Fiesta Avocado Corn Salad with fresh herbs, jalapeño, toasted pumpkin seeds, and creamy dressing. A slam-dunk summer side dish, this 30 minute avocado and corn salad will be the star of any cookout or potluck.
Why You'll Love this Avocado Corn Salad
Today, we’re serving up a flavor fiesta of a salad that’s guaranteed to be a hit at all of your summer gatherings. This palate-pleasing salad is made with simple, fresh ingredients, and comes together in just 30 minutes.
It's also easy to make ahead, tastes fab at room temperature, and can be scaled to any quantity, making it perfect for a cookout. Serve this goes-with-anything salad with any grilled protein, such as chicken, burgers, shrimp, or tofu. Alternatively, use it a chunky dip, or spoon it over tacos.
With its bright flavors and tempting display of textures, you’ll want to eat it every which way. And thanks to its nutritious ingredient lineup, you can feel great about enjoying it on repeat.
Recipe Ingredients and Substitutions:
- Corn: Sweet corn is one of summer's greatest pleasures. I use using fresh ears of corn, however you can also use canned or frozen in a pinch. The key is only charring half of the corn so there is a mix of textures in the salad.
- Avocado: Because of its cool, creamy texture, avocado is the perfect complement to sweet corn. Plus, it's a highly nutritious fruit, offering potassium, fiber, and healthy fats to make the salad more satisfying.
- Jalapeño: As long as you remove the seeds and ribs from jalapeño, the heat is quite mild. In this salad, it adds just enough kick to balance the sweetness of the corn.
- Shallots: The zesty bite of sliced shallots also helps add dimension to the salad. Alternatively, you can use chopped red onion.
- Cheese: In classic street corn style, Cotija cheese (a Mexican cheese made from cow's milk) is salty in flavor and crumbly in texture. Alternatively, you can use crumbled feta or goat cheese.
- Herbs: A mix of chopped basil and mint add summer-fresh flavor. Alternatively, you can cilantro, green onion, or chives.
- Dressing: A bright blend of mayo, rice vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and sumac. It’s balanced, zesty, and totally addictive.
Step 1: Char Half of the Corn
Add 1 Tbsp. of the oil to a large cast-iron skillet (or grill pan) over medium-high heat. Once hot, add 3 ears of corn, roll in oil, and let set, undisturbed for 4 minutes, until bottoms are lightly charred. Toss, and continue cooking in 3 minute intervals, until the corn is charred to your liking. Set aside and let cool. *Note: the remaining two ears of corn remain raw, which gives the salad more texture.
Step 2: Prepare Dressing
While the corn cools, prepare dressing by combining remaining 3 Tbsp. olive oil, rice vinegar, mayonnaise, shallots, garlic, sumac (or paprika), salt, and pepper in a bowl; whisk to combine.
Step 3: Combine Corn Salad Ingredients
Once the charred corn is cool enough to handle, carefully cut the kernels from the cob and transfer them to a large mixing bowl. Cut the kernels from the remaining 2 ears of raw corn and add to bowl, along with diced avocado, jalapeño, basil, mint, pumpkin seeds, Cotija cheese, remaining ½ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. black pepper.
Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine. Garnish with extra herbs, seeds, and cheese, if desired.
How do you Take Corn off the Cob?
There are many ways to remove corn kernels from the cob, however I find this method to be the easiest and cleanest:
- Place a small bowl upside down inside a large bowl.
- Stand the corn on top of the smaller bowl, and use a sharp knife to slice down along the cob.
- As you cut, the kernels will collect inside of the larger bowl instead of flying everywhere.
- Black Bean Corn Salad: Reduce corn to 3 ears, and add 1 (15-oz.) can black beans. Drain and rinse 1 can of black beans, and stir them into the salad right before serving.
- Mexican Corn Salad: Swap the mint and basil for fresh cilantro, and use lime juice instead of rice vinegar in the dressing.
- Corn Tomato Salad: Reduce corn to 4 ears, and add 1 cup of chopped cherry tomatoes right before serving.
What to Serve with Avocado Corn Salad
- Burgers: Whether you choose beef burgers, turkey burgers, or my Chipotle Black Bean Burgers, this salad is a fabulous complement.
- Salmon: The flavors of this Pesto Salmon will pair perfectly!
- Chicken or Shrimp Skewers: Use chicken or shrimp in these Skewers with Goes-With-Everything Tahini Sauce.
- Tofu: Chili-Lime Tofu and Peach Skewers are summer cookout stars!
Corn Salad Make-Ahead and Storage Tips
- To Make-Ahead: Char and cut the corn kernels 1 day ahead. You can also prepare the dressing 1 day ahead, and store in a covered jar in the refrigerator.
- To Store: Avocado and corn salad will last in the refrigerator for 3 days. I like to make a little extra dressing and store it separately, then splash it over individual portions.
- Enjoy chilled or closer to room temperature.
More Easy Summer Side Dishes to Try:
If you give this recipe a try, snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth so I can see your beautiful creations. I also really appreciate readers taking the time to leave a rating and review! Lastly, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates.
Fiesta Corn and Avocado Salad
- Large skillet or grill pan (preferably cast-iron)
- Mixing bowls
- 5 ears of corn, husked
- 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
- 1 grated garlic clove
- ¾ tsp. ground sumac (sub paprika)
- ¾ tsp. kosher salt, divided
- ½ tsp. black pepper, divided
- 1 small shallot, thinly sliced into rings (about 3 to 4 Tbsp.)
- 2 medium (or 3 small) ripe avocados, peeled and cut into small cubes
- 1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
- 3 Tbsp. fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup roasted, salted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 3 to 4 Tbsp. crumbled Cotija cheese (sub feta or goat cheese)
- Add 1 Tbsp. of the oil to a large cast-iron skillet (or grill pan) over medium-high heat. Once hot, add 3 ears of corn, roll in oil, and let sit, undisturbed, for 4 minutes, until bottoms are lightly charred. Toss, and continue cooking in 3 minute intervals, until the corn is charred to your liking (about 12 mins total). Set aside and let cool. *Note: the remaining two ears of corn remain raw, which gives the salad more texture.
- Meanwhile, prepare dressing by combining remaining 3 Tbsp. olive oil, rice vinegar, mayonnaise, garlic, sumac (or paprika), ¼ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. black pepper in a bowl; whisk to combine. Stir in shallots and set aside.
- Once the charred corn is cool enough to handle, carefully cut the kernels from the cob and transfer them to a large mixing bowl. Cut the kernels from the remaining 2 ears of raw corn and add to bowl, along with diced avocado, jalapeño, basil, mint, pumpkin seeds, Cotija cheese, remaining ½ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. black pepper.Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine. Garnish with extra herbs, seeds, and cheese, if desired.