20 minute summer squash and corn fiesta salad with tomatoes, feta, and chili-lime vinaigrette. A simple and delicious side dish for all of your summer entertaining needs.
Why You’ll Love This Summer Corn 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.
- 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!
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.
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!
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, 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.
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!
To sum up, this fresh summer side is delicious served warm, chilled, or at room temperature at your next cookout. To finish it off, garnish with some salty cheese, lime juice, and fresh cilantro to get the fiesta started!
More Healthy Summer Salads:
If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and tag #dishingouthealth so I can see your beautiful creations!
20 Minute Zucchini and Corn Fiesta Salad
- Large skillet
- Mixing bowls
- 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 small (or 3 medium) zucchinis, sliced into 1/4 inch thick coins
- 1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 1 1/2 cups frozen/thawed corn (or fresh grilled corn*) I use Trader Joe's fire-roasted frozen corn
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
- 3 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
- Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium. Add zucchini; cook 5 to 6 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. Transfer mixture to a bowl.
- Prepare dressing 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 and corn mixture. Pour dressing overtop and gently toss to combine. Garnish with additional cilantro, if desired.