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Southwestern Corn Salad

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This make-ahead salad is delicious and mixes up quickly and easily.

This make-ahead salad is delicious and mixes up quickly and easily.

Made with black beans, tomatoes, peppers, onions and a lime dressing, Southwestern corn salad works as a salad, salsa or relish.

Looking for the perfect accompaniment to grilled or smoked meat, Southwestern dishes or Mexican food? This versatile corn salad is just the dish. Not only do the ingredients combine to create a fresh Southwestern flavor and slightly crunchy texture, the dressing pairs lime juice with a dash of cumin to give this salad that perfect tang and twang.

This tasty dish is also incredibly versatile. I sometimes serve it as a salad piled atop a bed of crisp lettuce, sometimes as a dip with tortilla chips, and sometimes as a relish atop a nice piece of smoked or grilled meat.

During warm weather, it goes wonderfully with smoked pork ribs, brisket, grilled shrimp or fish tacos (see the video below for a delicious grilled fish recipe). When colder weather hits, it's a tasty alternative to Mexican rice when served as a side dish with a big pan of enchiladas. Take it to your next potluck with a big bag of corn chips and watch the disappearing act as party-goers scoop it up as a dip. Another option is to throw in some corkscrew pasta and chunks of grilled chicken -- then you've got a delicious main dish for a make-ahead supper that you can pull out on a busy weeknight.

To recap: some of the uses of this tasty dish:

  • Side salad
  • Side dish
  • Chip dip for tortilla chips or Fritos
  • Relish atop grilled fish, chicken, beef or pork
  • A flavorful addition to any pasta salad or green salad
  • Chalupa or taco topper
  • Burrito or fajita filling
  • Mix-in for cooked white rice - makes instant Tex-Mex rice
  • Mix-in for eggs- makes a zesty breakfast scramble

Fresh corn or frozen?

I call for using frozen corn in this recipe, because I am always looking for quick, simple recipes I can throw together quickly. It is very quick and simple to thaw the corn -- and then it's recipe-ready.

Of course, fresh corn offers an upgrade in flavor. If you'd like to go with fresh corn, see the video (below) for instructions on removing corn kernels from the cob. Unlike frozen kernels, fresh kernels must first be cooked before using them in the salad. Place the cobs, husks and silks removed, into a pot of boiling water and allow to cook for two minutes. Remove cobs, allow to cool, then follow the video's instructions for removing the kernels. Another option is to grill your corn rather than boil it, to add a delicious smoky, charred flavor to this salad. This step adds more prep time, of course, but if you've got the time and love the taste of slightly charred, grilled corn, it might just be worth it!

Recipe Options

Southwest corn salad is an easy recipe to make your own. Try adding these ingedients to suit your own taste:

  • Two finely diced fresh jalepeno peppers
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • Two cups diced mangos, peaches, pineapple or watermelon -- or any combination of these fruits to equal two cups
  • Two cups diced grilled chicken breast, fish or shrimp
  • Three cups corkscrew pasta
  • Add more or fewer chopped cilantro leaves to suit your taste

Make this salad your own!

Add fruit such as the pineapple and peaches shown here -- fruity corn salad is especially delicious with chicken and fish.

Add fruit such as the pineapple and peaches shown here -- fruity corn salad is especially delicious with chicken and fish.


  • 1-lb. package frozen corn kernels
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans
  • 1 large bell pepper
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 dash salt
  • 1 dash pepper
  1. Thaw and drain frozen corn kernels.
  2. Rinse and drain black beans.
  3. Seed and dice bell pepper and tomato. Peel and dice onion.
  4. Remove cilantro leaves from stems. Chop leaves until you have about 1/2 to 1 cup of loosely packed chopped leaves.
  5. Combine the corn, beans and all the chopped and diced ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to mix evenly.
  6. For dressing, mix together lime juice, olive oil, minced garlic, cumin, salt and pepper in a small bowl or a shaker jar with a tight lid. Whisk or shake until ingredients are well blended.
  7. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss up from the bottom to coat evenly.
  8. You may serve immediately or let the salad marinate several hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Serve cold or at room temperature.

How to easily remove corn kernels from the cob.

There's no need to shy away from grilling fish. It's an easy and quick way to create a delicious dinner. This video explains everything you need to know. Serve with some Southwestern corn salad and grilled vegetables for an easy, impressive meal.

Serve corn salad as a side dish, relish, salsa or dip.

Corn salad makes an excellent side dish on a classic Tex-Mex platter.

Corn salad makes an excellent side dish on a classic Tex-Mex platter.

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Did you make Southwestern corn salad? If so, please let me know how you liked it!


SmartAndFun (author) from Texas on September 13, 2012:

I wish the grilled fish video was my own, it looks so good! The corn salad would go wonderfully with it, but go for the fish if you don;t like salad. Thanks for commenting!

SmartAndFun (author) from Texas on September 13, 2012:

Thanks Anamika for reading, commenting and pinning! I appreciate it! Let me know if you make it!

SmartAndFun (author) from Texas on September 13, 2012:

Thanks Rabia, I hope you do! It's so yummy!

SmartAndFun (author) from Texas on September 13, 2012:

Thanks Koshaugh! Let me know if you try it!

Anamika S Jain from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India on September 05, 2012:

I love Corn Salads. This combination looks yummy, would definitely try it. Pinned!

tigresosal on September 04, 2012:

I am not very fond of salads, but the grilled fish video you presented is awesome. The look of it itself makes me feel hungry.

rabia kamran from pakistan on September 03, 2012:

will definitely try it.....

Kara Monterey from Indianapolis on September 03, 2012:

Looks delicious! Thanks for sharing!

Brainy Bunny from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania on September 03, 2012:

Looks delish (except for the cumin — that always smells like sweaty gym socks to me!). I make a very similar dish using chili powder and Adobo for seasoning instead.

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