Corn Salad with Queso Fresco

This fresh summer salad, boasting sweet corn, zesty peppers and onions, and creamy avocado is tossed in a tangy cilantro-lime vinaigrette and generously topped with queso fresco. It’s the perfect side dish for a summer barbecue, scooped up with tortilla chips as an appetizer, or alongside nearly any Latin-inspired meal. However you serve it, it’s guaranteed to be gone in a flash- whenever I serve this to guests, I’m asked for the recipe!

Corn salad in a blue bowl

Ingredient Notes

  • Jalapenos – Jalapenos add a nice kick to this salad, but if you prefer less spice, feel free to leave them out. It’s equally great without them. 
  • Fresh Corn Cobs – If fresh corn isn’t in season or you’d prefer a time-saver, you can find pre-schucked ready-to-eat corn cobs in the produce section of some grocery stores.  Frozen fresh corn also works great!  I would not recommend canned corn for this recipe.  If I’m being completely honest, I use a bag of frozen fresh corn most often.  You don’t need to even cook it- I just thaw it in the refrigerator. 
  • Queso Fresco – Queso fresco is a crumbly, white Mexican cheese. It is readily available in most grocery stores and comes vacuum packed in about a 4-inch wheel. Look for it near the pre-packaged sliced cheeses, near other Latin cheese. Cotija is a similar cheese and they can be used here interchangeably. If you aren’t able to find those options, feta would be great in a pinch!
  • Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette –  Note that this salad only calls for about half a recipe of dressing. The leftover dressing makes a great marinade, especially for fish tacos!

How to Make Corn Salad with Queso Fresco

how to make fresh corn salad collage

  1. Begin by mixing up the Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette. Lime juice, vinegar, garlic, salt, and a touch of sugar are combined in the blender. Then, with the blender running, you’ll drizzle in some oil and then some fresh cilantro.
  2. Next move onto the salad. If your vegetables are prepped and ready to go- this salad comes together fast! Start by slicing some fresh corn kernels off the cob. The kernels are boiled briefly, drained, and rinsed. If using frozen corn, you can simply let it thaw in the refrigerator- no cooking required.
  3. The corn is then combined with some diced red bell pepper, red onion, jalapenos, and queso fresco. Then it’s all tossed together with a generous splash of tangy Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette. The salad can chill in the fridge at this point until ready to serve.
  4.  Right before serving,  add in the diced avocados. Everything gets gently tossed together and seasoned with a little kosher salt and pepper to taste. Perfection!

Fresh Corn Salad Recipe

Serving Suggestions

This corn salad pairs well with other Latin-inspired dishes as well as any traditional barbecue fair. Here are some ideas to pull a whole meal together:

A spoonful of corn and vegetables

FAQs

  • If I’m only using half of the Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette, do I have to make the full recipe? I call for a full recipe of the vinaigrette so you can dress the salad to taste, which might be a little more than half a batch for some. It’s also easier to blend the full amount in your blender. If you think you’d rather not have leftover dressing, feel free to halve it.
  • Does this corn salad need to be refrigerated before serving? Serve it right away or make it ahead and store it in an air-tight container in the fridge until ready to serve.
  • Can I make the dressing ahead of time? Of course! Make the dressing up to a day or two before if desired. Just remember that lime juice will mellow over time, so you might need an additional squeeze of fresh lime juice to the corn salad right before serving.

Did You Make This?

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Fresh corn, avocados, and vegetables in a blue bowl

Corn Salad with Queso Fresco

  • Author: Our Best Bites
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 10-12

Description

A fresh summer salad with corn, peppers, onions, and avocado in a cilantro-lime vinaigrette. Great as a side dish for barbecues, or alongside Latin favorites such as fajitas or tacos.


Ingredients

DRESSING
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 23 juicy limes)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
45 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup oil (extra-virgin or light olive oil, canola oil, avocado oil, all work well.)
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro, stems removed

SALAD
4 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
8 ounces queso fresco or cotija cheese
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
(optional) 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (and seeded if desired)
1 large avocado, pitted, peeled, and cubed
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Instructions

DRESSING
In the jar of your blender, combine lime juice, vinegar, garlic, salt, and sugar. Blend until ingredients are completely combined. With the blender running, add the oil in a steady stream. Add cilantro and blend until the cilantro has broken down but still maintains some of its texture. Taste and feel free to adjust flavor with salt and pepper, or even extra sugar or lime if desired.

SALAD
Bring about 1 inch of water to a boil in a large stock pot. When the water boils, add the corn and cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain and rinse and then add to a large bowl. Toss together the corn, red bell pepper, red onion, jalapeno pepper, and crumbled cheese (*NOTE: If you anticipate letting the salad sit for a while before serving, you may want to wait on the cheese and add it right before serving, with the avocado). Toss with Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette, feel free to add more or less, depending on your preferences. Chill until ready to serve. Right before serving, gently toss in the avocado and season with salt and pepper.


Keywords: Corn, salads

37 comments

  1. Yum! When we have summer in Oregon, hubby and I live on a similar salad: using sweet corn, diced tomatoes and cubed avocado in abundance, and adding finely diced jalapeno, onion, jicima (love that slightly-sweet crunch!) and red or orange bell pepper. Dress with lime juice, salt and pepper to taste and presto! – perfect on its own, with chips, or as a side to a lovely grilled steak.

  2. Today’s “salad” sounds delicious. I am going to have to get the ingredients and make some. It reminds me of a salad people always ask me to bring when we are having several couples for supper at a friend’s house and for all family gatherings. It is called Shoepeg Corn Salad. You get as many cans of shoepeg corn as you will need for the size of the crowd. At times I use 2 cans and sometime I use 4 cans. Skin and seed a cucumber and cut the pieces into tiny little parts. Take a tomato and cut it into tiny pieces. Put all of this together and give it a stir. Then I add as much mayonnaise as necessary to bind it together. This is good for a few days if there are any leftovers, but I guess it is the cucumbers, but it will make water in the bottom of the bowl so I just drain that off. We salt and pepper to taste individually. Talk about good. I am not far from Shreveport down in Sabine parish and we really haven’t had a winter this year. Lots of rain and gray days, which I hate, but not like we have some winters. Just a word of caution depending on where you live – buy a gas operated generator when you see one on sale. In north Louisiana when we have an ice storm or if a hurricane comes up around us, we can lose power for up to 8 days. If that happens, you lose everything in your freezer. We are lucky in that we have a gas range alongside an electric stove so we are able to cook, but our friends are all electric and cannot even warm a can of soup. Just saying…

  3. I totally agree with you about the humid cold. It’s way worse than dry cold. I’m in Houston, and even though it is 60 degrees outside, Im all bundled up in my warmest clothes and I’m still cold. And I’m not a wimp! I grew up in Montana. I love you guys, you have made cooking fun again!

  4. I am on-board! This would me the perfect salad….and I would take your recommendation about adding chicken! An all-in-one meal!

  5. I know all about those Louisiana winters (and summers) and I miss them terribly. Of course, a giant bowl of that amazing corn salad could certainly help with my homesickness. Thanks for the stories and wonderful recipes!

  6. Yum! Corn salad is one of my favorite summer sides, especially with fresh garden corn if I can get it. Lovely colors!

    We may not have quite the intensity of the humidity here in Georgia that y’all do in Louisiana, but we feel your pain! I’ve been increasingly worried about what’s going to happen in March, thanks to the super-mild temperatures – not that I’m necessarily complaining about 70F!

  7. Love this salad. Can’t wait to try this version! Even here in Utah the mild winter has been a blessing for this California girl. I appreciate the insight into life in the south– my kids’ very favorite kindergarten teacher moved to your area last year (Nicole D.–maybe she’s in your ward?) and my daughter is always wondering what it is like there–she has the crazy curiosity about all things Louisiana. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I’ve been craving queso fresco lately ~ how did you know??! This recipe looks healthy and delicious. Makes me think of summer, even though we are expecting snow later today!

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