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Fresh corn basil and tomato salad in a white serving bowl

Corn, Basil and Tomato Salad

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When sweet corn is in season and plentiful, there’s nothing like a fresh Corn, Basil and Tomato Salad showcasing the best of summer produce.

When one of Bill’s friends sent him home with 24 ears of freshly picked corn, a  fresh Corn Salad Recipe with a light lime dressing was a delicious way to enjoy the harvest.

Small white bowl filled with corn, tomato and basil salad

Corn, Basil and Tomato Salad

A dear foodie friend served this sweet corn tomato salad at her 4th of July bash and was immediately asked for the recipe. She was generous enough to share with me, too. The best of our summer’s harvest is highlighted in this simple salad. Buy quality local corn and tomatoes for the best results. You will love this delightfully delicious dish.

Overhead view of fresh corn and tomato salad in a white serving bowl

Tips for Making a Sweet Corn Salad Recipe

This is one of those salads that’s best made in the summer. Fresh sweet corn and home grown or farmers’ market tomatoes are key, though grape and cherry tomatoes can be quite good in a pinch.

Blanch the corn as soon as you can to lock in the sweetness. As the corn ages, the sugars turn starchy and won’t be nearly as tasty. When I cut it off the cob, I like to keep a few larger pieces of corn instead of separating it all into individual kernels. 

If you have an herb garden, you are in luck as this salad needs both fresh basil and fresh thyme. Dry won’t do it justice, but you can purchase fresh herbs if necessary.

Soaking the sliced red onions in ice water helps remove some of the sharpness. If you enjoy the “bite” of a fresh onion, feel free to skip this step.

The dressing is very simple, just fresh lime juice, olive oil, fresh thyme leaves and salt and pepper.

Serve this summer corn salad at room temperature, but store leftovers in the refrigerator. This corn salad with tomatoes is best on the day it’s made, but delicious even when stored for a couple days.

Small bowl of fresh corn basil and tomato salad with a red handle fork

How Do You Blanch Sweet Corn?

To blanch sweet corn, first get a large pot of water boiling. Shuck the corn and remove all the silk. Prepare a large bowl full of ice water to stop the cooking process when the corn is removed from the water.

Blanch the corn for about 3 minutes, then plunge into the ice water bath. Repeat until all your corn is blanched. Let all the corn cool before proceeding.

PRO-Tip: Blanching corn helps clean off impurities, plus inactivates enzymes that can promote spoiling.

Next, cut the corn off the cob, being careful to just cut the kernels off, not going too deep.

There are a couple techniques to try. I use a larger Rubbermaid container, and stand the corncob upright with the stalk end on top. Cut downwards from top to bottom letting the cut corn fall into the container. Repeat as you work your way around the cob.

Alternatively, use an angel food, tube or Bundt pan. Place the more tapered, non stalk end of the corn into the “tube” of the tube pan. Cut off the kernels from top to bottom and they will supposedly drop into the pan. I haven’t tested this, but I have a feeling there’d be a few wayward kernels flying across the counter.

How Do You Freeze Sweet Corn?

Freeze your corn in freezer safe Ziploc bags. Quart bags are a good size. Measure as you fill the bag so you can mark the amount of corn on each bag along with the date.  Use a permanent marker like a Sharpie to label.

Seal the bags leaving a small space open to help remove excess air. PRO-Tip: Insert a straw into that open part of the “zipper,” and inhale to suck out any excess air. This will minimize frost build up. Immediately seal once the air is removed.

Frozen corn will be good for about 12 months. It’s perfect for soups, casseroles or just sauteed with some butter for dinner.

Can I Make this Corn Salad Recipe with Frozen Corn?

Yes, you definitely can! Just substitute the blanched corn for defrosted frozen corn. Now you can make this corn salad recipe any time of the year!

More Corn Recipes You’ll Love:

This post was first shared in July, 2012. The text and photos were updated in 2019.

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Small white bowl filled with fresh corn, basil and tomato salad

Corn, Basil and Tomato Salad

A refreshing summer salad with fresh sweet corn, tomatoes, red onions and basil tossed in a light lime dressing

  • Author: Liz Berg
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 minutes
  • Total Time: 24 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish, Salad
  • Method: Steaming, Chopping, Mixing
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

  • 6 ears of fresh sweet corn, silk and husks removed
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onions
  • 2 garden or heirloom tomatoes*, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped if leaves are large
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 1/23 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Blanch or steam corn for 3-4 minutes. Cool and cut corn from cobs into mixing bowl.
  2. Soak red onion in ice water for a couple minutes to remove the sharp taste. Drain and add to corn. Add tomatoes, basil, and thyme. Toss with olive oil, then add 2 1/2 tablespoons lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. Taste and adjust seasonings and add more lime juice if needed.
  3. Serve at room temperature.

Total time: 30 minutes

Notes

Slightly adapted from the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen.

*I used both heirloom tomatoes and halved grape tomatoes

Note: This post may contain affiliate links; view my Disclosure Policy for details. I earn a small percentage from any purchase you make by clicking on these links at no extra cost to you.

8 comments on “Corn, Basil and Tomato Salad”

  1. I had some fresh corn from the farmer’s market and this was the perfect salad to make with them.

  2. This salad makes me want to hold onto summer a little longer! I can’t wait to try it this weekend!

  3. Fresh and burst of flavours!

  4. Oh I see lunch in my future asap! nice healthy and perfect for Florida!

  5. I haven’t made a corn salad like this in ages! This looks terrific 🙂 Pinned

  6. We have been finding the sweetest corn at the farmers market. You know when you only buy a half dozen but you are kicking your self for not buying the full dozen.. With our fresh corn and heirloom tomatoes this is going to be a lovely recipe to go with dinner tonight.

  7. Lovely. I like the simplicity of this salad – you let the flavors shine.

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