20 Minute Summer Squash and Corn Salad

5 from 20 votes
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20 minute summer squash and corn salad with tomatoes, feta, and chili-lime vinaigrette. A simple and delicious side dish for all of your summer entertaining needs.Corn, zucchini, tomatoes, and feta in a blue bowl topped with lime wedges

Why You’ll Love This Summer Squash Salad:

Today, we’re serving up a flavor fiesta of a salad that’s guaranteed to be a hit at your next summer cookout. This salad is made with simple, fresh ingredients, and comes together in just 20 minutes.

It’s also loaded with good-for-you nutrients, like lycopene, vitamin C, and fiber.

A simple vinaigrette dressing keeps it light, and the spice of the chili powder beautifully balances the sweetness of the corn. The feta cheese lends richness and salty tang, and the cilantro adds bright top notes.

Basically, you can’t go wrong with combo, and it’s one you’ll want on repeat all summer.

Recipe IngredientsSalad components in separate bowls with blue ingredient labels

  • Corn: You can either fresh, grilled corn, or frozen/thawed corn for convenience. I personally love Trader Joe’s frozen fire-roasted corn, which is what I use. For corn grilling instructions, scroll down to the FAQ section.
  • Zucchini: You need either 4 small or 3 medium size zucchini squash for this salad. This is the perfect time to stock up on peak freshness, peak nutrition zucchini, and put it to delicious use!
  • Tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes add a burst of freshness to this salad. I like using a mix of colors to add variety to the salad.
  • Feta cheese: I love feta for its salty richness, however you can also use goat cheese or Cotija cheese.
  • Jalapeño: Remove the seeds and ribs and the jalapeño adds just a hint of earthy spice. Of course you can choose to leave it out, or swap it for a bell pepper, if desired.
  • Lime juice: The dressing for this salad is made out of olive oil, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, salt, and fresh cilantro. A refreshing, zesty blend that brings the salad components to life!

Zucchini and Corn Salad with tomatoes and cilantro in a blue bowl

Step-by-Step Instructions:

Step 1: Sauté the Summer Squash

Heat a glug of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the zucchini and cook 5 to 6 minutes, until golden and tender.

Step 2: Cook the Jalapeño and Garlic

Add the jalapeno and garlic to the pan with the zucchini, and cook 2 minutes, until aromatic. Next, stir in the frozen/thawed (or freshly grilled) corn, and toss to warm through. Transfer the corn mixture to a large bowl.Zucchini, jalapeno, garlic, and corn cooking in a large black skillet

Step 3: Prepare the Chili-Lime Vinaigrette

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lime juice, chili powder, salt, cumin, and chopped cilantro. Whisk the ingredients until combined.

Step 4: Assemble the Salad

Add the tomatoes and feta to the zucchini and corn mixture, and toss to combine. Pour the dressing overtop and gently toss to coat. Lastly, garnish with additional cilantro, if desired, and serve!Tomato, corn, and zucchini salad being topped with feta cheese and dressing

FAQs and Expert Tips:

How to Make Fire-Roasted Corn:

Fire roasted corn offers wonderful charred flavor, which complements the vegetable’s natural sweetness. To achieve this stand-out flavor profile for corn salad, here are three options:

  • If you already have the grill fired up, throw fresh ears of corn straight on the grill grates to achieve the ultimate charred, smoky flavor.
  • Alternatively, skip the grill and char ears of corn directly over the flame of gas burners over high heat. To do this, cook 3 to 5 minutes, turning cobs with tongs until evenly charred.
  • Lastly, and certainly the most convenient option, is using frozen fire-roasted corn. I buy mine at Trader Joe’s, however Whole Foods also offers a great one.

What’s the Best Way to Cut Zucchini?

This salad calls for many peak-season veggies, so it’s a great excuse to use up the abundance of squash you likely have on hand. When cutting the squash, it’s best to slice thicker pieces so they retain more of their fresh snap after being cooked.

I prefer slicing the zucchini into coins, which can lay flat in the pan and pick up color. The coins should be about 1/4-inch thick.

What to Serve with Summer Squash and Corn Salad:

This salad goes well with just about anything hot off the grill. For example, burgers, hot dogs, BBQ chicken, or shrimp kebabs. It’s also delicious with any classic summer sandwich, such as a grilled eggplant or caprese sandwich.

And luckily, leftovers last up to 2 or 3 days, so you can enjoy it on repeat!Corn, zucchini, and tomatoes in a blue bowl topped with feta cheese

To sum up, this summer squash and corn salad is delicious served warm, chilled, or at room temperature. To finish it off, garnish with some salty cheese, lime juice, and fresh cilantro to get the fiesta started!

More Healthy Summer Salads:

Summer Panzanella Salad

Potato and Peach Salad with Charred Scallion Dressing

Watermelon and Tomato-Basil Salad

If you give this summer squash salad a try, snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth so I can see your beautiful creations. Also, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates!

5 from 20 votes

20 Minute Zucchini and Corn Fiesta Salad

20-minute summer squash and corn fiesta salad with chili-lime vinaigrette, feta cheese, and cilantro. A simple and flavorful side for all of your summer entertaining needs.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Equipment

  • Large skillet
  • Mixing bowls

Ingredients  

  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 small-medium size zucchinis, sliced into 1/4 inch thick coins
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen/thawed corn (or 2 ears of fresh grilled corn*) I use Trader Joe's fire-roasted frozen corn
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Chili-Lime Vinaigrette

  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
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Instructions 

  • Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium. Add zucchini; cook 5 to 7 minutes, stirring only occasionally, until golden-brown and tender. Add jalapeño and garlic; cook 2 more minutes, until aromatic. Stir in corn, cook 1 minute, until heated through. Season with salt and transfer mixture to a bowl.
  • Prepare Chili-Lime Vinaigrette by combining olive oil, lime juice, chili powder, salt, cumin, and cilantro in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.
  • Add tomatoes and feta cheese to zucchini mixture. Pour dressing overtop and gently toss to combine. Garnish with additional cilantro, if desired.

Notes

*SERVING SUGGESTIONS: This salad goes well with just about anything hot off the grill--burgers, BBQ chicken, or shrimp kebabs. It's also delicious with any classic summer sandwich, such as a grilled eggplant or caprese sandwich.
*IF USING FRESH CORN: Either throw it on the grill over high heat and grill until lightly charred, or char directly over the flame of a gas stove.
*STORE refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 150kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1.5g | Sodium: 450mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g

I calculate these values by hand to ensure accuracy, however expect up to a 10% variable depending on food brands.

If you love this recipe, please leave a star rating and review below!

 

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5 from 20 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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25 Comments

  1. Laura says:

    5 stars
    Very good!! Switched the feta for Parmesan but still tastes great!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    5 stars
    Excellent! A great way to use garden produce. Will go into the summer rotation!

  3. Rachel says:

    5 stars
    So easy to make and so delicious!! I served this as main with grilled shrimp over top and it was hit!

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Rachel! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!

  4. Mark G Buell says:

    5 stars
    This is an OMG recipe! I did double the jalapeño and garlic, but oh man! Good!

  5. Very Merry Movies says:

    5 stars
    Made it over the weekend and again a few days later. So easy and delicious! Cut back on the zucchini and used fresh corn cut from the cob (for our preferences), but don’t change anything else. Going into our regular routine for sure!

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe, my friend! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review