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

Variations

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!

Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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.
Notes

Serves 6.

Serves
6
Prep Time
10 d
 
 
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Comments

We are wild about corn salads here and your version is a must try. It is so different from anything that we've ever made before. I love the lemony vinaigrette and the sunflower seeds. Simply delicious.

Candace

Hi Heidi, I was so excited to see SNED in the Anthropologie across from where I work (Rockefeller Center location)! And even though I own all 3 of your books and am a total softie for all things analog (though, not a luddite - I am a true apple girl) I plan to get the electronic version of SNE. Congratulations, once again, on all of this good stuff! HS: Thanks Linda! Love hearing about book sightings :) And thanks for your support.

Linda NYC

Thanks for the recipe, Heidi. Looks delicious, and the pairing of the corn, lemon-y vinaigrette and mexican oregano sounds so good. I was in San Fransisco last week for a couple of days, and I loved it so much. One of my favorite cities I think I've ever been to. Just wanted to flatter your city.

Amy

Fantastic! I just got 9 ears of corn from our CSA and I was overwhelmed by them! Not anymore - I'll be making this soon. Thanks!

Lisa @ Just here. Just now.

It's perfect for a lazy day... I love it. I actually have some pepitas at home that I bake in the oven with smoked paprika, cayenne, cumin and sea salt and I think it would be go perfect with your creation. Thanks and have a happy Friday!

Adelina

I made the corn salad for supper tonight- I was missing a few ingredients, but substituted green onion for the shallot and toasted almonds/pistachios for the sunflower seeds/pepitas. It tasted great.

Kara

Lovely, Heidi.

The Healthy Apple

I've enjoyed fresh, raw corn for many years and I'm looking forward to trying this recipe. I think I will throw a few pistachios in just because I love them. The lemon vinaigrette sounds terrific and I'm looking forward to trying this, as both corn and lemon are favorites. Thanks Heidi, for always being so down-to-earth in the way you share, and for offering such simple, yet healthy recipes.

Pat

We have this awesome corn coming in from the town next door - Hadley Sweet Corn - and I love corn salad. I use tomatoes, cilantro, salt, and lime to season.

Snack Girl

Looks lovely! One of my good friends has been making something similar this season with a little parmesan and bringing me some now and again. It's perfect late night snacking food in my opinion!!!

Rocky Mountain Woman

What a simple and refreshing salad! I love raw sweet corn in the summer but I've never tried it with sunflower seeds & pepitas - looking forward to making this soon!

Anjali Shah

Can't wait for our summer - and fresh corn - to try this one! Last summer I tasted heritage corn from old seed stock that tastes like corn, rather than candy - it was quite different - but right somehow too. Have you ever come across this? Still love the "sweet"corn tho - tastes like childhood and summer and simpler times! Yum!

Ruth Stephens

When we were living in Vancouver I took full advantage of the great corn you have out there. Now back in the UK it's another story. For some reason, they just don't grow and appreciate good corn here. I was never excited about corn when Theresa (a native Canadian) used to talk about it growing up in Cambridge as I did. Then I tasted it when we moved to Canada and it was a different story. Only recently you can actually come across corn that doesn't come in a tin, bu it's just not fresh generally. You'll have to post me some of that sack of yours ; )

adam and theresa

This looks really intriguing--I'm especially interested in the "lemonade" vinaigrette!

Gretchen @ flowercityfoodie.com

Looks like this would be best with super fresh corn. Love the flavors and the touch of sweetness to this salad.

Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet

I love the summer when the produce is so fresh and flavorful that it is better to eat everything raw.

Michelle

Heidi, this sounds so simply delicious, and I love the combination of sour, sweet and crunchy. I'm definitely going to have to pick up some corn this weekend and try it out! Thanks!

Kathryn (Dramatic Pancake)

Oh good grief! I just fainted and fell out of my chair. This looks ah-may-zing. Making this as soon as I get my vision back.

Bev Weidner

I can't wait to share this with my customers! We've been harvesting corn for two weeks and just picked some fresh shallots. This couldn't be any more timely! Thanks so much for sharing this.

Kasha The FarmGirl

I make a similar dressing but use lemon juice, honey, mustard (I like Jack Daniels Old No. 7), and olive oil. It is wonderful and very addictive. I eat it nearly every day!

Signe

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