Easy Southwestern Summer Corn Salad

Celebrate late summer with an easy Southwestern corn salad with smoky, sweet, and salty notes, fresh herbs, a homemade lime dressing, and cotija cheese!


Happy end of summer!

This is my favorite time of the year.

Today I was able to throw open all of the windows to let a light breeze blow through our house. The weather was the type that seems to arrive only in late summer: sunny but cool, with no humidity.

And at the farm a couple of towns over: everything was in season.

We got fresh blueberries and tomatoes (recipes with those ingredients coming soon!).

And we also got plenty of fresh corn on the cob.

So today I have for you an Easy Southwestern Corn Salad to celebrate that late summer harvest!

Corn on the cob has always been one of my absolute favorite foods.

It’s crispy and sweet, with a satisfying crunch.

Trevor, who tends to say “no” to everything fresh from the garden, will even take a few bites of corn on the cob.

This super flavorful salad was inspired by Mexican street corn recipes.

I include some raw, crisp summer veggies like bell pepper and zucchini.

So it tastes really light, healthy, and fresh.

The fresh summer corn in this corn salad is really delicious when it’s cooked on the grill for a smoky/sweet flavor.

Corn takes just ten minutes to grill, so this salad is really quick and simple to prepare.

This corn salad has a light and zesty homemade lime dressing with freshly squeezed lime, cumin, and smoked paprika.

The Southwestern spices and ingredients add a ton of rich flavor to the salad.

The finishing touches for this corn salad: fresh chives and cilantro and tasty Cotija cheese crumbled all over the top!

Cotija is a Mexican cheese that’s easy to find in most grocery stores.

It’s normally sold in small rounds, so you can just crumble a bit over the top of your corn salad.

It’s super salty and flavorful, so a little goes a long way!


For a complete meal, try topping this corn salad with some grilled chicken.

I also love serving this salad as a side dish, along with grilled fish or burgers.


Here’s the recipe for Easy Southwestern Summer Corn Salad:

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Easy Southwestern Summer Corn Salad

  • Author: Jen Elizabeth's Journals
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes (30 minutes Inactive time)
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes (30 minutes Inactive time)
  • Yield: 6 side dish servings 1x
  • Category: Salads/Sides
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: Mexican/Southwestern Inspired


Celebrate late summer with an easy Southwestern corn salad with smoky, sweet, and salty notes, fresh herbs, a homemade lime dressing, and cotija cheese!



For the Corn Salad:

  • 4 ears corn, husks removed
  • 1 cup diced zucchini, cut into small quarter-inch pieces
  • 2/3 cup diced red bell pepper, cut into small quarter-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped (or substitute parsley)
  • 1/3 cup Cotija cheese, crumbled

For the Lime Dressing:

  • 3 Tablespoons safflower oil
  • 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed from 1 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt


For the Corn Salad:

  1. Prepare grill for medium heat. Place corn cobs on grill. Cover grill. Cook, turning occasionally, until lightly browned and tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Cut kernels from cobs into large mixing bowl. Add the bell pepper, zucchini, and Lime Dressing (recipe below) to the bowl. Stir until well combined. Place in refrigerator until chilled, at least 30 minutes.
  3. Immediately before serving, top corn salad with chives, cilantro, and crumbled Cotija cheese.

For the Lime Dressing:

  1. Add all of the Lime Dressing ingredients to a bowl. Season with salt. Whisk until well combined.


  1. Try to cut the bell pepper and zucchini into very small pieces so that they are similar in size to the corn kernels.
  2. I’ve found that since the Cotija cheese is very salty, the corn salad doesn’t require any additional salt. I just add a bit of salt to the Lime Dressing, and that seems to be enough.
  3. Top this corn salad with grilled chicken to create a complete meal. Or serve it as a side with grilled fish or burgers.

Keywords: corn, summer, healthy, corn salad, lime dressing, Mexican, Southwestern, salad, side


For Related Recipes You Might Love, Check Out:

Corn, Feta, and Chive Pasta Salad with Avocado Dressing

Grilled Zucchini and Corn Pasta with Parmesan

Southwestern Salad with Crispy Chickpeas

Southwest Chipotle Quinoa and Black Beans


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    • Jen Elizabeth's Journals
      August 27, 2019 / 4:56 pm

      Thanks so much!💕💕

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