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Avocado and Charred Corn Salad with Cilantro Ranch Dressing – A refreshing and filling salad, made with leafy greens, diced avocado, charred corn, pickled red onions, diced cucumbers, shredded Monterrey Jack cheese, and chopped cilantro, tossed with a homemade cilantro ranch dressing.
I grew up eating very basic foods, and never strayed from that. I’m talking mac and cheese, sandwiches, spaghetti – you know, the children’s menu basics. But as I grew, I slowly opened myself to new foods and found that the foods that I wasn’t fond of as a child (especially those from my heritage) were some of my favorites as an adult.
And thank goodness I did or else this blog would have been all about chicken fingers and hot dogs!
Today’s recipe would never have been a regular in my diet 15 years ago, but now it’s my one of my favorite salads in the whole wide world. This Avocado and Charred Corn Salad with Cilantro Ranch Dressing salad contains so many things that I avoided as a child but am so in love with today: onions, cucumbers, lettuce, and, the star of the show, Avocados From Mexico.
Living in a Hispanic household, Avocados From Mexico were always a staple in our home. My mom loved to eat them straight from the skin with nothing but a sprinkle of salt and a spoon.
I, on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with them. They were green so that meant they weren’t getting anywhere near my mouth.
Green food was definitely on my “do not eat” list, along with spicy food, most seafood, and anything crazy (I’m looking at you, blue cheese). It seemed like my love of typical Colombian food started and stopped at arroz con pollo. I didn’t even like flan! I ate whatever I wanted and what I wanted was simple, kid food (helloooo grilled cheese). And no one challenged me on that.
But something happened in college that turned my taste buds inside out. It seemed like, overnight, my distaste for certain foods – mushrooms, seafood, peanuts, buffalo wings – changed completely. The foods I hated were becoming the foods I loved! I credit my eccentric group of friends for this and their fondness of all kinds of foods. We’d eat out at every kind of restaurant: sushi, Caribbean, Indian, you name it!
One night, while at a local Tex-Mex restaurant, I tried a bite of my friend’s guacamole and my world turned upside-down. This is what avocado tastes like?! So rich, yet refreshing and full of texture. Yummm. I was immediately turned into an avocado-lover and have been ever since.
Avocados From Mexico are a staple in our house now and I’ve even gotten my husband to give it a try, too! The game-changer for him was this roasted corn guacamole that we make in the summertime. Can you believe we now order guacamole at Tex-Mex restaurants instead of getting our typical queso?! I never thought I’d see the day!
And now, we have expanded our avocado dishes to included this robust summer salad. Although the always fresh, always delicious Avocados From Mexico can be enjoyed all year-long, corn is at it’s peak in the late spring and summer so that’s when I prefer to make this salad. Plus, those are the best times to pull out your grill and get these babies charred, am I right?!
I first tried a version of this salad at a local spot here in Atlanta. I wasn’t in the mood for a big meal so I order their salad. When I took my first bite of the salad, I went into complete shock. I had never tried a salad this flavorful and full of so many textures! And what’s even more shocking was how full it left me afterwards without eating a single ounce of meat. That’s all thanks to the hearty and nutritious Avocados From Mexico and veggies.
Speaking of veggies, let’s break down the rest of the contents of this salad. You have your salad basics:
- Hearts of romaine
- Shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
- English cucumbers – I love English cucumbers better than regular cucumbers because their skin is less waxy so you don’t need to peel them before using.
And then you have some new salad players:
- Pickled onions – This is the most surprising ingredient in this salad. I am not a huge fan of red onions because their bite is so sharp and spicy that it overpowers the other flavors. But when you pickle them, they become sweet and vinegary, which are both flavor profiles I can get on board with. Trust me – you do not want to make this salad without them.
- Charred corn – The charred corn is important because the smokiness from the charred pieces adds another depth to the salad. Plus, now you have another reason to be outside in the amazing weather grilling up a storm. Win-win.
- Cilantro ranch dressing – If you’re a long-time reader of this blog, you’re not surprised by my use of cilantro, yet again. But when it comes to Southwestern ingredients like corn and Avocados From Mexico, you just cannot pair a better salad dressing than one that has cilantro and lime.
This recipe makes about 2 cups of dressing, but you’ll only need about 1/2 – 3/4 cup for this salad. But I’m sure you won’t have trouble finding other uses for this dressing so you can store it in the fridge for another time. It stays good for about a week.
Alright guys, there you have it – my favorite salad ever! And I know you’re gonna love it too.
I hope my story from avocado-avoider to avocado-lover inspired you to try foods that you have been a little hesitant about. They may end up surprising you, too! What foods have you recently tried that changed your mind? Let me know in the comments below!
Avocados From Mexico are the best way to elevate your go-to meals this spring and summer. How do you plan to incorporate them?? If you need some inspiration for new recipes, check out the Vida Aguacate site for a collection of recipes that will help you get started. And while you’re there, sign up for the club to get recipes and info sent straight to your email!
Before you get cooking on this recipe, make sure you sign up below for the sweepstakes from Avocados From Mexico, where you can win gift card and other cool prizes. More info on the sweepstakes can be found here.
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AVOCADO AND CHARRED CORN SALAD WITH CILANTRO LIME DRESSING
For the salad:
- 2 ears corn
- 8 cups hearts of romaine (about 2 bags)
- 2 Avocados From Mexico diced
- 1 1/3 cups Monterrey Jack cheese shredded
- 1 1/3 cups English cucumber chopped
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro chopped
For the pickled onions:
- 5 ounces red onion
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 3/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic halved
For the cilantro ranch dressing:
- 1 ounce-packet ranch seasoning
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 lime)
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup salsa verde
- hot sauce (to taste)
For the pickled onions:
- Set 3 cups of water to boil. Thinly slice onions and place in a mesh sieve. Set aside.
- Add vinegar, salt, sugar, and garlic to a glass jar. Place lid on jar and shake to dissolve sugar and salt. Set aside.
- Once water has reached boil point, hold sieve with onions over the sink and pour water over them VERY CAREFULLY. This will blanche the onions and take away some of their harsh bite. Once they've drained, add to the jar with the vinegar mixture. If some of the onions are still exposed, add a little water to submerge them. Shake to mix together and then place in fridge for at least an hour. In the meantime, work on the rest of the salad.
For the cilantro ranch dressing:
- Add ranch packet, milk, light mayo, Greek yogurt, and lime juice to a blender and mix until combined. Add garlic clove, cilantro, and salsa verde and mix again to combine. Taste the dressing and add hot sauce as needed. Set aside 1/2 cup of dressing for the salad and store the rest.
To combine the salad:
- Grill corn on high for about 10 minutes, rotating sides every 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool. Slice corn off the cob and set aside.
- Once onions are pickled for an hour, remove from fridge and drain. Add to a large bowl, along with lettuce, diced Avocados From Mexico, charred corn, diced cucumbers, and shredded cheese. Add about 1/2 cup dressing to salad. Toss together. Taste salad to see if you want more dressing. If not, serve immediately.
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