Summer Corn Salad

A crunchy, sweet no-cook summer corn salad. The salad is a breeze, has a ton of toasted pepitas & sunflower seeds, tossed with a brown sugar lemonade vinaigrette.

Summer Corn Salad

Summer is corn salad season. And this is a good one. I lugged a big sack of corn home from the market the other day thinking I would throw together a picnic salad to take on a hike out to the coast. The plan was to use raw corn kernels along with a vinaigrette I've been on hooked lately. If you can imagine a lemonade vinaigrette made with a bit of brown sugar, you'd be in the ballpark. The tart-sweet lemon dressing goes great with corn. Beyond that, the salad gets tossed with a ton of toasted seeds for crunch, and a generous showering of Mexican oregano to bring things back to Earth.
Summer Corn Salad on a Platter

Summer Corn Salad: The Key Ingredients

  • Corn: The key here is buying great corn. The sweeter the better. This corn salad has just a handful of ingredients, and the corn is the all-star. You're not grilling it (although you could), and you're not cooking it, so there's really no where to hide if your corn is starchy. White corn or yellow corn is fine here. 
  • Oregano: I call for dried Mexican oregano, but whatever you have on hand (within reason) is fine. That said, if all you have is dusty, neglected oregano, consider using whatever other fresh herbs you might have.

Close-up of Yellow Corn on the Cob


Yes! You can absolutely do a grilled version of this salad if you like. It's equally good, although I do make a couple little tweaks. After grilling your corn allow it to cool enough to handle, then shave the kernels from each ear. I like to add some minced serrano peppers to the grilled version on this salad for a little kick. Like the tiniest flecks. Really chop the chile(s) small and then season the salad to taste with those.

Seed Mixture for Summer Corn Salad

One More Corn Salad - Cooked + Coconut

If one corn salad isn't enough this summer, or if you're looking to switch it up a bit. This is another of my all-time favorite corn salad recipes. It uses a skillet approach and five ears of corn shaved in quick fashion, then sautéed in a bit of butter or olive oil. I trick it out with thyme, red onions, toasted almonds and coconut. Simple. Delicious. or if you're on the the quest for salad inspiration in general, here's where you can browse all the salad recipes

Summer Corn Salad on a Platter with a Serving Spoon

I hope you enjoy the corn salad if you try it. It's a breeze to throw together, and it travels well in an over-sized jar. You can toss the corn and shallots ahead of time, just leave enough room to throw the seeds and oregano in just before serving/eating. Enjoy & happy summer! -h

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Summer Corn Salad

5 from 4 votes

Save the corn cobs if you like - you can simmer them for a while to make a quick corn stock. I did this for corn soup and it really turns out great. Also, if Mexican oregano is hard for you to come by, you can substitute fresh oregano, or chives, or whatever herbs you like, really. Mexican oregano is unique, potently fragrant, and zesty and earthy all at once - I have a fondness for it with corn and with mushrooms as well!

  • 6 ears of corn
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 3/4 cup / 4 oz / 115g toasted pepitas
  • 3/4 cup / 4 oz / 115g toasted sunflower seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  1. Shuck the corn and use a knife to cut the kernels from the cobs. Place the kernels in a medium bowl with the shallot while you make the dressing.
  2. Combine the lemon juice, salt, and sugar in a small bowl or jar. Gradually add the oil, whisking vigorously until the dressing comes together. Taste, and adjust with more lemon juice, salt or sugar, if needed. This dressing should be on the sweet side, not overly tangy.
  3. Just before serving, add the seeds to the bowl of corn along with 2/3 of the dressing. Toss well, really get everything well coated. If you want more dressing, add more to taste. Crush the oregano between your palms and let it shower down on to the salad. Toss one more time and serve.

Serves 6.

Prep Time
10 d
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

Post Your Comment


I have been experimenting with corn too and I was thinking about making similar salad but with toasted almonds. I agree that corn has a great culinary potential. For example, recently, I made corn pancakes (savory or even spicy), which turned out unexpectedly delicious.

Bogna @ Pots and Frills

i've never had raw corn, but it looks delicious in this salad, especially with the pine nuts and sunflower seeds!


Love this idea, but I'm still reeling from your shaved fennel salad!!!! So fresh. I added a handful of freshly picked blueberries at the end!


Heidi, I love the new cookbook! I've made a couple recipes so far and they have been fantastic. All I have to say to my husband is "it's a Heidi recipe" and he gives me the knowing grin. You are my go-to favorite.


I love the addition of the brown sugar! It really plays up the sweet of the sweet corn. I know what I'm picking up at the farmer's market this weekend!

JL goes Vegan

Never thought you could eat corn raw--but this looks amazing and healthy! Will have to try it out. The hubby just brought home a large bag of fresh corn the other night too! Thanks =)


Every recipe I have tried from you has been a winner - am so looking forward to trying this corn one with the extra corn I have for tonight's bbq. A big thank-you Heidi!!


This salad looks delicious, and I am so glad you "went overboard" with the dahlia pictures! They're one of my favorite flowers. The photo above of the lavender dahlia is unbelievably lovely. Thanks for sharing!

Elizabeth @ Coppertop Kitchen

This looks fantastic! As I type this I have two loaves of your zucchini bread recipe in my oven. Yum.


Love the pics Heidi. I'm exactly the same when carrying a camera. I have never eaten raw corn, and I'm from Iowa. Ok. heading to the farmers market in the morning!

Cheryl Parsons

Lemonade dressing - you had me at hello. Please excuse me while I head off to buy some corn.... Fab recipe, Heidi!


What would be the best substitute for the Sunflower Oil? EVOO, Grapeseed or Canola?

Kathy Ziegenmier

    EVOO is fine - maybe one that isn't too strong.

    Heidi Swanson

Simple but soooooo amazing. Thank you.


this recipe is wonderful i love seeds and the fresh corn is one of my children's favorites ingredients!!!!

kosenrufu mama

I have a corn salad that I love during the summer as well. I served it with dinner tonight, pushed dinner aside, and mostly ate salad. Your photos are gorgeous, as always.

Paula at Dishing The Divine

With corn just about to come into season around here, this sounds so simple and delicious. Definitely saving this recipe to make later.


I've never had raw corn! The lemon vinaigrette sounds so delicious, though. I may have to try this or a variation of it.

J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog)

discovering i could eat corn raw was such a life-changing moment for me!!!

lynn @ the actor's diet

I have a huge lotus flower tattoo incorporated in my half sleeve and if i ever add onto the piece, a dahlia flower is going to be strongly them! And yes, what a happy place that sounds like in San Fran. The corn salad...the dressing...good enough to just drink I think :)

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga

Love the fresh corn recipe...just visiting family in slovakia and its heaps of fresh corn at the week recipe it is:) Thanks again Heidi...Already made quite a few recipes for my family and friends while im overhere, having troubles to find some ingredients but always figure it out somehow and they love it...all of them know abput your books and blog now:) yay!


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