Bursting with the flavors of sweet corn, juicy tomatoes, and fragrant basil, this Fresh Corn and Tomato Salad recipe is a perfect combination of simplicity and taste. With a tangy dressing drizzled over the colorful ingredients, it's a delightful dish that will transport you to sunny days. Get ready to savor the freshness and flavor in this irresistible salad.
Preparing this corn and tomato salad is an absolute breeze, making it a go-to recipe for busy summer days or any time you're craving a taste of the season. Using a sharp knife and a cutting board, simply slice the corn kernels off the cob, sauté them with minced garlic until tender and golden, and then combine them with the vibrant basil and chopped tomatoes. The resulting medley of colors and textures is a feast for the eyes and the taste buds.
What makes this salad truly versatile is its adaptability to different seasons. While it's a quintessential summer delight with fresh corn straight from the cob and juicy tomatoes at their peak, you can enjoy it all year round by substituting canned or frozen corn. Whether it's a warm summer gathering or a cozy winter meal, this salad brings a burst of freshness to your table, reminding you of the sun-kissed flavors no matter the time of year. So go ahead and indulge in the vibrant combination of flavors, as this salad promises to be a delightful addition to any meal, any time of the year.
If you love side dish salads, also try this farmer's market tomato salad.
- Fresh Corn – Fresh corn on the cob is the star ingredient of a summer corn salad and I love getting mine at the local farmers market in the summer. But if it is not available, you can use frozen or canned corn kernels from your grocery store instead.
- Garlic – Garlic adds a delightful hint of savory flavor. Feel free to adjust the quantity according to your preference. You can substitute garlic powder or omit it if desired.
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil – EVOO is used for sautéing the corn and creating the salad dressing. If needed, you can substitute it with another type of cooking oil, such as vegetable or canola oil.
- Basil – Fresh basil brings a fragrant and herbaceous note to the salad. If basil is not accessible, you can substitute it with other fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro.
- Fresh Tomatoes – Tomatoes add a juicy and tangy element to balance the sweetness of the corn. You can use any variety of tomatoes, such as Roma, cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, or beefsteak, based on your preference and availability.
- Vinegar – Red wine vinegar adds a tangy acidity to the salad dressing. If you don't have red wine vinegar, you can substitute it with white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
- Salt and Freshly Black Ground Pepper – Seasoning enhances the flavors and balances the taste. Adjust the seasoning to suit your personal preference.
How to Make Corn Salad
- Slice the raw corn off the cob and saute it on medium heat with the garlic in a large skillet until tender and golden.
- Pour the corn and garlic into a large bowl and allow the corn to cool slightly before adding the basil and chopped tomatoes to the corn. Stir to combine.
- Whisk together the remaining olive oil and the balsamic vinegar in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over the salad and gently stir to combine.
- Refrigerate the salad for a few hours before serving.
Alternatives to Fresh Corn
Using frozen or canned corn in the corn and tomato salad is a convenient option when fresh corn is not readily available. Here are some tips to make it easier:
- Frozen Corn – If using frozen corn, it's best to thaw it before adding it to the salad. You can either thaw it in the refrigerator overnight or quickly thaw it by placing the desired amount in a microwave-safe bowl and microwaving it for a minute or two. Be sure to drain any excess liquid before adding it to the salad.
- Canned Corn – When using canned corn, drain and rinse it thoroughly to remove any excess salt or preservatives. This step helps maintain a fresh and crisp texture. You can also lightly pat the corn dry with a paper towel before incorporating it into the salad.
The recipe calls for 6 ears of fresh corn, which yields approximately 4 cups of corn kernels. If using frozen or canned corn, substitute an equal amount of corn kernels to maintain the same balance of flavors and textures.
How to Customize Corn and Tomato Salad
- Add Cheese – Crumble some feta cheese or goat cheese over the salad to add a creamy and tangy element. You can also experiment with other types of cheese like queso fresco or grated Parmesan.
- Add Veggies – Incorporate additional vegetables to amp up the freshness and crunch. Consider adding diced avocados, cucumbers, bell peppers, or red onion. These additions provide extra texture and a bursts of flavor.
- Swap the Herbs – Replace the basil with other fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley, or mint. Each herb will bring its own unique aroma and taste, allowing you to create different flavor profiles.
- Change the Dressing – Feel free to experiment with different oils and vinegars for the dressing. Swap out the extra virgin olive oil with avocado oil, grapeseed oil, or even a flavored oil like garlic-infused oil. Similarly, you can substitute the red wine vinegar with balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, or lemon juice for a tangy twist.
- Make It Spicy – If you enjoy a bit of heat, consider adding some chopped jalapeños, crushed red pepper flakes, or a dash of hot sauce to the salad. It will add a spicy kick that complements the sweetness of the corn and tomatoes.
- Choose corn that feels firm and has bright green husks.
- Husk the ears of corn just before preparing the salad to retain maximum freshness and flavor.
- When sautéing the corn, stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Allow the corn and garlic to cool slightly before adding the remaining ingredients.
- For the best flavor, choose ripe and juicy tomatoes. If possible, opt for vine-ripened or heirloom tomatoes, as they tend to have superior taste and texture.
- Adjust the proportions of oil and vinegar based on your preference for acidity.
- Cover the salad and refrigerate it for a few hours before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together and enhances the overall taste of the salad.
- Taste the salad before serving and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- Serving Suggestions: The corn and tomato salad can be served as a refreshing side dish or as a light main course. It pairs well with grilled meats, seafood, or even as a topping for tacos or quesadillas.
Storing Leftovers & Make Ahead Instructions
You want to make this tomato corn salad at least a few hours in advance to let the flavors come together. If making it further in advnace I recommend waiting to add the tomatoes until about an hour before serving. The tomatoes can make the salad watery.
Leftover salad can be covered and stored in the fridge for several days. Freezing this salad is not recommended.
This fresh corn and tomato salad can be served as a refreshing side dish or as a light main course. It pairs well with grilled meats, seafood, or even as a topping for tacos or quesadillas. Some of my favorite recipes to pair it with include:
- Oven Baked Chicken Legs
- One-Pan Mushroom Swiss Burgers
- Carne Asada Taco Bar
- Low Country Boil
- Roasted Chicken Breasts and Potatoes
Yes. While fresh corn is certainly delicious you can still prepare a flavorful salad with canned or frozen corn. Thaw and drain frozen corn and rinse and drain canned corn before using.
Adding cooked grains like quinoa, couscous, or legumes such as black beans or chickpeas can make the salad more substantial and filling. It adds extra texture and nutrients to the dish so you can serve it as a standalone meal.
If you like this sweet corn salad with juicy tomatoes recipe, please leave a 5-star rating.
Fresh Corn and Tomato Salad
- 6 ears of fresh corn on the cob, peeled and cleaned see note for using frozen or canned corn
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided (one tablespoon for the skillet, three for the salad’s dressing)
- ½ cup fresh basil julienned
- 2 cups tomatoes chopped
- 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- With a sharp knife, slice the corn kernels off of each cob.
- Warm 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add the corn kernels and garlic. Sauté until the corn is tender and the garlic begins to turn golden, about five minutes.
- Pour the corn and garlic into a serving bowl and allow the corn to cool slightly.
- Add the basil and chopped tomatoes to the corn, stir to combine.
- Whisk together the remaining olive oil and the balsamic vinegar; season with salt and pepper.
- Drizzle over the salad and gently stir to combine.
- Cover and refrigerate for a few hours before serving.
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