This simple grilled corn salad is an easy and delicious recipe you’ll find endless uses for all summer long. With sweet grilled corn, crunchy bell peppers, tons of fresh basil, and a tangy lime dressing, this summer salad is bright, fresh, and flavorful. It’s ready in just 30 minutes, and perfect for a weeknight dinner side dish, crowd-pleasing party or picnic offering, or packed into individual containers for lunch prep.
Fresh corn is starting to pop up and I’m all. kinds. of. giddy. I might live in Maryland, but I’m a Jersey girl through and through and summer sweet corn is a treat I look forward to all year long.
The first ears of summer corn are almost always grilled, then slathered with butter and salt and consumed immediately. From there, anything’s fair game. Some kind of corn soup or chowder inevitably ends up on the menu, and throughout the season I’ll toss an ear or two into salads or stuffed peppers.
Last week I whipped up this simple grilled corn salad for dinner and I was grinning ear to ear. Pun totally intended. With crunchy red bell peppers, green onions, tons of bright fresh basil, and a simple honey lime dressing, this salad was ready in just 30 minutes. I grilled up some sausages alongside the corn, and voila – a colorful, nutritious weeknight dinner in less time than it would take for the delivery guy to get here.
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GRILLED CORN SALAD RECIPE NOTES
This recipe is so versatile both in prep and use. Make it your own by adding avocado, cojita or queso fresco, or some diced chicken for protein.
We had this as a side dish for dinner, but it’s a terrific family style dish for a summer picnic or party. You can prep it entirely in advance, so it’s excellent for a pot luck, or packed into individual serving containers for meal prep. It’s equally delicious hot, cold, or room temperature. I think you get the picture, so let’s get this party started!
GRILLING THE BEST SWEET CORN
There are three basic go-to methods for grilling sweet corn – naked, naked wrapped in foil, and in the husks. Grilling corn in the husks or wrapped in foil will give you tender, super moist kernels, while completely naked grilling will produce a slightly less juicy result but with intense smoky flavor.
I opt for the naked grilling method for this sweet corn salad. Less juicy kernels result in a meatier salad without residual moisture in the bottom of the bowl. Plus you can’t beat the smoky and sweet flavor.
Start by getting your hands on the freshest corn you can buy. In a perfect world you’ll go out and pick it fresh, but my life isn’t perfect and I’m sure your isn’t either. If you have a local farm stand or farmers market, they’re sure to have super fresh corn available.
White, yellow, or bicolor doesn’t matter – there’s no difference in flavor. I like bi-color for looks.
Get your grill nice and hot. A charcoal grill will produce superior smoky flavor, and if you’re feeling really fancy you can incorporate some wood chips. Coat the corn with a thin layer of olive oil – not too much. Just drizzle on about a teaspoon of oil per ear and rub it in with your fingers. Then sprinkle each ear with sea salt and paprika.
Lay the corn directly onto the grate and grill until it’s charred on all sides, turning it every three or four minutes. It should be charred and tender in about 15 minutes.
Remove the corn from the grill and let it rest on a plate until it’s cool enough to handle (about 5 minutes).
HOW TO CUT CORN OFF THE COB
Slicing kernels off the cobs is a breeze with two simple tools you likely already own – a bowl and a serrated knife.
Simply stand the corn up in the middle of the bowl, then slice down from top to bottom using the serrated knife. The kernels will collect neatly in the bowl, and they’ll also provide a little traction. I’ve use all kinds of knives to slice corn off the cob, and I find a serrated knife to be the easiest. I use a small steak knife because it’s easier to handle.
HOW TO MAKE GRILLED CORN SALAD
We’re almost there! A couple of vegetables and some fresh herbs round out this simple corn salad and add tons of flavor and texture.
Finely dice some red bell pepper – cut it to roughly the same size as the corn kernels for balanced flavor in every bite. Samesies with the green onion. Then julienne about half a cup of fresh basil, and mince some chives.
Toss it all into a mixing bowl with the corn kernels and the lime dressing. Add salt and pepper, mix it up, and then taste for seasoning. Add more salt, pepper, or lime juice as needed.
This salad can be served immediately, but I found the flavor improved after letting the dressing soak in for about 20 minutes. We had this for dinner as a dish along with some grilled sausages and fresh fruit.
This grilled corn salad is terrific served warm, room temperature or cold. Pack it into individual containers for lunch, tote it along to a picnic or potluck, or eat it straight out of the container for midnight snack. Or afternoon snack. However you roll.
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Grilled Corn Salad with Peppers and Basil
This simple grilled corn salad is an easy side dish recipe you'll find endless uses for all summer long. With sweet grilled corn, crunchy bell peppers, tons of fresh basil, and a tangy lime dressing, this summer salad is bright, fresh, flavorful, and ready in just 30 minutes.
Grilled Corn Salad
Heat a grill over high heat.
Remove the husks and silks from the corn. Drizzle each ear of corn with a scant teaspoon of olive oil, then rub the oil into the kernels. Sprinkle with the salt and paprika.
Place the corn directly on the grates over high heat. Grill, turning a quarter of a turn every 3-4 minutes, until charred and tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the corn from the grill and set aside until cool enough to handle.
Slice the kernels from the cobs and place in a large mixing bowl (for slicing tips, see post notes above). Add the bell pepper, scallions, basil, and chives.
In a small bowl, combine the honey lime dressing ingredients and whisk until the honey is dissolved.
Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning an add additional salt, pepper, or lime juice if needed. This salad can be served warm immediately, at room temperature, or transferred to the fridge and served chilled. This recipes keeps in the fridge in a tightly sealed container for up to 5 days.
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