Charred Corn and Avocado Salad with Lime, Chili, and Tomato

June 14, 2012
7 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 4 as a side dish, more as a topping or garnish
Author Notes

This is a simple and delicious summertime salad to have up your sleeve. When creating it, I intended to grill the avocado, corn, poblano, and red onion but then turned to my broiler instead. Broiling is a much underappreciated method of cooking in my opinion, and it works beautifully for this salad. Using the broiler versus the grill enables you to easily char the corn off the cob and the avocado, poblano and red onion in small pieces, resulting in more surface area to pick up that delicious charred flavor. It’s also incredibly easy -- all you have to do is preheat your broiler and assemble your ingredients on a sheet pan, with the avocado needing the least amount of time under the broiler. (If grilling, I'd recommend charring the corn on the cob and the red onion, poblano, and avocado in large pieces, then cutting them to size off the grill.) Once they’re done, all you have to do is toss them with halved cherry tomatoes, fresh mint and basil, and lime vinaigrette. You’re left with an incredibly versatile salad that could be served alongside grilled meat or fish, tossed with shrimp or crab, or spooned over tostadas, tacos, or quesadillas. —EmilyC

Test Kitchen Notes

EmilyC’s salad is a statement of summer in a bowl – the corn stays crisp but has a nice smoked char (I never thought to listen for the popping noise before – it gave me perfect corn) likewise the onion and pepper. I loved the char on the avocado as well, a new trick for my arsenal! I used the grill (too hot here for the oven and my broiler doesn’t work anyway) and made quick work of the prep – the salad comes together in a snap once the grilling is done – and is an excellent balance of crispy sweet and creamy nutty. Turning to basil and mint rather than cilantro was so smart, they are the perfect herbal compliment. I added just a bit more lime and a bit more cayenne than called for, but that is a matter of personal taste. We had this as a side for 4 (it’s excellent with grilled chicken thighs) and I had some to share with the neighbors as well. Everyone agrees and a double thumbs UP! —aargersi

What You'll Need
  • 5 ears of corn
  • 1 poblano pepper, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 pinches kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large or 2 small avocado, cut into small dice
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne or Aleppo pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 handful fresh basil and mint leaves, roughly torn
  1. Preheat your broiler to medium-high and place your oven rack about 4" to 6" from your heating element.
  2. Shuck your corn and remove the silks. Cut the kernels from the cob using your favorite technique and set them aside in a bowl. Add the diced poblano and sliced red onion. Toss with a teaspoon or two of olive oil to evenly coat, and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a sheet pan (you can line with foil for easy cleanup) or large skillet and spread out in an even layer. (Use something that's nice and sturdy -- flimsy pans may warp or buckle under the heating element.)
  3. Broil the corn, poblano and red onion for 3 to 5 minutes, shaking the pan a few times, or until charred in spots. You're looking for some noticeable char, but be mindful to not overcook. Remove the pan, add the avocado, and broil for a minute or two longer. (If you don't like your avocado warmed, just skip this step and add it at the end.) In the process of broiling, you may hear or see a few corn kernels starting to jump around on the hot pan -- a good indication that they’re done. Remove sheet pan from oven.
  4. To make lime vinaigrette: whisk together lime juice, honey, and cayenne, and then slowly drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil, whisking until emulsified. Season to taste.
  5. Transfer contents to a serving bowl, add cherry tomatoes, mint and basil, and drizzle in the lime vinaigrette, a few teaspoons at a time. You may not need the full amount. Toss and taste for seasoning. Serve with lime wedges.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Elizabeth Traverso
    Elizabeth Traverso
  • Amy Crichton
    Amy Crichton
  • Becca Ann Entenberg
    Becca Ann Entenberg
  • JanetFL
  • Annie

Recipe by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.

56 Reviews

Elizabeth T. July 6, 2023
I have made this recipes so many times and it is always a winner. People always want the recipe. I made it again last night for a big party and realized I forgot to get poblano's. I didn't have time to run to the store so I used 3 tins of diced green chilies and it was great. I always grill the corn on the bbq as well as the poblanos....better flavor. The red onions, I dice and place on a baking sheet and get them nice and golden, just caramelized so the sweetness comes through. I always finish the dish with Maldon sea salt
Dccancook October 12, 2021
I made this but I added grilled romain lettuce to it. It was a hit!
Kaitlyn W. July 10, 2019
Made this tonight with copycat chipotle chicken and put it on top of spinach for a salad. I swapped the poblano pepper for a regular red and used frozen corn because that’s what I had on hand. It was so delicious. Will definitely make this again:)
Chris G. June 17, 2018
When I was "much younger" my family used to make a dish quite similar to this, except on the stove top in a cast iron pan, sauteed, and served hot as a side dish. It was a bit simpler, corn, fresh, or frozen or canned, diced: onions, green pepper and bacon and cooked until everything was nicely browned! The only drawback to our version was that the corn released some of it' liquid, and there was a crust in the cast iron pan to remove! I have not yet tried your version, but am excited to do so, and will be adding bacon Thanks for sharing!
Amy C. August 29, 2016
I can't stop making this. I have made it roughly 5 times since discovering it around fourth of July. If you can get heirloom tomatoes and dice them instead of cherry tomatoes it makes this that much more summery and delicious. I have used this as a side for steak, crab cakes and put it on kale for a refreshing summer salad - all of which I recommend.
Deborah August 19, 2014
Whoops - just saw Bebewatson's question and Emily C's answer!
Deborah August 19, 2014
Is this meant to be served warm? I hope not as I'm going to do the prep work now and put the broiled/grilled ingredients together in a couple of hours.
Bebewatson August 3, 2014
This sounds delicious - can it be made ahead?
EmilyC August 3, 2014
Yes, I often make it several hours in advance and leave it at room temperature. I like adding the avocado close to serving. Hope you enjoy it!
Jim July 28, 2014
Made this over the weekend and everyone loved it. It's going onto my summer rotation now. YUM!!!
EmilyC July 28, 2014
So glad you enjoyed it and plan to make it again!
Becca A. July 15, 2014
This was delicious! A sprinkle of feta made it all the better.
EmilyC July 16, 2014
JanetFL June 12, 2014
Emily, I will be making your recipe this summer and one of your notes brought a question to mind. I cannot tell you how many brands of sheet pans I have tried - they all buckle. Can you tell me what you're using?
EmilyC June 13, 2014
My sheet pan is from Williams-Sonoma I believe, and it was labeled as restaurant quality. I got it at the outlet years ago and it's held up well. You'll enjoy this recipe every bit as much or more if you grill it outside. Hope you enjoy it!
JanetFL June 13, 2014
Thanks for the input, Emily - I will take a look at Williams Sonoma online. I think that may be the one source I haven't yet tried!
Miles January 2, 2014
Has anyone tried this with frozen corn? I have a lot of frozen sweet corn kernals from the summer and would love to use them in this. Thanks!
EmilyC January 2, 2014
Hi Miles, I haven't tried frozen corn but I'd say go for it! I'd thaw it first. It may not get as charred as fresh corn under the broiler, but it'll still be good I think. Let me know if you try it.
Cam August 27, 2013
This salad was delicious on a warm summer evening. I added wheat berries to make it more filling and the nuttiness of the berries was a welcome addition. Did not broil the avocado. Will make this again and again.
EmilyC August 28, 2013
So happy to hear this -- thanks for your note!
Annie August 2, 2013
this is such a simple and delicious way of highlighting fresh summer corn! although I ended up broiling the avocado too long and it turned out very bitter (which apparently happens when you overheat an avocado, who knew??)
EmilyC August 4, 2013
Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for your note about the avocado (didn't know that either)!
Auntie L. July 6, 2013
Absolutely love this! Have made it several times - not always including all the ingredients! So fast and easy, can serve in the same pan you used to cook it in too...
EmilyC July 7, 2013
So happy you're enjoying the salad! Thanks for your note!
ds14248 July 3, 2013
What would be the best way to cook this is you are don't have a grill or an over with a broiler? I realize you will lose the delicious charred flavor, but I would still like to give it a shot.
ds14248 July 3, 2013
That should have read "What would be the best way to cook this if you don't have a grill or an oven with a broiler?". Oops!
EmilyC July 3, 2013
I'd recommend roasting the corn, pepper and onion at a high temperature (400 degrees) for about 15 to 20 minutes -- should work really well. You could also char the corn and vegetables in a cast-iron skillet, but you'd have to do several batches. Hope you enjoy the salad!
healthierkitchen June 17, 2013
I'm eagerly awaiting corn season!
EmilyC June 18, 2013
Me too!
aargersi May 15, 2013
You posted this on my birthday last year and it is on the menu for my party this year! yay!
EmilyC May 15, 2013
I think it's awesome that you're thinking ahead to your b'day party menu! And I'm happy that this made the cut! : )
healthierkitchen May 28, 2013
that's my birthday too!!
aargersi May 28, 2013
Yay Flag Day babies!!!
EmilyC June 13, 2013
Happy b'day a day early to both of you! Abbie, you'll have to share your final menu!
aargersi June 13, 2013
Pickled shimp / garden tomato and snack tray
This salad
my squash salad with mustard mint aioli
Bill Miller BBQ cole slaw (their slaw is the BEST!)
grilled lamb chops
finger lakes finger lickin' chicken
grilled naan
chimichurri / pesto / tzatziki
coconut tres leches
a chocolate cake (not sure which yet)
a peach gallette

LOADS of wine. :-)
EmilyC June 13, 2013
Wow, that's a seriously amazing menu! Thanks for sharing it. It's making me realize that June birthdays totally beat November ones! Enjoy your day! : )
student E. August 5, 2012
delicious! tastes like summer in a bowl!
EmilyC August 5, 2012
Thanks student epicure -- glad you like it!
RobinDiane July 16, 2012
I've made this twice now and everybody loves it. Two little tweaks 1) first time didn't have poblano so I used red pepper and liked that, so next time as well as the poblano made it with half a red peeper as well. The other tweak was cumin in the dressing. Awesome recipe, Thanks
EmilyC July 16, 2012
This is so nice to hear, RobinDiane! Glad you're enjoying the dish -- thanks for letting me know!