20-minute summer squash and corn fiesta salad with chili-lime vinaigrette, Cotija cheese, and cilantro. A simple and flavorful side for fast weeknight dinners or weekend cookouts. Today, we’re serving up a flavor fiesta of a salad that’s guaranteed to be a hit at your next summer cookout.
A simple oil-and-lime dressing keep it light, while the spice of the chili flakes serves as the perfect to the sweet corn and squash. If serving to kids, however, feel free to scale back on the chili flakes or omit them entirely.
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, there are three options:
- Firstly, 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.
- Secondly, you can 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, for example. however Whole Foods 365 brand also offers a great one.
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.
To sump up, this fresh summer side is delicious served warm, chilled, or at room temperature at your next cookout. To finish it off, garnish with a salty Mexican cheese (for example, Cotija or queso fresco), diced tomatoes, and a fresh cilantro to get the fiesta started!
Other Healthy Summer Salads:
- 2½ Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 2 medium zucchinis, halved lengthwise and cut into ½-inch-thick slices
- 2 medium yellow squashes, halved lengthwise and cut into ½-inch-thick slices
- ½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
- 2½ cups frozen fire-roasted corn, thawed*
- 1 tsp. lime zest, plus 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- ½ tsp. chili powder
- ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
- 3 Tbsp. fresh Cotija cheese or queso fresco, crumbled
- Optional: ½ cup halved cherry tomatoes
- Heat 1 Tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add zucchini and squash; season with ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook 5 to 6 minutes, stirring only occasionally, until golden-brown and tender. Stir in corn, cook 1 to 2 minutes, until heated through. Transfer to a bowl.
- Combine remaining 1½ Tablespoons oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, lime zest and juice, garlic, chili powder, and red pepper flakes; stir with a whisk. Pour dressing in bowl with squash mixture. Add cilantro and toss to combine. Sprinkle cheese overtop. Garnish with additional cilantro and chopped tomatoes, if desired.