Roasted summer sweet corn and ripe, juicy tomatoes join forces with fresh mozzarella and creamy avocado to make this Tomato, Mozzarella and Grilled Corn Salad one of my all-time favorite BBQ side dishes. It's the perfect summer salad recipe to go with anything grilled!
Now that the warm weather has officially arrived, my thoughts immediately turn to easy meals, mainly comprised of grilled foods and salads. (No turning on the oven if it’s not absolutely necessary!)
But not every salad has to be a traditional greens and dressing option. Take this Tomato, Mozzarella and Grilled Corn Salad recipe, for example.
This grilled corn salad recipe is hands down one of my favorite summer side dishes. Perfect for anything of the BBQ - and not a leafy green in sight.
Why this recipe works
- No need to turn on the oven and heat up the house to make a fresh, seasonal side dish that everyone loves. (Seriously. People love this stuff. You may want to double the recipe.)
- If you're a cilantro fan, you're going to adore the cilantro lime salad dressing. Bright and tangy, it's the perfect complement to the milky mozzarella, creamy avocado and the juicy tomatoes.
- Short on time? You can make this corn avocado salad a few hours in advance. The lime juice in the dressing keeps the avocado from getting brown. Serve it chilled or at room temperature.
Summer flavors don't get much fresher than the ingredients in this salad:
This salad can be broken down into three parts: make the dressing, grill the corn and assemble the salad.
Make the dressing: Add salad dressing ingredients to a blender and process until smooth.
How to grill corn: Remove the husks and silks from corn, brush with olive oil and grill over medium heat. Turn frequently until evenly roasted. Slice cooled corn from cobs.
Assemble: Place tomatoes, corn, avocado and mozzarella in a large bowl. Drizzle with ⅔ of dressing and stir to coat. Add additional dressing, if desired.
Tip: No time to roast corn on the grill? Try this “grilled” corn hack. Simply add defrosted corn to a skillet with a little bit of oil. Cook over medium heat until the corn kernels are roasted, stirring frequently. (If you cook the corn at too high of heat, they kernels will literally pop out of the pan!)
How to cut corn off the cob
Cutting corn off the cob can be a messy affair. The corn kernels fly everywhere and you end up spending a bunch of time trying to corral all the bits of corn.
My favorite method for taking corn off the cob couldn’t be simpler:
- Grab two bowls; one larger and shallow than deep and another smaller bowl about the size of a ramekin.
- Turn the ramekin upside down and place it in the center of the larger bowl.
- Set one end of your ear of corn on the ramekin (the flattest side is preferable).
- Use a sharp knife to cut down along entire length of the cob. Rotate the cob and continue cutting until all the corn kernels have been removed.
- The kernels will (mostly) gather in the bowl rather than fly all over the countertop.
It's tasty with anything you put on the grill - chicken, beef, fish or pork. Leftovers are great for lunch, too.
I prefer fresh mozzarella because of its silky, soft texture. It pairs nicely with the creamy avocado and juicy tomatoes.
You can also omit the cheese entirely if you want to make a vegan side dish. Simply add a little extra corn, tomatoes and avocado to make up for the cheese in this recipe.
I often make the salad dressing a day or two ahead of time and store it in the fridge. You can also grill the corn a few days ahead of time, too. Slice it off the cob and keep it refrigerated until ready to assemble the salad.
Once the salad is fully assembled and dressed, it will keep for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
It's up to you! I've served it both cold and at room temperature. I prefer it at room temperature because the tomatoes taste their most vibrant then, but either option is solid.
Expert tips for making this grilled corn salad
- Go ahead and make the dressing and grill the corn a few days ahead of time. Both will keep in the fridge. All that's left to before serving is chop the tomatoes, mozzarella and avocado before stirring everything together.
- No time to grill corn? Buy a bag of frozen roasted corn at the grocery store instead. Simply cook according to package directions and stir into the salad.
- Choose avocados that are ripe but still slightly firm. They hold up best in this salad.
- You can use any sort of garden tomato instead of cherry tomatoes if you prefer. If using a garden tomato, remove most of the juicy seeds or else your salad will be runny from all the excess tomato juices. Never seeded a tomato before? Cut the tomato in half and use a teaspoon to scoop out the seeds.
More BBQ side dishes
You can find more side dish recipes in our archives.
Did you make this recipe? We'd love to hear your thoughts!
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Tomato, Mozzarella and Grilled Corn Salad
- 1 ½ cups packed fresh cilantro
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Kosher salt
- 5 teaspoons olive oil
- 5 large ears of corn, silks and husks removed
- 1 ½ pounds of grape or cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered (depending on size)
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella, diced
- 2 large avocados, diced
- Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until dressing is smooth. Add salt (up to 2 teaspoons) to taste and pulse until combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Preheat grill to medium heat. Coat corn with olive oil and grill to desired degree of doneness. Allow corn to cool and cut kernels from cobs.
- Combine corn, tomatoes, mozzarella and avocado in a large bowl. Drizzle with enough dressing to coat (you may have extra) and gently stir to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 8 hours.
- Leftovers will keep for up to a day. After that, the salad flavors are not the same.
- I prefer to serve my salad at room temperature, but it's just as good when chilled.
- Short on time? Make the salad dressing and grill the corn up to two days before serving. Really, really short on time? Grab a bag of frozen roasted corn at the grocery store to use instead of the grilled corn.
- You can use any type of tomato you want (grape, cherry, beefsteak, etc). Just make sure you remove most of the seeds from larger tomatoes before adding to the salad. If you don't, your salad may be runny from the excess tomato juices.
Nutrition info not guaranteed to be accurate.