Summer Corn Salad is a refreshing and flavorful summer salad full of fresh corn, red onion, honey goat cheese, cherries, and a fresh basil vinaigrette. This garden-fresh salad is so easy to make and is sure to become a staple in your home this summer.
Nothing beats cold, fresh vegetables in the summer, especially when they’re all mixed together into a tasty salad. If you like this summer corn salad, you’ll want to give this Strawberry Spinach Salad or this Tomato Panzanella Salad a try.
This salad just screams summer to me! Maybe it’s the refreshing basil lime vinaigrette or the hint of sweetness that the cherries give. Either way, this salad is perfect for a poolside gathering, family BBQ, Fourth of July menu, or any random hot summer day.
Serve it with a refreshing summer cocktail and you’ll be all set!
What is corn salad?
Summer corn salad is a salad without lettuce and you’ll only need some vegetables and fresh cherries to complement. The fresher the ingredients, the better, so buy what you need right when you intend to make the salad.
If you’ve made other salads that include corn, you know how delicious corn is in a salad, especially in the summer. This salad contains a refreshing dressing that pairs well with the corn and the rest of the ingredients.
Corn salad is perfect for meal prepping, as it stores pretty well for a few days. This salad is also perfect for making ahead if you’re planning a party, so you won’t have to make it right before.
Ingredients You Will Need
Summer corn salad has just a few ingredients and is very simple to make. Here’s what you’ll need:
Corn: there’s nothing like fresh corn on the cob in the summer, making it perfect for this salad. You can also use frozen corn, but ensure that it’s thawed and that the excess moisture is removed before charring.
Cherries: fresh cherries will balance the salinity in this salad. You’ll want to pit and slice them in half so they’re perfectly bite-sized.
Red onion: red onions will accentuate all of the flavors in this salad because they are sweet and slightly spicy. They will also add a nice crunch.
Honey goat cheese: crumbled honey goat cheese is the perfect addition to this salad, as it has a creamy texture and a hint of sweetness to balance the tang of the cheese.
Having a nice balance of sweet and tangy, the basil lime vinaigrette dressing for this summer corn salad really ties everything together. It’s extremely light, and a healthy alternative to creamier dressings. Here’s what you’ll need for the dressing:
Basil: fresh basil leaves are an essential part of the basil lime vinaigrette. The mildly sweet taste of basil meshes very well with the base of the salad.
Shallot: they’re more delicate than onions, bringing a little bit more of a sweet taste. However, you can use a red onion if you want a more intense flavor.
Garlic: a bit of garlic (or a lot if you’re a garlic girl like me) is necessary for most dressings, as it adds a bit of spice.
Honey: honey will compliment the sweet ingredients in this corn salad and goes nicely with the basil and lime.
Limes: the juice from two limes is a perfect amount and the best way to get that sweet and sour effect. They bring a bright citrusy flavor to this salad that is perfect for summertime! Limes will also help liquefy the dressing, making it easier to mix in the salad.
Apple cider vinegar: apple cider vinegar is a key component of any vinaigrette, adding a more acidic taste and balancing the flavors.
Ingredient Substitutions and Tips
- You can substitute the cherries for your favorite fruit depending on what’s in season. I love making this salad with peaches and blueberries, too.
- An alternative to apple cider vinegar is red or white wine vinegar.
- Make a vegetable corn salad by swapping the fruit for some of your favorite veggies, like tomato, avocado, bell pepper, or even jalapeño.
- Add some fresh herbs like basil or parsley for a more flavor.
- Serve this salad fresh. Don’t add the dressing until you are ready to serve to ensure the ingredients stay fresh and don’t get soggy.
How to Make Summer Corn Salad
- Cook three ears of corn in a cast-iron skillet until charred. This will accentuate the flavor of the corn and give it a little bit of a smoky flavor.
- Cool the corn and remove the kernels from the cooked and raw ears of corn using a sharp knife. Place all kernels in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the rest of the salad ingredients to the bowl and set aside.
- Make the dressing. Add the basil leaves, shallot, garlic, honey, salad, limes, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar to a food processor and mix until smooth. You can also prepare the dressing while the corn is cooking.
- Add the dressing to the salad and mix gently.
Do you serve corn salad hot or cold?
This salad is best served room temperature, which is what makes it the most refreshing summer salad to enjoy on a hot day. If you want to make ahead of time, you can chill the salad in the fridge before serving. Next-day leftovers are great! Just make sure to store the dressing separately and add it right before serving.
Avocado Corn Salad: swap out the cherries for cherry tomatoes and add some avocado to enjoy this avocado corn salad.
Mexican Street Corn Salad: add jalapeño and use cotija cheese instead of honey goat cheese for a Mexican-inspired Street Corn Salad.
Creamy Salad Dressing: add some mayonnaise or Greek yogurt to make the salad dressing more creamy if you desire.
What to Serve with Summer Corn Salad
This Summer Corn Salad can be served in a variety of ways.
- Combine it with a leafy salad, like this avocado salad.
- Grill some chicken, steak, or blackened shrimp and add it to this salad for a complete meal.
- Use it as a dip with tortilla chips.
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Summer Corn Salad
- Cherry pitter
- 5 ears of corn
- olive oil, for cooking
- 1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and sliced in half
- 1/4 cup red onion, very thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup honey goat cheese, crumbled
- Heat a cast iron skillet on medium-high heat. Brush a thin layer of olive oil over the 3 ears of corn and place it on the skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until kernels begin to char.
- Remove the corn from the pan and allow it to come to room temperature. Use a sharp knife to carefully remove the kernels from the cob (the raw corn too) and place them in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the cherries, sliced red onion, and crumbled goat cheese to the bowl and set aside.
- Add all of the basil lime vinaigrette ingredients to a food processor and mix on high until fully combined. This will make more than you need for the salad, but will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.
- Add a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette to the salad and mix until combined. Garnish with fresh basil if desired and serve.