Get ready to fall in love with this vegan Corn Salad with Jalapeño and Cilantro Dressing with cherry tomatoes, red onion and bell pepper. It will totally put you in the mood for easy summer evenings.

a side view of jalapeno cilantro dressing being poured over corn salad

Speaking of easy summer evenings, have you ever smelled a field of sweet corn?

Last summer, both girls were gone for the night, and Jase and I decided to drive down the valley to Bristol for dinner. It was a gorgeous evening. Mid-seventies. The crickets were humming. The sun had dipped behind the mountain for the day and the high clouds were pinked by the reflection of the sunset as we drove down the lush green valley. And as we drove by the fields of corn, we could smell the corn. I didn’t even realize what it was at first. Jase had to point it out. Sure enough, you could literally smell the sweet summer corn growing in the field, still hot from the sun.

I never knew you could smell corn like that.

a side view of corn salad before it is mixed together

I was thinking of that drive today when I was sitting down to write this post about this Mexican corn salad because I am reminded of my summertime self. The mellow version of myself that stops to smell the sweet corn.

Right now, I am not so much that easy breezy girl but more of a big ball of I don’t know what. Since April, I have been cranking out the freelance projects for EatingWell. Including:
The Ultimate Outdoor Garden Party Menu for Summer Entertaining
How to Make Mix and Match Kebabs for an Easy Dinner on the Grill
How to Make a Crudité Bouquet
How to Meal Prep a Week of Vegan Lunches
How to Make the Perfect Summer Cheese Board
Then for another client, Cabot Creamery, I developed this Mushroom Frittata, a new Ranch Dressing, a Chef’s Salad and a BLT Burger.

Plus, I had a trip to Florida, a trip to Boston, a trip to Philly and a trip to Iowa all within the span of seven weeks. And also in that time a loved one was diagnosed with cancer, had surgery and is now cancer-free, praise be! I had to step in as a coach for Girls on the Run. I was asked to join a board. Plus there was the whole studio project going on this whole time. Yeah, April, May. I don’t even really remember them. It was a blur.

a close up of corn salad with cilantro

So, that super chill girl who smells the corn, she hasn’t yet made her appearance around here yet. But I’ll get there. I promise. And summer starts this week! The kids are done school the day after tomorrow, and I am tidying up my editorial calendar so I can take a month off this summer. Summer Katie is coming!

Then I will be ready to put the windows down and enjoy.

But meantime, I am doing my best at enjoying the little moments, like hearing about the craziness of the last few days of third and fifth grade, watching the seedlings in my garden push up through the soil, and the easy success of this corn salad!

Let’s talk about that shall we? The heat kickin’ off the jalapeño is so dang delish you guys. I like it way better with a whole jalapeño in the dressing, but if you are timid about spice, just use a half of one. And the garlic and cilantro and the cheery acidity of the red wine vinegar- it’s greater than the sum of its parts.

corn salad from overhead

How to Make Mexican Corn Salad

  • Cumin Seeds: Start with toasted cumin seeds. This may seem like a strange idea, but it makes the dressing taste great because it is roasty and toasty and pungent- much more so than a spoonful of ground cumin would make it.
  • Add in some garlic: because it makes the world spin. Full stop.
  • Jalapeño for Heat: Then add some kick in the form of a jalapeño pepper. I just chopped the top off and then put it into the food processor with the blade running. (Same for the garlic.) The blade will chop it in mid air and the results will be a more evenly chopped pepper.
  • Cook the Corn: I boil the corn by pouring boiling water over it from the kettle. Then simmer it only until it is crisp tender. If you have really great fresh corn (a la corn fields described above) err on the side of under cooking the corn. If you have an Air Fryer, you can also make Air Fryer Corn on the Cob to cook it.
  • Use Frozen Corn: If you want you can certainly use frozen corn too. It’ll be even faster to make!
  • Add Contrast, Color and Flavor: add in bell pepper (I like the way orange looks), red onion, and cherry tomatoes.

Serving Tips For Mexican Corn Salad

  • Make Ahead Tips: If you want to make this corn salad ahead, layer all the ingredients into your bowl and keep the dressing separate. For best results, make the dressing just before using. And either way, I recommend that you do not add the dressing until you are ready to stir it together and serve. If it sits for a while, it will become watery. It will taste awesome still, but serve it with a slotted spoon.
  • Make it a Vegetarian (or Vegan) Meal: These Black Bean Enchiladas have a vegan option too! 

More Vegan Summer Side Salads To Try

Vegan Potato Salad- You’ll never miss the mayo!

Vegan Mexican Bean Salad- Colorful and super tasty! 

Vegan Sesame Coleslaw- Goes with so many menus!

Thanks for reading. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! 

Happy Cooking!


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Get read to fall in love with this vegan Corn Salad with Jalapeno and Cilantro Dressing with cherry tomatoes, red onion and bell pepper. It will totally put you in the mood for easy summer evenings. #vegan #cornsalad #corn #sidedish #summer #easy #picnic #barbecue #20minuterecipe

Mexican Corn Salad

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x


Get read to fall in love with this Mexican Corn Salad with Jalapeno and Cilantro Dressing with cherry tomatoes, red onion and bell pepper. It will totally put you in the mood for easy summer evenings.


  • 8 ears corn, shucked
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • ½ to 1 jalapeño, stem removed
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 orange bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup finely diced red onion


  1. Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Set a bowl of ice water next to stove.
  2. Place corn in a large skillet. Pour boiling water over the corn, cover, set over high heat and simmer until just crisp tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove the ears of corn from the boiling water and transfer to the ice bath.
  3. Drain corn well. Pat corn dry with a clean towel, and remove kernels from the corn with a sharp knife.
  4. Meanwhile, place cumin in a small skillet and set over medium heat. Toast cumin, swirling pan until fragrant, and the seeds crackle and start to smoke a little but, but not burn, 1 to 2 minutes. Immediately transfer the cumin to a food processor fitted with a steel blade attachment.
  5. Turn food processor on, drop garlic and jalapeno through the feed tube and allow to process until chopped. Remove lid, add cilantro, vinegar and salt. Process until chopped. Scrape sides and turn motor on again. Drizzle in oil and continue processing until the mixture forms a green paste.
  6. Toss the corn, cilantro dressing, bell pepper, cherry tomatoes and red onion in a large bowl.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: Mexican


  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 222
  • Fat: 15
  • Carbohydrates: 20
  • Fiber: 2
  • Protein: 3

Keywords: mexican corn salad,vegan corn salad,