This spicy corn salad is topped with an amazing flavorful dressing, which makes it so different and delicious. That combined with black beans, creamy avocado, crisp tomatoes, sweet mango and herbs makes it so satisfying in many ways.
Spicy Corn Salad
There are a zillion corn salad recipes. Many that look alike. But this one is different. Scoop the salad with crunchy corn chips and it tastes fabulous!
It may look like the other corn salads but the dressing and other ingredients in it make it a flavor packed salad that you will make again and again. The dressing for this recipe is inspired by my moroccan eggplant salad.
Corn, Black Beans, Avocado, Tomatoes, Mango, Onion, Herbs, Jalapeño, Feta Cheese, Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Garlic, Honey, Spices
- Corn: I like it boiled, but you can bake or grill it. Use fresh if you can. Frozen would be okay too.
- Black Beans: This provides a nice contrast in texture, taste and appearance.
- Avocado: Choose firm and fresh avocados. Check out how to choose avocados.
- Tomatoes: I used Roma tomatoes, but cherry or grape would give a nice bite to the salad too.
- Mango: Sweet mango gives nice little surprises in the salad and pairs so well with the other flavors. But you can also try pineapple.
- Onion: Definitely use red onion. You can substitute it with shallots.
- Herbs: Cilantro works great with this salad. To complement that, use either fresh basil or mint.
- Jalapeño: Gives the perfect amount of pungency to balance the salty, sweet and sour tastes in this salad.
- Feta Cheese: This is really optional, but makes the salad very satisfying.
- Garlic: Don't skip this, it takes the salad up a notch.
- Spices: Ground cumin, ground coriander and paprika give this salad dressing an eastern Mediterranean flavor.
How to Cut Corn Without Making a Mess
Listen to Ina Garten! I got this trick from her.
Place a kitchen towel (paper towel works too) on a cutting board when you slice off the corn kernels with a sharp knife. That will make sure the kernels do not bounce all over the place. It’s a simple and effective technique.
Different Ways to Prepare Corn
Although I like to boil the corn for this salad, there are different ways to prepare corn for a variation.
Baking: Place corn with husks in the center rack and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.
Grilling: Coat the corn with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. Then grill corn at medium heat (400 degrees F) for about 7 to 8 minutes, turning it around occasionally, until lightly browned.
This salad is very balanced in its nutritive profile as it combines carbohydrate rich corn, protein rich beans, healthy fat containing avocados with phytochemical and vitamin rich tomatoes, mango and herbs. It is gluten free, egg free, nut free, soy free and vegetarian. Skip the feta cheese to make it vegan and dairy free.
Corn is a starchy vegetable with good fiber content. So, it would be important to include that in carbohydrate counting if you are a diabetic. It also provides potassium, selenium, iron, zinc and magnesium. And it contains antioxidants such as carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, that support eye health.
Black beans are rich in protein and fiber. As a source of some key minerals — phosphorus, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc etc., these beans support bone health. They are a source of antioxidant phytochemicals such as quercetin, kaempferol, anthocyanin and saponins. Other health benefits attributed to regular consumption of black beans are — lowering of blood pressure, cancer prevention, improved gut health, better management of diabetes and weight.
Avocados are loaded with heart healthy monounsaturated fats. And tomatoes are a rich source of antioxidant nutrients, lycopene and other phytochemicals. Mangoes are a delicious fruit, loaded with nutrients and health benefits. I have discussed more about it in this post on an amazing Mango Cake.
What to Serve it With
Make a meal out of this salad by serving it along with one of these options.
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Zaalouk (Moroccan Eggplant Dip)
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Preheat oven to 400˚F. Prick the eggplants with a fork in couple spots and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the skin turns darker and shrinks. Check foot notes for grilling, broiling or stove top options.
- The eggplants should be cooked through completely in the center. To check, press the back of a fork on the eggplant. It should compress easily all the way into the center without any resistance.
- Cut through the eggplant skin and scoop out the soft cooked flesh and mash it with a fork and set aside.
- Chop the tomatoes into small pieces, discarding some seeds if you wish. See note below for peeled and deseeded tomatoes.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saucepan at medium setting. Add the chopped tomatoes, minced garlic, paprika, cumin, cayenne or chili powder, ⅓ teaspoon salt and cook until tomatoes are softened, stirring in between, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Add the mashed eggplants and cilantro. Continue to cook over low heat for another 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, mashing it if needed, into a thick but slightly textured dip like consistency.
- Stir in lemon juice and salt. Adjust as per taste, let it cool and transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate it overnight before serving.
- Take the zaalouk from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving and let it come to room temperature. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Garnish with cilantro and red pepper flakes if you prefer.
- Chunky Zaalouk: To make a chunkier but less traditional zaalouk, insert garlic cloves into eggplant and roast it in the oven at 400˚F, along with the tomatoes. Chop the eggplants and tomatoes. Add the spices, herbs, half the olive oil, salt and mash it up to desired consistency. Drizzle olive oil and serve.
- Cooking Eggplants:
- Grill: Roast eggplants on charcoal or gas grill for 20 to 30 minutes, turning them slowly in between, until skin turns darker and shrinks.
- Broil: Cut eggplants lengthwise into halves and place the cut side down on a foil lined baking sheet. Place on the second rack and broil until skin turns darker and shrinks, about 20 minutes.
- Stovetop: Peel the eggplants completely, only some stripes or leave the skin on if you don’t mind it. Cut the eggplants into small pieces. Steam on high heat until soft or cook in a pan with some water until soft and mushy.
- Easy Zaalouk: Combine all ingredients with ⅓ cup of water and cook it over stove top until softened. Mash it up well and drizzle olive oil.
- Peeled and deseeded tomatoes: If you prefer, you can blanch the tomatoes. Cut a small cross on the surface of tomatoes and dump them in hot boiling water. After a minute, pick out the tomatoes and peel the skin, cut them into halves and deseed. Chop them into small pieces.
- Use more tomatoes if you want the dip to be saucy. You may even try using a little bit of tomato paste to give it thickness.
- Leftovers: Can be refrigerated for 4 to 5 days. You can freeze zaalouk for couple months. Thaw and reheat. Adjust the consistency, evaporating or adding water as needed. Check the seasoning as well.
- Nutrition facts not including any added salt.
- For other variations, tips and serving suggestions, scroll up the page to the blog post.
Spicy Corn Salad With Avocado
- 5 ears of corn shucked and cut off the cob
- 1 can black beans 15 oz can
- 1 avocado peeled, diced
- 2 roma tomatoes medium, diced, 1 cup
- 1 mango ripe, firm, diced or pineapple
- ½ cup chopped red onion
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or mint
- 1 jalapeño medium, ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped (omit if sensitive)
- ¼ cups feta cheese crumbled
- Tortilla chips or pita chips or pita chips, optional
- Take shucked corn in a large cooking pot and cover with water. Bring it to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes until it is not starchy.
- Drain the water and immerse in ice cold water. Once the corn is cool, slice the kernels off the cob using a sharp knife. For grilling or baking corn, see note below.
- In a large mixing bowl, take corn kernels, black beans, avocado, tomatoes, mango, red onions, cilantro, basil and jalapeño.
- Whisk the dressing ingredients and add it to the bowl and toss the salad. Crumble feta cheese on the top.
- Crush some pita or tortilla chips on the top or serve them on the side.
- Storage: Corn salad will last for a couple days in the refrigerator. Preferably add the avocado just before serving the salad. And store the dressing also separately and add it prior to serving.
- Frozen or Canned Corn: Frozen is better than canned, but you can use the latter too. Follow package instructions for preparing frozen corn.
- Baking: Place corn with husks in the center rack and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.
- Grilling: Coat the corn with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. Then grill corn at medium heat (400 degrees F) for about 7 to 8 minutes, turning it around occasionally, until lightly browned.
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