Grilled Corn Salad

Jump to Recipe
With just 10 ingredients and less than 30 minutes, this Grilled Corn Salad is a foolproof side dish or light lunch for summer. Despite being so easy, it's packed with flavor, a little heat, and is guaranteed to impress. Perfect for summer barbecues and picnics!
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
5 from 15 votes

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!

grilled corn salad with cherry tomatoes and avocado on serving platter

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.

Can’t get enough of summer corn? Try this incredibly creamy Corn Chowder or this Charred Corn Salad.

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.

closeup photo of grilled corn salad on white platter

How to make this Grilled Corn Salad

Gather your ingredients!

ingredients for grilled corn salad on cutting board with ingredient names labeled

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.

pickled shallots and jalapenos marinating in lime juice and olive oil

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.

grilled corn in grill pan

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.

grilled cherry tomatoes in grill pan

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.

grilled corn salad with cherry tomatoes and avocado on serving platter with spoon

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a gas grill instead of a grill pan to make this recipe?

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.

How can I make this grilled corn salad without a grill pan or grill?

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.

How long does this corn salad last in the fridge?

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.

How can I customize this corn salad?

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.

grilled corn salad with cherry tomatoes and avocado on serving platter

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 :)

Grilled Corn Salad

5 from 15 votes
With just 10 ingredients and less than 30 minutes, this Grilled Corn Salad is a foolproof side dish or light lunch for summer. Despite being so easy, it's packed with flavor, a little heat, and is guaranteed to impress. Perfect for summer barbecues and picnics!
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
Course: Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican-inspired
Diet Vegan
Keyword: gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free
Serving size: 6 to 8 (as a side)

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

To grill corn and tomatoes using an outdoor grill or cast iron skillet, read the “Frequently Asked Questions” section. 

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @rainbowplantlife and hashtag it #rainbowplantlife

Leave a Comment & Rating

If you enjoyed this recipe, please consider giving it a star rating along with your comment! It helps others discover my blog and recipes, and your comments always make my day :) Thank you for your support!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe




25 comments on Grilled Corn Salad

  1. Don Clees

    5 stars
    I was invited to a tennis friends party and wanted a dish that was going to work with pulled pork and cheesy potatoes. Your grilled corn salad looked great and I thought would fit in nicely as a side (a main for me and my wife). It was delicious an I had several requests for the recipe. Thanks Nisha, you’re doing good stuff.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Awe, that is so great to hear Don! Thanks for trying the recipe and for leaving the lovely review!

  2. Jaila

    How many calories are in this recipe?

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Jaila, we don’t include nutrition facts on our recipes for a few reasons. If you’d like to read more as to why, you can do so at this link: https://rainbowplantlife.com/welcome/.

      Many of our readers use apps like MyFitnessPal to calculate nutrition facts for their own purposes. Hope that helped!

  3. Sonu

    5 stars
    I made this today and it was absolutely delicious!!! I replaced the avocado with grilled zucchini pieces and added a whole bunch of chopped chard to make it even healthier. Lots of jalapenos, lime, pepper and chili powder and it was wonderful!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Tasty, Sonu! Thanks for the lovely feedback!

  4. Molly

    5 stars
    Delicious! I made this for my husband and his dad for lunch – they had been working on demo-ing our basement all morning. I was worried that it might be too light, but it was a huge hit. We added some garbanzo beans as well.

    This is our third recipe from rainbow plant life, and all have been awesome!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      So glad the recipe was a hit, Molly! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Kate

    5 stars
    We made this for a bbq a few weeks ago and it was great. Would you generally advise against making it ahead (I read the note about adding avocado later, so got that) for peak deliciousness or does it not lose much in the way of texture to do so?

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      I don’t see why making this ahead of time would be an issue! Adding the avocado at the last minute is only done to help prevent browning. Let us know how it goes, Kate!

  6. Courtney

    5 stars
    I made this last night because I had a bunch of fresh ears of corn, cherry tomatoes and jalapeños I needed to use and it was terrific! It’s a perfect summer dish.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Yum! So happy you loved it :)

  7. Miguel Herreryan

    5 stars
    I made this in a surprise dinner for my girlfriend and she fell in love with me even more after it. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We love to hear it, Miguel! So happy you love the recipe :)

  8. Lydia

    5 stars
    Such a fantastic dish! I was searching something to have with fajitas, and this hit the spot.

    I did have to make a few adjustments (solely based on what I had on hand). I didn’t have fresh corn, so I used frozen kernels. I didn’t have raw jalapeño, but I had a jar of pickled jalapeños in my pantry that worked wonderfully. (Seriously, if you have some pickled jalapeños that have been sitting in your cupboard for months, this is the time to break them out. So good.) I also don’t have access to a grill or cast iron skillet right now, so I used a regular pan. I didn’t get that lovely char, but it was still so delicious. I imagine it would be even better on a grill. I kept everything else the same.

    This is the kind of recipe that makes you feel like summer–so much so that I probably ate a third of it before packing the rest away in the fridge. I know I’ll repeat this recipe time and time again. Thank you, Nisha!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thank you for the thoughtful review, Lydia! We are so glad you love the recipe as much as we do :)

  9. Dina

    5 stars
    Omg ! Just made this for cookout tomorrow( tomorrow I’ll add avocado.) Had to have a small bowl of it, this is sooo yummy. This is s keeper. Thanks for the recipe !

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Great! So thrilled you were impressed by the recipe, Dina!

  10. Laura

    5 stars
    This was so good! Thank you!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Glad you loved it, Laura!

  11. Mara

    Hi Nisha! Is this salad better warm or chilled? Can’t wait to try!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Mara, I think both ways would taste delicious but I think the warm salad with cool avocado would be especially tasty!

  12. Steve G

    5 stars
    Fresh corn is in season here, and this turned out great. Just the thing for a very hot summer evening. Tasty and good for me!

  13. Adrianne

    Hi Nisha, what a fabulous salad.

    I just had a quick question regarding the chilli. Can I substitute with larger red (not as hot) chilli’s ?

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks, Adrianne! Any hot pepper of your choosing will most likely work in this recipe. If you want to scale back the heat level of this salad, we suggest you only use one jalapeño or you could even only use one pepper and also remove the seeds before chopping the pepper. Hope that helped!

Development Alchemy + Aim