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corn tomato and quinoa salad on glass plate
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5 from 8 votes

Corn and Tomato Salad

Don't let summer end without a sweet fresh corn and tomato salad. Add quinoa to make it a satisfying vegetarian main dish. Easy, quick and versatile with whatever you have on hand. 
Prep Time20 minutes
Chill time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Vegetarian
Servings (change as needed): 4 -5 sides (2 mains)
Author: Cheryl


Salad ingredients (Note 1 for options)

  • 1 1/2 cups corn niblets (fresh or frozen) Note 2 about 2 large ears of corn
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes 1/2 lb/225 g tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoon chopped green onion 1 large or 2 small
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • optional add-ins: queso fresco cheese, tofu, black beans, chili flakes,

For quinoa (optional)

  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For vinaigrette dressing

  • 1 clove garlic minced 1 tsp
  • 2 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon each, salt and pepper


  • HEAT GRILL TO MEDIUM HIGH (if using for corn Note 2)
  • MAKE QUINOA (if using): Rinse quinoa in a mesh strainer. Place in small pot with 3/4 cups water and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer. Cover and cook 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. and let the quinoa cool a bit. 
  • GRILL CORN (Note 2 for options): Place cobs directly on grill. Grill for 8-10 minutes, turning every few minutes to get char marks on kernels. No need for them all to be brown. To slice off kernels, stand corn up tall in a bowl, slice down with a knife close to the cob. Do this all the way around the cob. It's easiest when it's cooked. Here's a video on how to cut corn off the cob.
  • MAKE DRESSING/VINAIGRETTE: Whisk all ingredients together in a small measuring cup or bowl. Taste and adjust to your liking - more vinegar, salt etc. Add 1/4 tsp chili flakes for heat if desired.
  • ASSEMBLE SALAD: Place all salad ingredients in a serving bowl. If using quinoa, add all of vinaigrette dressing. If not using quinoa, use 1 -1 1/2 tbsp. Toss together. Make sure to taste and adjust the flavors as you like them. Chill or sit on counter for an hour to blend flavors if you have time. Note 3. Taste and adjust flavors again if needed.


  1. Salad ingredient options
    • Corn: fresh corn on the cob. Or frozen corn. You can use canned corn, but that would be my last choice.
    • Tomatoes: Any fresh ripe tomatoes will be great - field, heirloom, cherry tomatoes, San Marzano.
    • Quinoa: You can substitute the quinoa with cooked barley, couscous, Israeli couscous, chickpeas. Cook according to package directions.
    • Herbs: I use fresh basil and cilantro, but other good options are chives and parsley
    • Vinaigrette Dressing: The one in the recipe is basic. Many others will work such as lime or cilantro dressing. If your corn is very sweet (as so much genetically modified corn is these days), I wouldn't add sugar.
    • Add-ins: I use avocado and green onion. Other good options are: black beans (extra fiber and nutrition), queso fresco (for saltiness and protein), tofu (good protein), seeded cucumber or peppers (for crunch), red chili flakes (for heat), red onion. For a non vegetarian version, try adding shrimp. 
  2. Corn cooking options:
    • Corn on the cob
      • To grill - as per recipe above
      • To boil - bring pot of water to boil. Add corn on cob. Lower to medium. Boil gently for 3-4 minutes. Drain and run under cold water for a minute to stop the cooking. 
      • To microwave - rinse corn and place on plate. Cover with moistened paper towel. Microwave on high for 4 minutes. 
      • No cook - You can use raw corn, but make sure to use sweet corn (preferably in season from farmer's market), not field or yellow corn. 
    • Frozen corn (good shortcut)
      • Rinse frozen corn niblets in strainer under cool water until defrosted. Drain. No need to cook it. 
  3. Make Ahead
    • The corn and tomato salad is best if it sits around for 1-2 hours to blend the flavors. So it's a great make ahead or pot luck dish. 
    • You can even make it up to 2-3 days ahead, but I suggest leaving out the fresh herbs until closer to serving time. This way they won't wilt so much.
Nutrition values are estimates and do not include optional add-ins. 
Calories: 279kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 499mg | Potassium: 448mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 231IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 2mg