summer freshness. Sweet summer corn is grilled until a little smoky and charred, then married with the sweet juiciness of cherry tomatoes, a bit of heat from jalapeños, and fresh citrus flavors from lime juice and cilantro. The result is a burst of sweet summer flavors with a spicy kick.
Perfect for entertaining. Despite being so easy to make, this corn salad is impressive and flavor-packed, making it perfect for your summer cookouts, barbecues, and al fresco entertaining. And since it’s so quick to toss together, you can spend more time hanging with your people and less time in the kitchen!
Easy to customize. This salad is flexible and easy to customize. It’s light and refreshing and great as a side dish or starter, but thanks to the addition of pinto beans and avocado, it’s satiating enough for lunch or a light dinner. For customization ideas, check out the “Frequently Asked Questions” section.
How to make this Grilled Corn Salad
Gather your ingredients!
Start by quick marinating the sliced shallots and jalapeños in the olive oil and lime juice. Season with salt, pepper, and cumin. Let rest for 20 minutes. This mellows the texture and sharpness, but also infuses them with more flavor.
Heat a grill pan over high heat. Once very hot, add the corn cobs (lightly brushed with olive oil). Grill for 10 to 12 minutes, turning occasionally, until nicely charred in spots.
If you don’t have a grill pan, you can also use a cast iron skillet (or an actual grill) – see the FAQ below.
Toss the cherry tomatoes with a bit of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Grill on high for 3-5 minutes, tossing occasionally, until charred and wrinkly.
Shave the kernels from the ears of corn and combine them with the cherry tomatoes in a large bowl.
Toss in the pickled shallot-jalapeño mixture, including the liquid.
Add the chopped cilantro and pinto beans.
Gently add the avocado and toss lightly. Season with more salt, pepper, and/or lime juice.
Tips for making this recipe
To keep things as efficient as possible, start by marinating the shallots and jalapeños. In the meantime, prep and grill the corn and tomatoes.
If you’re using a grill pan, it will get smoky in the kitchen, as you’re grilling the corn and tomatoes over high heat. Be sure to open some windows in your kitchen and surrounding rooms and/or turn on your oven vent.
A grill pan that’s perfect for indoor grilling. The nonstick coating is free from PFAS, PFOA, lead, and cadmium.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! If you have a gas grill, preheat it for 10 minutes over high or medium-high heat. Lightly rub shucked corn ears with some olive oil. Grill the corn for 10-15 minutes, turning every 3 minutes or so, until blackened and charred in some spots. If you have a charcoal grill, place the corn directly above the coals.
If you don’t have a grill or grill pan, you can char the corn and tomatoes in a cast iron skillet.
To char corn in a cast iron skillet, first shave the kernels from the ears of corn. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add half of the corn kernels or as many that will fit in a single layer. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until charred in some spots. Repeat with the remaining corn kernels.
To char cherry tomatoes in a cast iron skillet, heat the skillet over medium-high heat until it’s smoking. Add the 2 teaspoons of olive oil, followed by the cherry tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes are charred in spots and are slightly wrinkled, 4-5 minutes, tossing the pan occasionally.
If you plan to have leftovers, add the avocado just to the amount of salad you plan to eat now. This will preserve the freshness of the salad for about 5 days.
Don’t have pinto beans? Use black beans. Have baby mouth? Use just one jalapeño pepper or remove the seeds. Want to add some more briny tanginess? Try pickled jalapeños instead of fresh (or add a mix of both). Can’t find shallots? Swap a small thinly sliced red onion. Want to make it heartier? Add more beans and/or more avocado.
That’s all you need to know about this easy yet flavorful Grilled Corn Salad. If you love this recipe, please rate and review the recipe below :)
- 2 medium shallots, very thinly sliced
- 2 small jalapeño peppers, thinly sliced into rounds (use 1 pepper for moderate heat; remove seeds for mild heat)
- 3 ½ tablespoons lime juice, plus more for serving
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for grilling
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- Kosher salt or sea salt to taste
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 6 medium or 4 large ears of corn, husked
- 1 pint (~300g) cherry tomatoes
- 1 (15- ounce/425g) can pinto beans (or black beans), drained and rinsed
- ½ – ¾ cup (6-9g) cilantro leaves and tender stems, finely chopped
- 1 large ripe avocado, diced or torn into chunks
- Marinate the shallots. In a small bowl, mix together the sliced shallots, sliced jalapeños, lime juice, and extra virgin olive oil. Season with cumin, salt to taste, and a few cracks of pepper. Toss gently and marinate on the counter for 20 minutes (or up to 30 minutes), until the shallots are softened.
- If using a grill pan, open the windows and/or turn on your oven fan for ventilation. Lightly brush the cobs of corn with a bit of olive oil.
- Grill the corn. Heat a grill pan over high heat. Once the pan is very hot, add the corn cobs in a single layer. Grill for 10-12 minutes, using tongs to turn the cobs occasionally so that each side gets some char. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Grill the tomatoes. Combine the cherry tomatoes with 2 teaspoons of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Return the grill pan to high heat. Once hot, add the tomatoes and grill for 3 minutes, turning occasionally, until charred and blistered, 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside on a plate to cool.
- Shave the corn. When the corn is cool enough to touch, 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.
- Assemble the salad: To the corn, add the grilled tomatoes, marinated shallot mixture including the liquid, pinto beans, and cilantro. Toss with the corn to combine. Add the avocado and gently toss. Taste for seasonings, adding a squeeze or two lime of juice and more salt or pepper to your taste.