Charred Corn and Zucchini Salad (cilantro lime vinaigrette)

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Charred Corn and Zucchini Salad- is a delightful and refreshing side dish perfect for any summer gathering. The smoky flavors from the charred vegetables (created from the cast iron skillet) paired with the tangy and slightly sweet vinaigrette make for an irresistible combination. It’s a summertime favorite.

Serve with fresh ceviche or grilled shrimp and Mexican fruit salad.

Beautifully plated charred corn and zucchini salad in a large serving bowl with ears of corn on the side and extra dressing. Mexican fresh cheese on top of the salad. Wooden salad servers on the side. Close up photo of the salad.
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Why you’ll love it

The fresh, light ingredients make this salad ideal for hot summer days. It’s refreshing and fresh. This recipe is great for your next BBQ or summer picnic. Everyone loves it!

  • Crowd-Pleaser: This salad is sure to be a hit at any gathering. Its vibrant colors and bold flavors make it visually appealing and delicious. Your guests will be asking for the recipe!
  • Healthy and Fresh: Packed with fresh vegetables and healthy fats from the avocado and olive oil, this salad is a nutritious option that doesn’t compromise flavor. It’s a great way to incorporate more veggies into your meal.

You’ll also love our homemade cornbread and Mexican corn dip recipe.

a small bowl of the charred corn and zucchini salad with lime on the side and cilantro on top. fork in the bowl ready to eat. Grilled bread on the side.

Simple Ingredients

ingredients for charred corn and zucchini salad recipe.

For the Salad

  • Red Onion: Adds a sharp, sweet flavor and a crunchy texture to the salad. Chopped finely to mix well with the other vegetables.
  • Olive Oil: Used for cooking the vegetables, it adds a rich, smooth taste and helps achieve the perfect char on the corn and zucchini.
  • Fresh Corn: Provides sweetness and a slight crunch. Cutting the kernels off the cob ensures a fresh and juicy addition to the salad.
  • Zucchini: Adds a mild, slightly sweet flavor and a tender texture. Diced into small cubes for even cooking and easy mixing.
  • Salt and Pepper: Essential for seasoning, enhancing the natural flavors of the vegetables, and adding a bit of spice.
  • Avocado: Adds a creamy, buttery texture and a mild flavor that balances the charred vegetables and tangy vinaigrette.
  • Mexican Cheese: Such as Cotija or queso fresco, it adds a salty, tangy flavor and a crumbly texture that complements the salad.
  • Fresh Cilantro Leaves: Used for garnish, they add a fresh, citrusy flavor that enhances the overall taste of the salad.

For the Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

ingredients for the cilantro lime dressing for the charred corn and zucchini salad recipe.
  • Lime Juice: Provides a bright, tangy flavor that forms the base of the vinaigrette, balancing the sweetness of the corn and the richness of the avocado.
  • Honey or Agave Nectar: Adds a touch of sweetness to the vinaigrette, balancing the acidity of the lime juice.
  • Garlic: Adds a pungent, savory flavor to the vinaigrette, enhancing the overall taste of the salad.
  • Fresh Cilantro: Finely chopped for the vinaigrette, it adds a fresh, herbaceous flavor that ties the whole dish together.

See the recipe card for quantities.

How to make corn and zucchini salad

This salad is quick and easy to prepare with simple ingredients and straightforward steps. See the recipe card for complete instrcutions.

how to make charred corn and zucchini salad recipe - make the dressing in a bowl and whisk to combine.

Make the cilantro lime vinaigrette by whisking together all the ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.

how to make charred corn and zucchini salad recipe - saute the onions in the cast iron skillet.

Add the red onions to a cast iron pan and cook until browned.

how to make charred corn and zucchini salad recipe - add the fresh corn and zucchini to the skillet.

Add the fresh corn and zucchini to the pan.

how to make charred corn and zucchini salad recipe - saute

Cook the corn and zucchini until charred and flavorful.

how to make charred corn and zucchini salad recipe - let the cooked veggies cool and add the fresh avocado.

Let cool, and add the fresh cilantro and avocado.

how to make charred corn and zucchini salad recipe - toss the salad together and add the cilantro lime vinaigrette.

Toss to combine with the vinaigrette.

Beautifully plated charred corn and zucchini salad in a large serving bowl with ears of corn on the side and extra dressing. Mexican fresh cheese on top of the salad. Wooden salad servers on the side.

This Charred Corn and Zucchini Salad is a must-try for a delicious, healthy, easy-to-make dish that highlights the best summer flavors.

Substitutions

  • Red Onion: If you find red onion too strong, you can substitute it with sweet onion or green onions for a milder flavor.
  • Olive Oil: Avocado oil or sunflower oil can be used instead of olive oil to cook vegetables.
  • Fresh Corn: If fresh corn is unavailable, you can use frozen corn kernels. Just thaw and pat them dry before cooking to get a good char.
  • Zucchini: Yellow squash is a great alternative and adds a similar texture with a slightly different flavor.
Scooping the charred corn and zucchini salad on a piece of bread.

Variations

  • Add Protein: To make this salad a complete meal, add grilled chicken, shrimp, or black beans for extra protein.
  • Spice It Up: For a bit of heat, add some diced jalapeños or a pinch of red pepper flakes to the salad.
  • Additional Veggies: Include other fresh vegetables like cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, or cucumbers for more color and flavor.
  • Grains: Mix in cooked quinoa, farro, or couscous to make the salad more filling and add a different texture.
a small bowl of the charred corn and zucchini salad with lime on the side and cilantro on top. fork in the bowl ready to eat. Grilled bread on the side.

Equipment

Storage

If you have leftovers, store the salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. To prevent the avocado from browning, add a little extra lime juice over the top before sealing.

My Pro Tip

Recipe Tips

  • Charring the Vegetables: Make sure your skillet is hot before adding the vegetables. This helps achieve a good chare without overcooking. Avoid overcrowding the pan to ensure the vegetables char evenly.
  • Cooling the Vegetables: Let the cooked corn and zucchini cool slightly before tossing with the avocado and vinaigrette. This helps prevent the avocado from becoming mushy and keeps the salad fresh.

FAQ’s

What can I use instead of cilantro in the vinaigrette?

If you’re not a fan of cilantro, you can use fresh parsley, basil, or mint for a different flavor profile.

Can I use canned or frozen corn instead of fresh corn?

Yes, you can use canned or frozen corn. If using canned corn, drain and rinse it well before charring. If using frozen corn, thaw and pat it dry before cooking to ensure it chars nicely.

Can I make this salad ahead of time?

You can prepare the corn and zucchini ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator. For the best texture, toss with the avocado and vinaigrette before serving.

a small bowl of the charred corn and zucchini salad with lime on the side and cilantro on top. fork in the bowl ready to eat.

Looking for other recipes? Try these:

Serving Suggestions

This salad is incredibly versatile. It can be served as a side dish to complement any summer meal, or even as a light main dish on its own. Pair it with grilled meats, tacos, or enjoy it with a piece of crusty bread.

Print
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a small bowl of the charred corn and zucchini salad with lime on the side and cilantro on top. fork in the bowl ready to eat. Grilled bread on the side.

Charred Corn and Zucchini Salad

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5 from 1 review

Charred Corn and Zucchini Salad- is a delightful and refreshing side dish perfect for any summer gathering. The smoky flavors from the charred vegetables (created from the cast iron skillet) paired with the tangy and slightly sweet vinaigrette make for an irresistible combination. It’s a summertime favorite.

  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

For the Salad:

  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ears fresh corn, kernels cut off the cob
  • 3 zucchini, diced into small cubes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 avocado, peeled and cut into cubes
  • Mexican cheese (such as Cotija or queso fresco) for topping
  • Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

For the Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2-3 limes)
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Optional: Fresh Mexican cheese (Cotija or Oaxaca) or feta cheese

Instructions

Prepare the Salad:

  • Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the chopped red onion and cook until it softens, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the corn kernels and diced zucchini to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are charred and tender, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Remove the skillet from heat and let the vegetables cool slightly.

Make the Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette:

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the fresh lime juice, olive oil, honey or agave nectar, minced garlic, and chopped cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Assemble the Salad:

  • In a large bowl or serving platter, combine the charred corn and zucchini mixture with the cubed avocado.
  • Drizzle the cilantro lime vinaigrette over the salad and toss gently to combine.
  • Top with crumbled Mexican cheese or feta cheese and a few fresh cilantro leaves for garnish.

Serve the salad as a side dish to your favorite summer meal. Enjoy!

Notes

Tips:

    • Charring the Vegetables: Make sure your skillet is hot before adding the vegetables. This helps achieve a good char without overcooking. Avoid overcrowding the pan to ensure the vegetables char evenly.

    • Cooling the Vegetables: Let the cooked corn and zucchini cool slightly before tossing with the avocado and vinaigrette. This helps prevent the avocado from becoming mushy and keeps the salad fresh.

  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: American
  • Cuisine: Mexican

About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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2 Comments

  1. The Charred Corn and Zucchini Salad looks absolutely delightful! Your creativity in combining flavours and textures truly shines through in this recipe. Thank you for sharing such an inspiring dish.

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