Charred corn avocado salad loaded with crumbled cotija cheese and lots of pickled onions! All on top of a bed of crisp romaine lettuce drizzled with honey, lime and cilantro dressing. This salad is sweet, tangy, buttery, and so delicious!

corn avocado salad topped with pickled onions romaine and cotija cheese

You’ve never tasted anything like this!

Charred corn avocado salad on a bed of romaine lettuce with the most delicious honey lime dressing and lots of pickled onions to balance the sweetness of the corn. It’s just a handful of ingredients but you won’t believe the impact that they have. Each one of them aids in making a firecracker of flavor in every bite.

This grilled corn salad is completely vegetarian-friendly but a batch of grilled chicken, carne asada, or some black beans would work beautifully with this. The acid from the lime juice and pickled onions will pair beautifully with buttery grilled steak.

charred corn on romaine lettuce with avocados pickled onions and cotija cheese

Ingredients for avocado corn salad:

  • Fresh corn: I like to buy fresh corn, remove the husk and just grill it on an outdoor or indoor grill until the corn kernels char then I just remove the corn from the cob. In a pinch, you could also use frozen corn. Many grocery stores now sell fire-roasted corn in the frozen aisle – that would work beautifully in this recipe. Just be sure to defrost and drain the corn before adding it to the salad.
  • Pickled onions: I almost always have a batch of pickled onions in the refrigerator and they add so much flavor to this recipe. You could also use sliced red onions if you’d like but pickled red onions give this the best flavor.
  • Romaine Lettuce: I like the crisp clean flavor that lettuce adds to this recipe, feel free to swap the romaine for kale, shredded cabbage, or even brussels sprouts.
  • Avocados: Avocados balance the acid and the sweet elements in this salad. Make sure to find a nice perfectly ripe avocado so it’s easy to slice.
  • Cotija Cheese: Crumbled cotija cheese adds just the right flavor. In a pinch, you can swap it for parmesan cheese if you don’t have cotija on hand.
  • Oil: Use olive oil or avocado oil for this recipe. You basically want a light oil so that you aren’t tasting it in the dressing.
  • Lime juice: Fresh lime juice adds lots of needed zing!
  • Serrano Pepper: I serrano pepper with the ribs and seeds removed adds lots of heat to the salad. 
  • Honey: Tames the heat from the serrano making it an enjoyable level of spice.
  • Cilantro: The perfect herb to add an earthy flavor to the salad dressing and it works really well with corn and avocado. 
pickled onions in a jar
charred corn on white marble

How to make a corn avocado salad:

  1. Grill the corn. Peel and clean the corn removing the husk. Preheat an indoor or outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Grill the corn charring it lightly on all sides for roughly 6-10 minutes or until it’s blistered to your liking. Remove the cooked corn to a cutting board and allow it to cool. When the corn is cool enough to handle, use a sharp knife to carefully slice off the corn kernels. Sometimes it’s easier if you use a large bowl and cut the corn in the bowl, that way it doesn’t go flying all over the counter!
  2. Shake the dressing. Add the oil, lime juice, honey, serrano, cilantro, and salt and pepper to a mason jar, and shake to combine. The dressing will naturally separate after a bit, and you can simply stir it again before dressing the salad.
  3. Dress the salad. Add the lettuce, shaved corn, and pickled onions to a large bowl or a serving dish. Toss with 3/4 of the dressing, taste, and add more dressing as you’d like. Top with avocados, and crumbled cotija cheese. This is the perfect side dish to serve with grilled meats but you can also make it a complete meal by dicing and adding in your choice of protein or beans! I won’t lie, there are plenty of times when I’ll use it as a dip and scoop it up with tortilla chips! So good that way!
honey lime dressing stirring in glass cup

FAQs about this recipe:

  1. How do you suggest storing leftovers? I suggest making only the amount of salad that you can finish in one sitting. Due to the acidic nature of this recipe, a leftover dressed salad won’t hold up too well. The ingredients for the salad can be kept in an airtight container and the salad dressing should be stored separately in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. What are your suggestions for adding a crunchy element to this salad? I suggest crushed-up tortilla chips! I love using the stuff at the bottom of a bag to top my salads with or most of the time I use them to make my favorite breakfast tacos.
  3. What kind of protein can I add to this? You could use the meat from a shredded rotisserie chicken, cilantro lime grilled shrimp, leftover grilled chicken fajita or steak fajita, carne asada, chicken carnitas, mojo steak, garlic butter salmon, and so much more! For my vegetarian friends, try black beans they’ll add plenty of protein and fiber!

You might also like these other summer salad recipes:

corn avocado salad in bowl with fork
Yield: Serves 3

Charred Corn Avocado Salad with Pickled Onions

Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Charred corn avocado salad loaded with crumbled cotija cheese and lots of pickled onions! All on top of a bed of crisp romaine lettuce drizzled with honey-lime & cilantro dressing. This salad is sweet, tangy, buttery, and so delicious!

Charred Corn Avocado Salad with Pickled Onions

Ingredients

  • 3 ears of corn, husked
  • ⅓ cup prepared pickled onions
  • 6 cups chopped romaine (or use shaved Brussels, cabbage, kale)
  • 1 large avocados, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons crumbled cotija cheese

honey lime dressing:

  • 6 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 serrano pepper, deseeded and minced
  • 1-2 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Instructions

    1. CORN: Peel and clean the corn. Preheat an indoor or outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Clean the grill grates then grill the corn for 6-10 minutes or until lightly blistered and charred on all sides. Remove to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle shave the corn off the cob and set it aside.
    2. DRESSING: Toss the oil, lime juice, honey, chopped serrano, cilantro, and salt and pepper in a mason jar.
    3. SALAD: Add the lettuce, shaved corn, and pickled onions to a large dish. Toss with ¾ of the dressing, taste, and add more as desired. Serve with sliced avocados on top and crumbled Cotija cheese.

Notes

  • Protein: Feel free to add diced chicken, steak, shrimp, or salmon to your bowl! Black beans would be great as an addition on it's own or with the previously mentioned proteins!

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