This vegan avocado corn salad is so fresh and vibrant for the summer months. It features massaged kale, creamy avocado, and sweet, grilled corn. It’s easy to prepare and perfect for sharing!
Height of summer is a wonderful time for big, vibrant, colorful bowls of salad.
With all of the transition of my recent move, I haven’t been making many salads. Storing a lot of produce, let alone washing and chopping it, is tricky with the upheaval of a move and half-unpacked kitchen. Tofurky sandwiches and pasta or frozen dinners have been much more manageable.
Still, I made this lovely grilled corn avocado salad right before I relocated, and I was so happy with it. It was my first time cooking sweet corn this season.
It was also the first time in a while that I’d gotten my hands dirty massaging kale. Kale has always been one of my favorite bases for salads. I think it’s more substantial than other salad greens. I also love its slight bitterness and its texture.
I brought the corn and kale together with lots of creamy avocado, which for me is more of a summery craving than a year-round one.
These components added up to a recipe that’s ultra seasonal, flavorful, and bright.
The most notable thing about this corn avocado salad is that it employs avocado in two ways.
First, some avocado gets blended into a creamy dressing. You’ll use this dressing to soften and season your chopped kale.
Avocado based salad dressings are a favorite of mine. I’m especially fond of this one (which goes well with my vegan tempeh tacos as well as the vegan panzanella salad I created it for).
Avocado imparts a richness to salad dressing that oil alone can’t provide. Plus, it’s full of good nutrition—fiber, healthful fat, Vitamin E, potassium, and more.
You can prepare the avocado-based dressing in a blender or a food processor. The remaining avocado in the corn avocado salad is chopped and added to your greens. Here’s a step-by-step of the process.
The recipe calls for four ears of corn in total. They can be white corn, yellow corn, or bicolor.
It’s hard to beat the grill as a cooking vessel for fresh, sweet corn. As an apartment dweller, I don’t actually have a grill.
But I do have a grill pan, and I use it all the time, especially for summer produce. My grill pan worked very well for grilling the corn.
Before grilling, I rub the ears of corn in a little avocado oil.
The dressing employs a half avocado, olive oil, vinegar and lime juice, some water, and a touch of maple syrup. I really love a hint of sweetness in otherwise tart dressings, but feel free to omit the sweetener if you like.
The best way I’ve found to remove corn kernels from corn is to use an inverted bowl inside a larger bowl (you can check out an image of this setup here).
It makes the task easy and creates much less mess than trying to cut kernels off on an open cutting board!
I’ve made many a “massaged” kale salad since I started blogging. Every time I write “massaged kale,” it still looks funny.
“Massaging” kale is simply rubbing dressing into the kale leaves with your hands and some pressure. This not only helps to dress the kale evenly, but it also softens the kale, making it more palatable for salad.
When the kale is ready, you’ll have only to mix the corn avocado salad up. Add your corn kernels, some red onion (optional), the remaining, cut avocado pieces, and toss everything well. Adjust the salad seasoning to taste right before serving.
I’ve made the corn avocado salad with both curly kale and lacinato (dinosaur, or Tuscan) kale.
Curly kale is pictured above. It works very well in the salad, and it’s usually the easiest type of kale to find in stores. If you use curly kale, be sure to stem it and chop it finely for the corn avocado salad.
All things considered, though, I think my preference is for lacinato kale in the salad. It’s easy to chop this particular type of kale into thin ribbons, and I love its deep, deep green (almost a black green shade).
If purple kale is what you have, then that will work well, too. The only kale I don’t necessarily recommend is baby kale, which may be too tender to hold its own with a thick dressing and lots of creamy avocado pieces.
Honestly? I think that this particular salad is best enjoyed fresh.
I say this not because the greens will suffer with storage. In fact, kale salad is usually great for vegan meal prep, because kale holds up better with dressing than do more delicate salad greens.
In the case of this corn avocado salad, the issue with long storage is that the avocado will start to brown a bit with time. It will even start to brown as quickly as overnight.
This won’t affect the salad from a food safety perspective, but it can definitely impact the salad’s visual appeal.
For this reason, I recommend serving the corn avocado salad within a few hours of making it. It’s absolutely fine to prepare it in the morning and have it at lunchtime, for example.
If you need to, you can store it overnight and enjoy it the following day. You can also cut the recipe in half, so that there’s less to store, if you live on your own.
Speaking of serving, what to serve the salad with?
Nutrition clients often ask me about salads as a meal. What’s a meal-sized salad? How does one know?
I tend to feel that a meal-sized salad follows the Power Plates principle of including all macronutrient groups: a protein, a healthful fat, a source of complex carbs.
The corn avocado salad delivers on healthful fats, but it’s not especially high in protein or complex carbs. So, I’d recommend pairing it with something (or some other things) to turn it into more of a complete meal. As a side dish, it works beautifully.
Here are some accompaniment ideas:
Corn and avocado make this salad what it is, but kale is the foundation of the dish. If you try this salad and love it, here are a few others you might like to taste:
One nice update on my end is that I’m now unpacked enough to have been able to do some meal prep for the week this past Monday. It feels good to eat homemade fare in my new space.
I hope to make the avocado corn salad at least once or twice more before the warm weather is gone. If you give it a try, I hope you’ll enjoy it, too.
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