Grilled Corn, Strawberry, and Avocado Salad


(Note: this post was originally published on May 26, 2019 and the photos were updated on April 30, 2020. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)

Perfectly Summery

Meet your new best friend for summer BBQs and picnics: this colorful salad with roasty corn, sweet strawberries, succulent grilled red onion, creamy avocado, and a zippy lime vinaigrette.

I've made many versions of this salad over the years; it's a go-to for hosting friends on our deck or for going to a picnic at the beach. I love that it can be nicely plated for a deck party, or shoved into a tupperware for a hiking picnic.

This one has all of my favorite summer flavors, with a Mexican-inspired vibe. Grilled corn and strawberries both scream summer, and grilling the corn gives it such lovely flavor. Grilled red onions make it feel perfectly suited to a BBQ, and avocado provides lovely richness. Simply put, this salad is all of my greatest loves, united in one place.

Make it Work For YOU

After making many versions of this salad over the years, I've developed quite a few variations. I've made it with quinoa, which is delicious and heartier. I sometimes use romaine instead of baby kale. I've also done a version that incorporates sugar snap peas (so fresh!) and one with goat cheese (so creamy- see the photo below). Any way you spin it, this salad is definitely a crowd pleaser.

Especially in a potluck setting where everyone builds their own plates, having a versatile dish is really important. This salad is hearty enough to star as a main dish for those who don't eat meat. It can act as a salsa and be scooped up with chips. It can happily sit alongside or garnish a burger. It can be a side dish, and would get along well with other summery side dishes. Basically, it's your best bet when you have no idea what other dishes will show up and how they'll go together.

A Word About the Dressing

I like to toast whole cumin seeds in some olive oil, then use that oil for the dressing- it makes a great flavor punch, especially when combined with lime juice and a bit of honey or agave for sweetness. It only takes a couple extra minutes and yields the most wonderful, complex flavors! But if you're really crunched for time, you could omit the cumin entirely and just make a dressing from olive oil, lime juice, and honey. Or, add a bit of freshly-grated ginger instead, it's wonderful and quicker than dealing with the cumin seeds.

Make-Ahead Tips

Want to prep this salad in advance? Go for it! You can do at least some of the work ahead of time, as long as you save the final plating for just before serving.

If you want to go that route, you can grill the corn and onion up to a day before, and mix up the dressing too. Keep everything in the fridge in sealed containers. You could even cut up the strawberries and clean your greens, if you really want to be on top of things. When you're ready to serve, just toss everything together and you're good to go.

Just be careful about combining everything, since the strawberries, cilantro, and pepitas will start to get soggy and the avocado will brown. I don't suggest combining all of the ingredients together until just before you serve it. If you must, it's probably fine for a couple hours, but in that case I'd brush the avocado in some lime juice to thwart browning.

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.

  • Corn. In season, it's wonderful to roast or grill full cobs and cut the kernels off. Out of season, I usually grill frozen corn on my indoor grill pan. For maximum ease, Trader Joe's sells frozen corn that's already roasted.
  • Red onion. While this isn't strictly necessary, I adore the complex, sweet flavor of grilled onion. The salad might seem a bit boring without it.
  • Strawberries
  • Avocados
  • Fresh cilantro. I've also used fresh mint, which is lovely.
  • Greens. I've shown baby kale here because it's so pretty, but chopped romaine would work fine too.
  • Feta or goat cheese. Optional, but it adds a nice salty element.
  • Pepitas. Aka the inner green parts of pumpkin seeds. I like roasted and salted.
  • Olive oil. You'll use the oil to toast the cumin seeds. Choose something with a subtle flavor so that it doesn't overpower the lime. Avocado oil would work great too.
  • Whole cumin seeds. A total flavor powerhouse! They need to be toasted though; I don't suggest trying to use them raw. If you'd rather not mess with them, you can omit this part entirely. Or, add a bit of freshly grated ginger for a flavor boost.
  • Lime juice
  • Honey. For a fully vegan version, agave would be the best substitution since it has a subtle flavor and is a natural pairing with lime and avocado.
  • Salt and pepper

Closing Thoughts

Isn't this such a fun salad for a summer get-together? I love that it can be different things to different people, and it's easy to switch up the ingredients to get different flavor profiles. I also love its colors; it's so vibrant with the red strawberries, yellow corn, green kale, and purple onion! Everything about this salad makes me think about warm summer evenings and parties on the deck.

Even though this is a simple combination of ingredients, something about it is just so special. The juicy berries, hearty corn, creamy avocado, and crunchy pepitas really bring out the best in one another. In case you haven't noticed yet, I'm a big believer in the importance of having a variety of different textures in a salad, and this one is a great example.

I'll be serving this on the deck all summer... with lots of tortilla chips, of course!

Share It!

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.

Suggested Pairings

Blackberry Coconut Margarita

Watermelon Nachos with Avocado Sauce

Orange Jalapeno Brussel Sprouts

No-Cook Rainbow Black Bean Salad

Mexican Street Corn Stuffed Peppers

Grilled Corn, Strawberry, and Avocado Salad

This salad is summer on a plate! Loaded with sweet corn, juicy strawberries, and creamy avocado, it's the perfect accompaniment to any summer meal.



For the Salad

  • 4 ears of corn
  • Small red onion
  • 1 c strawberries
  • 2 avocados
  • Handful of finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 c baby kale
  • Big handful of pepitas
  • Optional feta or goat cheese

For the Dressing

  • 2 tbsp subtly-flavored olive oil
  • 1 tbsp whole cumin seeds
  • Zest and juice of a lime
  • 1 tbsp honey or agave
  • Generous flaky sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the grill to medium/high heat.
  2. Remove the husks from the corn and cut the onion into rounds.
  3. Grill your corn and onion until tender and delicately charred. Then, put them in a sealed container (so they don't dry out) in the fridge. You'll need to let them cool completely, otherwise your other ingredients will wilt.
  4. To make the dressing, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add the cumin seeds and toast them for a couple minutes until they smell fragrant and just barely start to brown. Transfer the seeds and oil to a large mixing bowl so that the seeds stop cooking and allow the oil to cool.
  5. To the cumin oil, add the lime zest, lime juice, honey (or agave), salt, and pepper. If the honey is solid rather than runny, warm it up for 15 seconds in the microwave first to help it assimilate into the dressing. Give the dressing a good whisk to bring everything together.
  6. Cut the kernels from the corn and dice up the onion.
  7. To the dressing, add the grilled corn and grilled red onion, then give everything a good mix. Taste, adjust, and mix again. If you think it needs more brightness, add more lime and/or salt (a dash of rice wine vinegar would work too, if you're out of limes). If you want more sweetness, add a bit of additional honey.
  8. If your salad will be sitting out for a while, bathe your avocado pieces in some lime juice. This should prevent browning for a couple hours.
  9. Add the more delicate ingredients (strawberries, avocado, finely chopped cilantro) and give everything a very gentle mix.
  10. Add a bed of baby kale to a serving platter, then plate the salad on top of the greens. Garnish with pepitas, more fresh cilantro, optional feta or goat cheese, and a few pretty strawberry and avocado slices.

Leave a Comment

Please Share Your Thoughts!

Did you make this recipe? Did you make substitutions? How did you serve it? Any helpful tips? Please share your thoughts, since these insights are really useful to both me and to other readers.

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July 15, 2021
Made this for a potluck with blueberries instead. Everyone loved it!