Mexican Corn Salad

No better way to usher in summer and salads and all things light and refreshing than to do it with this Mexican tomato and corn salad which is quite possibly the tastiest little veggie-salad-side dish to make it’s way to our summer spread.

A simple medley of sauteed corn, fresh tomatoes, cilantro and crumbled queso fresco cheese – this lovely side dish gets a heaping dose of refreshing help from a simple lime vinaigrette which takes the tomato and corn salad to a whole new level.

My once tomato-hating kids were grabbing at this salad right and left when I served it for dinner with burritos. I had to swallow my annoyance that years of dealing with pain and agony and gagging and vomitous noises over tomatoes-at-dinner were suddenly erased – all on the one night when I was trying to enjoy one of the most delicious (not to mention healthy!) side dish salads of the year. I don’t know what won them over – the zesty lime dressing or the cheese but they were gobbling this up right and left, tomatoes and all. Of course I had gone into dinner expecting that the majority of the salad would be mine (selfish, yes, I admit it) but my begrudging pride at their newfound love of tomatoes caused me to share. Of course, the next week when I doubled it, expecting the same response, they wouldn’t touch it. Fickle! Ah well, it definitely left more for me to enjoy all week.

A perfect accompaniment to nearly any grilled summer meal, I can’t wait to make this over and over (and hope that maybe my kids will fall in love with it again).

Mexican Corn Salad

One Year Ago: Smoked Turkey Club Panini
Two Years Ago: Oatmeal Coconut Chewies
Three Years Ago: Gingerbread White Chocolate Blondies

Mexican Tomato and Corn Salad

Yield: Makes 4 cups

Mexican Tomato and Corn Salad

Note: Queso fresco cheese is a widely available Mexican cheese usually found in most supermarkets by the other cheeses - it is usually in a round, thick disc. If you can't find it or don't like it, feta cheese would make a unique and delicious substitution.


    For the salad:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 2 cups halved grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup crumbled queso fresco cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt, pepper and sugar to taste
  • For the dressing:
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lime zest (zest the lime(s) before juicing)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (from about 3 garlic cloves)


  1. In a large skillet, heat the 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the corn and cook until soft (but not mushy), 3-5 minutes, stirring/tossing occasionally. Cool corn slightly and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the lime zest, lime juice, vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil and garlic in a small bowl.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, cheese, cilantro and corn. Toss the salad with the vinaigrette and season with salt, pepper and sugar to taste.

Recipe Source: adapted from Cuisine at Home, April 2012

38 Responses to Mexican Tomato and Corn Salad

  1. Bernadette says:

    I made this salad for my French in laws (in France) and they went completely bananas for it! I never liked cilantro until this salad.. now I could eat it for breakfast! Thank you for this AMAZING salad. (Which was first served to us at the Ronald McDonald house!)

  2. Nita says:

    This salad was really flavorful and delicious! It was a cinch to throw together and went great with your red chile enchiladas.

  3. Kate M says:

    I can’t remember if I have commented on this salad before. I make it all the time. I don’t usually put in cheese at all because I don’t always have it and some friends are lactose intolerant. My husband loves it as a dip for chips. My favorite way to eat it is a top of a bowl. I usually have fresh spinach, brown rice, shredded pork and top it with this salad. It is so simple and delicious. It is always a hit wherever I serve it. My kids (3,5,9) just eat it with a spoon.

  4. Pat says:

    I made this for my book club and they loved it! It was great as a salsa dip for chips!

  5. susan says:

    When you’re lazy sometimes a side dish of hot corn on the cob slathered in butter and salt is just enough. But if you can muster up the energy to chop a bit more and do a few extra steps, then this salad is oh-so-worth-it! I even botched the dressing a bit, because I was away from home and regular pantry items (vinegar!), and it was still good! It made the perfect picnic side to some BLT+A sandwiches.

  6. Stefani says:

    Is it best served cold, warm, or at room temp?

  7. Lercy says:

    I made this salad just this morning for a Potluck. It was so refreshing and I loved the way the lime zest came through. There was not a single kernel of corn left in the container. I am making another batch tomorrow just for my DH and me to enjoy this rainy weekend. Thank you for sharing. I am looking forward to trying some of your other recipes.

  8. Angela says:

    Delicious! We added black beans like another person mentioned above — worked great! Added a bit of heartiness and flavors went together well. The price of grape & cherry tomatoes was high, so just diced up some Roma tomatoes and it worked out well (though I’m sure it’s even better as written!). Thanks Mel!

  9. Mary Karlee says:

    First off, I loved this salad. But when I really loved it was a few days later when I used the left-overs as a pizza topping. I felt like I was at CPK trying out one of their exotic pizzas. I was nervous about the clash of flavors with my red marinara, but the whole things was so scrumptious. The cheeses blended nicely and I only managed to stop eating by hiding a slice in the fridge in case my husband got carried away and ate more than his share. πŸ™‚ Thanks!

  10. Kathryn says:

    Mel another question. Can I make this salad a few hours ahead of time??

  11. Kathryn says:

    Thanks Mel! Love your website!!

  12. Kathryn says:

    I need to serve 8. How many does recipe serve?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Kathryn – if you are serving this with other dishes as a side, it should easily serve 4-6. I’d probably double to feed 8.

  13. Julianne says:

    This is a great little salad. Very easy. I used frozen corn and lime juice from a bottle because I had no fresh lime. I didn’t see that I could’ve added sugar or salt, but it was wonderful without any added in. It has a mediterranean flavor to it, in my opinion…which is a great flavor to have.

    Thank you!

  14. JJ says:

    I ate this dish for 4 days straight! Plus my picky kid liked it too, BONUS! Thanks so much for this one. It was absolutly delicious!

  15. Kim in MD2 says:

    Made this for for today’s poolside party. Substituted red onion for the garlic. Perfect combo – thanks Mel! Don’t remember how I found your site, but I now visit frequently because your taste is similar to mine.

  16. Laura says:

    I LOVE lime juice on corn, so I bet I would love this too. It looks great, pinning it now…

  17. yum… a perfect homemade side to go with my steak tacos!!!!

  18. Debra Kapellakis says:

    πŸ˜‰ Little rascals! Looks great to me.

  19. Mel says:

    AnNa – no, the salad definitely won’t taste as fresh with canned corn. Sorry!

  20. AnNa says:

    I was wondering if it would taste the same if I substitute corn with caned corn?

  21. grace says:

    corn, queso fresco, and cilantro–the holy trinity (or one of ’em, at least…).

  22. denise says:

    This was a great, flavorful, easy summer salad. I added black beans and had it for lunch-filling and delish!

  23. Natalie says:

    Thanks for introducing me to a yummy new cheese. I just made this salad and I love it!

  24. mattie says:

    i made this for dinner last night with enchiladas. it was perfect! i didn’t have cilantro so i skipped that and it was still tasty, but i can imagine with the cilantro it would be outrageous. i didn’t add any sugar because i used fresh corn and it was pretty sweet on its own. so yummy!

  25. holly says:

    Mel this looks great!

    I just wanted to stop by and say thanks for your Favorite Recipes Section…I want to try some new recipes at our family reunion this week but don’t want to try anything risky. I know if it’s one of your favorite’s it will be a hit. My favorite so far is your to. die. for. chocolate pudding. Now if I could only convince the rest of the world of the virtues of homemade pudding.

  26. Janet says:

    Trader Joe’s has a frozen Roasted Corn that I bet would be great in this. Thanks so much for this yummy recipe.

  27. gigi says:

    I have been wanting to try queso fresco for some time now but was curious what other kind of cheese is it comprable to.

  28. This looks like it would hit the spot. Like a glorified corn on the cob, except you don’t have to worry about butter dribbling down your chin. I lived in Peru years ago, and they sell corn on the cob on the streets with awesome additions like the ones you have here. I love the queso fresco, that just perfects it. Nice!

  29. candice says:

    this sounds great! nice work.

  30. Mmm this sounds awesome! Great idea!

  31. Mel says:

    You could always try parsley, Martha, for a completely different flavor.

  32. Martha P. says:

    Any suggestions for substitution for cilantro – I must be the only human around who does not like this herb!!! Love all the rest – sounds great and we are about to have fresh corn and cherry tomatoes in our garden..whoohoo! Thanx for all your great recipes and your comments – both make me happy!

  33. Fantastic recipe – I can’t wait to try it! Thank you for sharing this recipe (and for letting all the other moms out there know they weren’t alone at the dinner table)! Have a great week!!

  34. Kim in MD says:

    Yum! I serve corn salad at every summer BBQ, and I love this Mexican twist! I had to laugh about your boys loving this one week and turning their noses up at it the next week, Mel! Kids! πŸ™‚

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