(Note: this post was originally published on June 17, 2021. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)
Summer Salad Love
Time for another potluck-appropriate salad! This one is bursting with summer flavors and colors, and has the most addicting balance of sweet and salty. I'm confident it will become a go-to for your summer get-togethers, just like it has for us.
Clearly I have a major love for colorful, summery salads. And while I adore greens of all sorts, sometimes they're not so great for traveling or outdoor events because they can get soggy. My preferred way to combat that? Salads like this one that are made out of hearty, easily pack-able veggies. If you leave the blueberries and pistachios off until you're ready to serve, this salad can sit in a container for hours.
The other great thing about a salad like this is that it can be different things to different people, which is why I love bringing this one to get-togethers. It can function as a side dish, a chip dip, or even a main course. Given that I'm a plant eater, I always try to bring something nutrient-dense so that I'm taken care of even if there aren't many other plant-based options.
Simple Ingredients, Complex Flavors
This salad is so incredibly simple, which is part of its beauty. It has remarkably few ingredients, but has a delightful balance between hearty corn, sweet juicy blueberries, crisp snap peas, and zingy pickled onions. Decadent, crunchy pistachios bring it all together.
The real magic of this salad lies in the dressing. The dressing I use here is a slight modification of a truly wonderful and surprising dressing that Andrea of @Sweet.In.Nature introduced me to. In fact, she even submitted her genius combination to my compilation of The Best Plant-Based Salad Dressings (scroll down to "Magical Mint Dressing", they're alphabetical).
I never would have thought to combine mustard, maple syrup, and mint until Andrea shared this dressing. It's somehow cozy yet also so fresh and summery (plus it's a great way to use mint that may be trying to take over your yard!). My version of Andrea's dressing is a bit streamlined since there are so many other flavors happening in this salad, but those three core ingredients are the same. Trust me, you definitely want to try this combination!
Like many simple salads, this one has a LOT of options.
Want to make it a meal? You could easily make this more filling by adding in your grain of choice. Farro would be delightful! If you want to go that route, I'd suggest doubling the dressing since the grain will absorb a lot of it. You could also add in some beans- chick peas would be perfect! If you do dairy, adding some cubes of feta is wonderful and adds so much salty goodness and addicting texture.
This salad is very make-ahead friendly AND holds up well during transport, so it's perfect for bringing to BBQs, picnics, and potlucks. If you really like to plan ahead, you can grill the corn, cut it off the cob, and combine it with the cut sugar snaps and diced pickled onions the day before. Easy! You can also mix up the dressing the day before, but I suggest leaving the mint out until you're ready to serve; otherwise it will get wilty and lose its bright green color. When you're ready to serve, add the mint to the dressing, add the blueberries to the salad, and garnish it with pistachios.
Conversely, this salad is fine to sit in its assembled form for a couple hours, so you can easily make it at home and bring it somewhere. Just add the pistachios at the last minute so they stay crunchy.
A Sneaky No-Cook Option
In an ideal world, I prefer to grill the corn myself and make my own pickled red onions. That's definitely the best way to make this salad. But I've also made this many times at the last-minute with a few important shortcuts.
Instead of grilling your own corn, just buy frozen grilled corn (thanks, Trader Joe's!) and thaw it. Likewise, you can easily buy pickled red onions. In that case, you can assemble this whole salad in about 15 minutes, making it perfect for a busy weeknight or to throw together for a last-minute get-together.
Let's Talk Ingredients
Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.
Mint. I love the freshness of mint here, but I bet fresh basil would create a really different but lovely flavor profile.
Apple cider vinegar. Champagne vinegar would be wonderful too, or any white (maybe fruity??) balsamic. I wouldn't use dark balsamic since the salad will look brown.
Coarse-grained mustard. Homemade is always the best! Learn how to make your own here.
Corn. Either fresh or frozen is fine. Fresh is of course much more flavorful, so use it if you can. My naughtiest secret is the bags of grilled, frozen corn from Trader Joe's; they're perfect for the months before local corn is available.
Sugar snap peas. I love the freshness and crunch! Cucumbers might be a nice addition too.
Pickled red onions. I always quick-pickle my own at home, but store-bought is fine in a pinch. I definitely recommend red onions over white because they have a more delicate flavor and add such beautiful color.
Blueberries. Strawberries would be great too!
Pistachios. I absolutely love pistachios and I think they pair beautifully with berries. I think almonds would be your next best option.
Are you excited for summer picnics and outdoor get-togethers? There's really nothing better! We love inviting a couple friends over to hang out on our deck. Everyone brings something to share, we make some cocktails, fire up the grill, and have a whole hodge-podge of fun dishes.
This salad is one I've made for years, in one version or another. Corn and blueberries are just so summery and are totally wonderful together! It comes together in a flash and can really go with anything, so it's the perfect addition to dinner on the deck. I hope you guys love this one as much as we do!
It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.