Grilled Corn Avocado Summer Salad Recipe
Ever been asked to bring a side to an outdoor summer event only to feel stumped, tired of the same ol’ boring macaroni salad, pasta salad, or coleslaw? And let’s face it, when you toss mayonnaise into the mix, you have a very small window to leave your dish out in the heat before it becomes susceptible to all kinds of funk—maybe one to two hours max! If you live in a hotter region, I would err on the side of caution and say no more than one hour and always keep your dish refrigerated until the very last second.
But would you believe it isn’t the mayonnaise alone that becomes questionable? According to some experts, you can actually consume mayonnaise solo that has been left out for an hour or more, although the texture and flavor may become compromised. I am not willing to test this out, but that’s what these experts suggest. I don’t know about you, but that also makes me wonder what they put in that stuff so it can withstand the sun beating down on it without growing bacteria? I don’t think I want to know…
Even though all those recipes are still fan favorites, I thought it was time to come up with a refreshing side that uses a whole host of refreshing flavors and packs a healthful punch.
What’s In This Grilled corn Avocado Summer Salad Recipe
When it comes to summer foods, I love—I mean, LOVE—grilled corn. Grilling corn before tossing it into a salad adds another layer of flavor that’s unmatched. So that was the base for my salad. You don’t even need to dress it up with butter, salt, or pepper, as the dressing will cover all these bases (more on that). There has been some debate on whether or not corn is actually good for you, and without spoiling it, I will allow Coach Tim to weigh in. 😉
Add to that some fresh avocado. Yes, I know—there is a very small window in which the avocado is actually ripe enough to consume, so look for one that is just about ripe so it doesn’t completely turn to mush in this salad but is able to hold its own shape. The health benefits of avocado are plentiful, such as:
- Heart Healthy. Due to the plant compound beta-sitosterol, avocados may help support healthy cholesterol levels. They’re also loaded with monounsaturated fats, which, according to the American Heart Association, may help reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol levels, especially when eaten in moderation and in place of saturated and trans fat.
- Healthy Eyes. Avocados also contain the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which help support eye health as we age. They may even help reduce the risk of macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss as we age.
- Growth and Development. Avocados contain around 3.5 grams of unsaturated fat per ounce (that’s about a fifth of an avocado). Studies have shown that unsaturated fat is important for proper growth and development of the central nervous system and the brain of youngsters.
- Blood Pressure. Because they’re sodium-free, avocados are DASH Diet-friendly. The DASH Diet is often the prescribed diet to help lower blood pressure. In addition, avocados provide potassium, which may also support healthy blood pressure. When avocados replace other fats (like butter and mayo), research suggests that’s also beneficial for blood pressure.
Next up, I like to spice things up with garlic, cilantro, chili flakes, and of course, salt and pepper, to taste.
Garlic is great for heart health, and a little goes a long way. It contains very few calories, fat, protein, or carbohydrates, and it gets its healthiness mainly from the enzymes and unique compounds that it contains. Some additional benefits include:
- Helps boost your body’s immune system
- Helps reduce high blood pressure
- Helps reduce cholesterol levels
- Can help with prevention of cancer
- Has antibiotic properties
- May prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
- Improved athletic performance
- Helps detox your body
Cilantro is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of food. I personally love it, but some have said it tastes like soap. It actually grows wild in my yard, so I include it in more things than I probably should.
While this herb looks an awful lot like parsley, I can assure you that all you need to do is take one whiff of this, and you will immediately recognize its distinct aroma. Not only is it a fabulous addition to guacamole, salsa, curries, and even noodle dishes, but it packs a pretty solid healthful punch, including, but not limited to:
- Helps the body release heavy metals
- Protects against oxidative stress
- May lower anxiety and improve sleep
- Lowers blood sugar levels
- Help protect against cardiovascular disease
- May help prevent urinary tract infections
- Settles digestive discomfort
- Protects against food poisoning
- Supports healthy menstrual function
- May prevent neurological inflammation
- May help protect against colon cancer
- Soothes skin irritations
It wouldn’t be a summer salad without some chili pepper flakes. I never met a hot pepper or a hot sauce I didn’t like. Okay, I take that back—the ghost pepper nearly took my breath away; in fact, it may have for a few seconds.
Red chili pepper flakes, though, are a staple in my diet. You can pretty much toss them into or onto anything, and they give it just the right amount of heat to kick things up a notch. Not only that, they are bursting with health benefits, including, but not limited to:
- Improves digestive health and metabolism
- Alleviates migraines
- May help reduce the risk of cancer
- Helps the body fight fungal infections, colds, and the flu
- May help ease joint pain
- Helps fight inflammation
- Supports cardiovascular health
- May help decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes
- May improve cognitive function
- May improve longevity
- Promotes red blood cells
- Supports eye health
- Aids hair and skin health
Tomatoes. Oh boy, could I go on for days about tomatoes! Because I’m Italian, they are a staple in my diet. Whether eaten raw, in a sauce/gravy, sundried, steamed, roasted, or grilled, I could eat them on a shoe, provided they are drizzled with an aged balsamic vinegar. There are many varieties, but when making a salad, I prefer to go with the tried and true cherry tomato. They are like nature’s candy. But are they a vegetable or a fruit? I think the debate has ended with these being a fruit (officially), although there will likely always be those who argue the other side.
The health benefits of tomatoes include, but are not limited to:
- Provides antioxidants
- Rich source of vitamins and minerals
- May protect heart health
- May improve vision
- May aid digestion
- May lower blood pressure
- May help better manage blood sugar
- May aid in skincare
- May help prevent gallstones
And what salad would be complete without a sprinkling (or crumbling) of cheese? While some may think cheese has not earned its place in a healthful diet, I believe everything in moderation can be included in any diet. I like a robust, flavorful cheese in this particular dish, as opposed to mozzarella, which would be a little too mild.
Feta is a great choice because it is very low in calories and fat, and it contains a high amount of B vitamins, phosphorus, and calcium. Additionally, it:
- Is a source of bone-friendly calcium
- Provides protein
- May support gut health
- Contains beneficial fatty acids
- May keep you fuller for longer
All that being said, check out my super simple summer salad recipe and let me know in the comments what ya’ll think!
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ½ tsp dried chili flakes
- 2 tbsp cilantro chopped
- 2 ears corn grilled
- 4 medium avocados sliced
- 7 oz cherry tomatoes halved
- 4 oz feta crumbled
- Make the dressing by mixing lime juice, dried chili flakes, olive oil, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and chopped coriander (cilantro).
- If you are using grilled corn—whether straight from the BBQ or cooked under the grill—let it cool down, and then use a knife to cut the kernels off the cob. Break it up a bit and put it in a bowl. If you are using canned corn, drain well first, and add to the bowl.
- Cut avocado in half and discard the pit. Slice it and then peel. Add the avocado to the bowl with the corn.
- Cut up tomatoes and add to the bowl. Top with the feta.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad and then mix. Take a taste test and adjust the seasoning if desired.
- Either serve immediately or keep in the fridge, covered, until needed.