This Charred Corn Avocado Salad with Roasted Red Onions combines all the fresh flavours of summer in a salad bowl. Sweet, smoky charred corn mixed with avocado, cherry tomatoes, roasted red onions and a lemon Dijon dressing makes it a perfect side salad for any barbecue or potluck gathering.
Why You’ll Love This Salad
We are bringing together everything that shouts summer in one easy salad recipe. Charred corn, avocado, tomatoes, roasted red onion, cilantro and all tied together with a simple lemon Dijon dressing. So tasty!
I love to work with seasonal ingredients as the produce is at its peak flavour, readily available and totally affordable. The colours, flavours and textures make this tomato corn avocado salad one of my go-to summer salads.
This salad makes a delicious addition at your next barbecue or pair with grilled fish, lamb or even tacos. The vibrant sweet-tangy flavours of this charred corn salad will help cut through the grilled meats.
Plus it is so easy to transport to a gathering. The exact reason why I made this tomato corn avocado salad at the beginning – for my hubby to take to a family party. No assembling required; it was even well dressed. I heard he received many praises for “his” charred corn salad.
How To Cook Corn On The Cob
Growing up, we generally used canned corn in salads. It was quick, easy and cheap. We did have corn on the cob but just like that, corn on the cob. My family never sliced the kernels off and use them in recipes.
Now I know! And there is no going back. Fresh kernels off the cob are more flavourful, sweet, and have a lovely crunchy texture than canned or frozen corn kernels. Of course, there is a place for canned and frozen corn in various recipes, but for salads, I prefer to use fresh kernels off the cob.
So how do you cook corn on the cob for a salad?
Cooking corn transforms the raw starches in the kernels into juicy, sweet bites. All the sugars hit our sweet taste buds and send happy messages to our brains. There are a few different ways to cook corn on the cob.
Boiling corn on the cob will produce juicy, tender kernels. Whilst grilling or roasting corn on the cob adds more depth and elevates the sweetness in corn.
I definitely prefer grilled corn. Not only is it sweeter, but I love the little charred burnt bits that create extra flavour.
How Do You Take Corn Off The Cob
If you search how to take corn off the cob, the most popular hack that pops up is to use a bundt pan and a knife. I think it is a great one as the bundt pan helps to hold the corn cob in place. However, I don’t own a bundt pan. And I suspect many people don’t either.
There is another hack that teaches you to remove the corn kernels with your hands row by row. Again another great idea, but I think it will take far longer than I like.
For me, left the corn cool down and then I just place the corn cobs lying flat on the chopping board and run my sharp knife from top to bottom and slice off the corn kernels. This way I also get chunks stuck together, which I love in salads.
Flavours/Texture: Charred corn takes the sweetness of corn to another level. Cooking corn on a grill or barbeque brings out the sugars unlike boiling. Plus, the added smoky flavours of charred corn adds depth and mouth-watering tastes.
Mix it with sweet juicy cherry tomatoes and creamy avocado; this charred corn salad is fresh, sweet, crunchy and creamy all together.
Ease: Even though there are cooking elements to this salad, I love how simple it is to put together the corn avocado salad. You can grill the corn whilst the red onions are roasting in the oven.
Then easily chop the rest of the salad to finish. Lemon Dijon dressing only needs a few shakes in a mason jar to make. All very easy.
Time: The corn avocado salad will take as long as you need to roast the red onions, approximately 30 minutes. Most of the other ingredients can be prepared during this time.
These are the ingredients you need in Charred Corn Avocado Salad with Roasted Red Onions.
Red onions: When roasting onions, I generally only use red onions, also known as Spanish onions. Other varieties of onions are not as sweet when roasted. Choose 2 medium sized red onions for this recipe.
Corn: By grilling corn, it adds yummy charred flavour. Best to grill corn on the cob, so they are evenly charred and then remove the kernels.
Avocado: Bringing the creamy contrast in the recipe, I personally prefer Hass avocados. However, there are so many varieties of avocados on the market that you can choose from. Choose a ripe but firm avocado.
Cherry tomatoes: Love using cherry tomatoes in salads as there is less work involved! You can cut them in half or even leave whole if they are not too big.
Dijon mustard: I like using Dijon mustard in salad dressings as it helps with the emulsification process with oil and adds a deliciously tangy, complex mustard flavour.
Maple syrup: To balance the salad dressing, I chose to use maple syrup as the sweetener. I find it less sweet than honey with caramel undertones.
Variations and Substitutions
Additional options: This is a great salad where you can easily add your own twists. These ingredients would work well in the corn avocado salad as well:
- black beans
- raw corn kernels
- sliced raw red onion
- chilli flakes
- cos lettuce leaves
- leftover roast chicken
- hard boil eggs
Coriander/Cilantro substitution: You can switch coriander/cilantro for mint or basil leaves.
Maple syrup replacement: You can substitute maple syrup with your preferred sweeteners like honey or rice malt syrup in the salad dressing.
Lemon Dijon dressing alternative: If you wish to make this salad even lighter than it is, you can add olive oil and a good squeeze of lime juice replacing the lemon Dijon dressing.
Follow these instructions on how to make Charred Corn Avocado Salad with Roasted Red Onions.
Preheat oven to 200°C or 400°F.
Slice the onions with skin on in half lengthwise, right through the root end.
Place cut side down in an oven tray, drizzle with olive oil and season well with sea salt.
Roast on a lower rack for 30 minutes until soft and brown.
When ready, remove from oven and let it cool down. Then remove the skin so you can see the soft purple flesh of sweet onion. Slice approximately 1cm thick from top to root end. Separate the layers and put aside, ready for assembling.
Whilst the red onions are roasting, you can grill the corn.
Prepare the grill pan for medium-high heat. You can use the barbecue as well.
Coat corn with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Place corn on hot grill and cook for 15 minutes or until well charred. Turn the corn occasionally so all sides are cooked well. Once ready, remove from grill to cool down.
After the corn cools down, remove corn kernels from cob by using a sharp knife to cut close to the white of the cob. If possible, try to cut the kernels in chunks. Then, place cut kernels into a bowl, ready for assembling.
Wash and cut cherry tomatoes in half lengthwise.
Peel and cut avocado into 2cm cubes.
Wash and tear up coriander leaves.
How to Make Dijon Maple Dressing
This is a light dressing to add a little zing.
Add olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, and salt and pepper to taste in a mason jar. Give it a good shake so the lemon Dijon dressing is combined.
How to Assemble the Salad
Place all ingredients corn, roasted red onions, avocado and tomatoes in a large serving bowl.
Add dressing and toss well together. Then sprinkle cilantro leaves and mix again.
Season well with salt and black pepper.
How to Serve
Here are some Mexican inspired main dishes that will go well with Charred Corn Avocado Salad.
Who doesn’t love some cheese enchilada. These authentic Cheese Enchiladas are made with corn tortillas stuffed with a flavourful blend of Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese. If you’re in the mood for some fajitas, this sheet pan steak fajitas recipe might just be for you.
For those cooler months, a good Mexican lentil soup or Sopa de lentejas can easily be whipped up in the Instant Pot for a fuss free meal.
Frequently Asked Questions
I prefer to use fresh corn in this salad if possible as we are grilling the corn on the cob. However, if you don’t have access to fresh corn on the cob on the day, frozen corn on the cob or canned corn works well. You can lightly toast the corn kernels on the pan to add a little charred flavour.
Yes, you can easily prepare this salad earlier for dinner or even meal prep it.
If you are meal prepping for the week ahead, cut all ingredients and store separately if you can. Then, mix with salad dressing when you are ready to eat. For meal prep, I would refrain from cutting avocado until the time of consumption.
This salad is a great option for potluck gatherings. You can prepare ahead of time and transport to your destination fully dressed with lemon Dijon dressing as there are no green leaves that might get soggy. I feel the longer it sits in the dressing, the better it tastes.
Mixed salad can be stored overnight in a refrigerator in an airtight container.
Corn on the cob is sweeter because it is higher in sugars and lower in starch. Once picked, corn slowly turns into starch, muting the taste. Best to keep corn refrigerated in the husk until you cook it as the husk keeps the moisture in and slows down the conversion to starch.
There are over 50 different varieties of avocados, but the main two in Australia are Hass and Shepard. And the arguments of which one is better can definitely get heated!
Hass avocados are widely grown and are in season from late autumn to early summer. With a creamier and softer texture, it is considered more popular in cooking.
Whilst Shepard avocados are in season from late summer to autumn; they have a firmer texture and nuttier taste. They don’t change colour and stay green for longer – great in salads giving a more ‘al dente’ taste.
If you are looking for a new kind of avocado that doesn’t turn brown, check out Gem avocados that we’ve used in our Gem Avocado Salad with Watercress.
This Charred Corn Avocado Salad with Roasted Red Onion is an easy and healthy summer salad recipe made with avocado, corn, tomato, roasted red onion, cilantro and tangy lemon Dijon dressing.
More Budget Salad Recipes
Charred Corn Avocado Salad with Roasted Red Onions
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- Preheat oven to 200°C or 400°F.
- Slice the onions with skin on in half lengthwise, right through the root end. Place cut side down in an oven tray, drizzle with olive oil and season well with sea salt. Roast on a lower rack for 30 minutes until soft and brown.
- When ready, remove from oven and let it cool down. Then remove the skin so you can see the soft purple flesh of sweet onion. Slice approximately 1cm thick from top to root end. Separate the layers and put aside, ready for assembling.
- Whilst the red onions are roasting, you can grill the corn. Prepare the grill pan for medium-high heat. You can use the barbecue as well.
- Coat corn with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place corn on hot grill and cook for 15 minutes or until well charred. Turn the corn occasionally so all sides are cooked well. Once ready, remove from grill to cool down.
- Remove corn kernels from cob by using a sharp knife to cut close to the white of the cob. If possible, try to cut the kernels in chunks. Then, place cut kernels into a bowl, ready for assembling.
- Wash and cut grape tomatoes in half lengthwise.
- Peel and cut avocado into 2cm cubes.
- Wash and tear up cilantro (coriander) leaves.
- Add olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, and salt and pepper to taste in a mason jar. Give it a good shake so the lemon Dijon dressing is combined.
- Place all ingredients corn, roasted red onions, avocado and tomatoes in a large serving bowl.
- Add dressing and toss well together. Then sprinkle cilantro (coriander) leaves and mix again.
- Season well with salt and black pepper.
- Additional options: These ingredients would work well in this combination as well:
raw corn kernels
sliced raw red onion
cos lettuce leaves
leftover roast chicken
hard boil eggs
- Substitute cilantro for mint or basil leaves.
- In the salad dressing, maple syrup can be replaced with your preferred sweeteners like honey or rice malt syrup.
- For a lighter option, you can add olive oil and a good squeeze of lime juice, replacing the Dijon mustard dressing.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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