Blistered Shishito and Corn Salad with avocado, queso fresco, and a light cumin vinaigrette. This summer-fresh salad is easy to make and will be the hit of any cookout.
The Best Shishito and Corn Salad
If you’re not familiar with shishito peppers, they’re small, bright green peppers that are traditionally used in Japanese and Korean cooking.
You can typically find them at major grocery stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. During summer and early fall, you may even spot them at your local farmers market.
Most of the time, shishitos have a mild, borderline bitter flavor, but rumor has it that one in every ten peppers is spicy!
Blistered shishito peppers are most often enjoyed as an appetizer or side dish. However I love pairing them with other summer star produce, like sweet corn.
This salad is the ultimate alchemy of sweet and savory flavors, and creaminess and crunch. It's the perfect side dish to serve alongside anything hot off the grill this summer.
How to Cook Shishito Peppers
Blistering the shishitos renders their skin super soft and their bitter flavor more sweet. Plus, it only takes 10 minutes start to finish.
- Step 1: Toss peppers in olive oil. Place peppers in a large bowl and generously oil them with either avocado oil or extra-virgin olive oil.
- Step 2: Preheat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. No need to worry about oiling the skillet since the peppers are already oiled.
- Step 3: Cook the peppers. Once the pan is hot, add the peppers and arrange them in a single layer. Cook, undisturbed, for at least 2 minutes before tossing and continuing to cook until the skin is blistered, about 5 to 6 minutes total.
- Step 4. Cool peppers. Use a pair of tongs to transfer peppers to a cutting board and let sit until cool enough to handle.
Are Shishito Peppers Hot?
Shishitos are quite mild and have more of a sweet, earthy flavor.
However it's believed that one out of every ten peppers are surprisingly spicy, so be prepared!
How to Make Shishito and Corn Salad
Once your peppers are nicely blistered, it's time to make the dressing and assemble the salad!
Prepare Cumin Vinaigrette
In a medium bowl, combine cilantro, shallots, vinegar, olive oil, cumin, and salt; whisk to combine. Let sit for 10 minutes to soften shallots.
Chop Shishito Peppers
Once peppers are cool enough to handle, use a sharp chef to finely chop them. Discard stems.
Add peppers to a large serving bowl.
To the bowl with peppers, add corn, avocado, cheese, and pumpkin seeds. Season with a pinch of salt.
Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine. Garnish with extra cheese and pumpkin seeds, if desired. Enjoy warm or closer to room temperature.
Shishito and Corn salad is best served with fish, burgers, or anything hot off the grill. Here are a few of my favorite pairings:
- Salmon Burgers with Lemon-Caper Spread
- Greek-Marinated Shrimp Skewers
- Miso-Maple Salmon
- Chili-Lime Tofu and Peach Skewers
Make-Ahead and Storage Tips
- Make-Ahead: The shishito peppers can be cooked up to 1 day ahead. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Store: Refrigerate leftover salad in an airtight container for up to 3 days. The avocado will brown, however the flavor will remain sharp.
More Healthy Summer Salad Recipes to Try:
Grilled Corn and Avocado Salad with Harissa Ranch
Watermelon and Tomato-Basil Salad
Smashed Cucumber Salad with Feta-Dill Dressing
Fiesta Avocado Corn Salad
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.
Blistered Shishito and Corn Salad
- Large skillet (preferably cast iron)
- Mixing bowls
- 6 oz. shishito peppers
- ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 Tbsp. minced shallots
- 3 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 Tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
- ½ tsp. ground cumin
- ½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
- 2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 3 ears of corn)
- 1 medium avocado, cut into chunks
- ⅓ cup crumbled queso fresco (or feta)
- ¼ cup pepitas
- Place peppers in a mixing bowl and toss with 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium-high. Once the pan is hot, add the peppers and arrange in a single layer. Cook, undisturbed, for at least 2 minutes before tossing and continuing to cook until the skin is blistered, about 5 minutes total. Use a pair of tongs to transfer peppers to a cutting board and let sit until cool enough to handle.
- Meanwhile, combine shallots, cilantro, rice vinegar, cumin, and ¼ tsp. salt in a medium bowl. Stream in remaining ¼ cup olive oil, whisking to combine. Let sit for 10 minutes to allow shallots to soften.Once peppers are cool enough to handle, chop them into small pieces and transfer back to the mixing bowl you used to oil them. (Discard stems.) Season with remaining ¼ tsp. salt.
- To the bowl with peppers, add corn, avocado, queso fresco, and pepitas. Season with another pinch of salt.Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine. Garnish with extra cheese and pepitas, if desired. Serve at room temperature.
- Refrigerate leftover salad in an airtight container for up to 3 days. The avocado will brown, however the flavors will remain sharp.
*Recipe inspired by NYT Cooking
Question! Hi Jamie -- I'd love to make this salad over the weekend (my friend is making fajitas and I'd love to make a salad). I realize fresh corn is ideal and the taste is so crisp and delicious. Any chance you think I could sub canned corn? I wasn't sure if it might be too sweet? Would love your thoughts.. I can't decide! Thanks in advance!
Hi Meredith - canned or even frozen would be absolutely fine! If you can find it, I love using frozen fire-roasted corn (I know Whole Foods and Trader Joe's carry it). Enjoy!
This was so delicious. Just shared it with sisters in our group text.
Hi Deanna - I'm so glad you enjoyed this one! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!
Loved this, and I'm not really a salad person. A great way to use shishitos instead of just blistering and serving them that way.
This is a great summer salad!!! Will be making again!
I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, Laura! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!
Looks delicious but you don’t cook the corn kernels?
Hi Mary - the corn goes in raw! This time of year, fresh corn is so sweet and delicious raw in salads.