This Charred Mexican Corn Salad Recipe is a fantastic summer side dish! It's packed full of smoky and spicy flavors. It's super simple to put together and makes for a great side dish when grilling outdoors!
The great thing about this simple salad is that you can use fresh corn or frozen corn and it also makes for a great topping for Carne Asada Tacos! Defrost and drain the corn in a colander in the refrigerator the night before and then you'll be all ready to reheat and assemble it the next day!
The flavors are fresh and summery and when combined with the soft cotija cheese and spicy dressing it ticks all the boxes! Especially when you see how quick and easy it is!
Save Time. Use Frozen Corn!
My secret to easy prep is the frozen, charred corn! Typically, I cringe at anything frozen, but as the season slowly fades here and the busyness of summer is still in full swing - I make an exception. It's already cobbed and charred, so there's less work for you!
I love to use Trader Joe's brand of charred corn. It's easy to find and perfectly charred and a great price!
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Step 1: Prep the Corn
Pour the frozen corn into a colander and rinse under warm water for a few minutes to accelerate the thawing process. Place the colander over a large stockpot to catch the water as it continues to thaw and place in the refrigerator overnight.
If corn is still plentiful at the grocery store or Farmer's Market, this recipe is also great using grilled corn. Just pop it on the grill for a few minutes until nicely charred. Then cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
This recipe is so flexible that you can serve this recipe cold or at room temperature. If you are serving it cold, remove the corn from the fridge and combine it with the chopped red onion, jalapeno, and dressing in a large serving bowl, and serve with the garnish.
To Serve Cold Vs. Warm?
To bring the recipe up to room temperature, spread the corn and red onion on a baking sheet and put in a 350F (175C) degree oven for about 15 minutes. Serving it slightly warmed really brings out the flavors of the onion and softens the creamy Queso Fresco cheese on top.
It's best if you spread it out on a large baking sheet so that the corn and the onion heat at the same rate. It will also be quicker than putting it in a casserole dish.
Step 2: Make the Dressing
While the corn is in the oven, whisk up the dressing. It's a super simple dressing of lime juice, olive oil, and spices. But if you were in a hurry you could just toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lime. This is the great thing about this salad recipe, there is so much flavor and great textures in it, you don't need much dressing to spiff it up!
Don't Forget The Heat
I like adding the addition of the jalapenos to this salad because I think a little heat works well with the cheese and the avocado. But if you aren't a fan, you could also substitute the jalapenos for regular green bell peppers, or red bell peppers for more color. That would be great too!
Plating Is Everything
With a simple salad like this, you might be tempted to just pop it in a bowl and be done. But I find sometimes the simpler the recipe, the fancier the plating. It can elevate the whole experience for your guests.
I like to transfer the salad into something long and shallow to show off all the beautiful colors and textures. You'll see more of it that way, and the ingredients would get buried the way they would in a bowl. It also keeps the avocado and queso fresco from getting too compacted and smushed!
TIP: For a stronger flavor you can also use Cotija cheese.
As you can see, it looks beautiful across a couple of carne asada tacos but this salad would also be delicious with some burgers or ribs or served as a main even with some grilled chicken tossed in. Follow the grilled chicken recipe in my Grilled Chicken Ceasar Salad recipe. A few Gazpacho and Shrimp shooters would also be a fun way to begin!
More Great Summer Recipes!
- No-Mayo Potato Salad
- Charred Asparagus Salad
- New England Shrimp Rolls
- Veggie Quesadilla with Homemade Guacamole
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- (4) 10 oz bags of Fire Roasted Frozen Corn
- ⅔ cup red onion, diced
- 2 avocados, diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 lime, juiced
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 4 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon cilantro
- Queso Fresco Cheese
- Thaw frozen corn in a colander under warm water, allow to drain overnight in the colander, set in a large pot, covered in the fridge.
- Whisk together the lime juice, cumin, smoked paprika. Add the oil in a steady stream whisking all the while until combined.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Place corn and red onion on a baking sheet and bake for 15 mins to warm through.
- Toss corn mixture with dressing, and jalapeno transfer to a serving platter.
- Top salad with avocado, queso fresco and cilantro.
This salad can be made with fresh or frozen corn.
I like the charred frozen corn from Trader Joe's. Great flavor at a great price!
This salad works as a great topping for Carne Asada tacos as well.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 231Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 143mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 6g