Grilled Zucchini Corn Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette


Cilantro. It’s one of those love it or hate it herbs. I know several people who swear it tastes like soap. Soap? Really? I rather think it tastes like cilantro, but other than that, I can’t quite describe the flavour. I love it though. If memory serves, I can pinpoint the first time I ever tasted it. I was home from university for summer vacation and it was too hot to cook. My mother had thrown together a black bean salad with red peppers and cilantro. I’d always like bean salad well enough, but I knew instantly that there was something different about this one. Different in a good way. There was a flavour there that I couldn’t quite name but I loved it. I’ve been a cilantro devotee ever since.

Last year, we planted some cilantro in a special garden container on our patio and it flourished…so much so that we were giving it away by the fistful. This year, I thought we’d be slightly more moderate in our cilantro-growing. But no. We planted just as much in the same container as last year, plus my husband filled several other smaller containers as well. And we have some growing wild where the seeds blew from last year. It’s a regular Cilantro Fiesta out there, I tell you. If you are in need of fresh cilantro, feel free to stop by! (The basil is going gang-busters too, if you need any of that).

So cilantro, and finding ways to use it, is clearly on my mind. I was talking to my husband about having seen Cilantro Lime Chicken recipes, but we’d just had chicken and needed something different. The idea for the grilled zucchini and corn just came to me, and I knew it would make a perfect summer salad. I found a decent-looking recipe for a Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette at For the Love of Cooking, but I had some changes in mind, not least of which was adding some heat with chipotle powder. And then as I went and tasted, I changed it a little further. Grilled my veggies, chopped them up, and away we went.

The Results: Perfect summer salad, yes indeed! Let me just say that as wonderful as all the grilled, fresh veggies are, it’s the dressing that makes the salad. For a cilantro junkie like myself, this stuff is heaven. I could have drunk the whole batch straight out of the blender, that’s how much I liked it. I think the touch of chipotle powder really rounds it out as well and gives it a southwestern kick.

I know this recipe is not very low carb with the corn in there, but it could be easily modified to up the zucchini and other low carb veggies, with just a small sprinkle of corn for flavour. Consider grilling some pretty yellow summer squash and some red pepper, along with the zucchini. Really, it’s the dressing that makes this salad phenomenal, so it almost doesn’t matter what you put under it!

Grilled Zucchini Corn Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

4 medium zucchini, summer squash or a combination thereof
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 ears corn, unhusked
2 avocado

1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of half a lime
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp chipotle powder or chili powder
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat gas or charcoal grill.

Cut zucchini lengthwise into 1/2 inch thick slices and brush both sides with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper

Soak corn in its husk in large container of water for 10 minutes. Remove from water and shake off excess.

Place zucchini slices and corn directly on grill. For zucchini, grill a few minutes on each side, until slices are tender and have grill marks. Remove and let cool. For corn, grill 15-20 minutes, turning every few minutes to cook all sides, until husk is charred all over. Remove and let cool.

Chop cooled zucchini into 1/2 inch pieces. Husk corn and use a sharp knife to remove kernels from cob. Chop avocados into 1/2 inch pieces. Mix vegetables in a medium bowl.

For the dressing, combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth and well combined. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss to combine. Refrigerate salad until chilled.

Serves 6. I won’t give you a carb count because it all depends on what veggies you put into it!

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  1. Jill@MadAboutMacarons says

    This salad could even be given to hubby, I'm sure! Great way to get him to eat the veggies. I love the dressing – sounds so tasty – especially as cilantro/coriander my favourite. How COULD anyone say it tastes like soap? What's wrong with their tastebuds? :-)

  2. Lauren at Keep It Sweet says

    I think I'm one of the only people who is kind of neutral to cilantro. I think I'd love your salad, though!

  3. Emily @ A Cambridge Story says

    summer in a bowl right here! I love cilantro – especially when paired with corn, avocados and zuchs!

  4. Pretend Chef says

    I could easily make a meal of this. Avocado makes me giddy. That dressing sounds like it takes this over the top. Yummy!

  5. The Mom Chef says

    What a bright, summery salad. I would absolutely adore it, but you know that kiddo of mine. Zucchini is her kryptonite. Where did I go wrong?

  6. claire says

    it looks so fresh and amazing- i am not as big of a fan of cilantro, but my boyfriend will love this!

  7. RavieNomNoms says

    Fantastic! No lie I think I am going to go home and make this for a side on my dinner tonight. YUM! I love the cilantro too, I bet that just adds the perfect dimension to this :-)

  8. Parsley Sage says

    No soapy tasty for me! I'm all about cilantro. This salad sounds awesome. Can't go wrong with using Pam's recipes as a base :)

  9. icancookthat says

    This really is a perfect summer salad! I feel bad for those that think it tastes like soap, cilantro is wonderful.

  10. Hester aka The Chef Doc says

    This is totally my kind of salad! I love all the bright and zippy flavors. The textures are great to boot :-) You could also make a cilantro pesto with all that you've got growing 😉 Goes great in a noodle dish, maybe with some ginger and some chilies :-)

  11. Kate says

    This is the first time I've commented on your blog even though I've meant to many, many times before. I love reading your recipes and the stories behind them and your photography is fantastic.
    But, it was my extreme dislike I've cilantro that has finally prompted me to comment. There is even an anti-cilantro society on the web, but I'm not that militant about it. I wish I could like it, especially when everyone around me is just raving about some dish or another with the "devil herb" in it.
    I've read that people who taste soap lack some sort of digestive enzyme.
    Thank you for the 99% of all the other recipes on your blog that I'll gladly attempt.

  12. Kari says

    It took me quite a long time to work out that what Americans call cilantro, we call coriander :) I am a huge fan but agree that it's hard to describe the flavour…I find it works beautifully in stir fries and with chilli though.

  13. kitchenarian says

    I didn't think any one could love cilantro as much as I do, but I see I have found a kindred cilantro spirit. This is at the top of my "to cook" list.

  14. Deborah Dowd says

    I have zucchini and corn, so this salad is down for this evening! I am thinking of adding some golden cherry tomatoes from our garden and maybe some avocado- thanks for the inspiration!

  15. Chef Dennis says

    that certainly is the perfect summer salad, I have just recently gotten my wife eating cilantro, for what ever reason she never liked it. I'll have to give this a try!

  16. Cookin' Canuck says

    I don't get the "soapy" cilantro thing either. I am digging the flavors and textures in this salad. Perfect summer dish!

  17. Teresa says

    I'm needing some cilantro right now! The store one was too mushy; wish I could stop by. Your salad would be a great addition to my lunch today.

  18. Peggy says

    We've got cilantro out the wazoo too! This is our first year planting it, and it takes up a whole fourth of our garden!

    This sounds like a great way to use it – and you're right – that dressing sounds phenomenal =)

  19. Krista {Budget Gourmet Mom} says

    Gorgeous salad Carolyn! I love the pairing of flavors. Our garden usually grows out of control with zucchini so this will definitely be on the menu!

  20. Kate says

    I was going to make corn and blueberry salad (yes, it sounds weird but it's great – it's on but I think this is going to be what we have with our eggplant involtini tonight. Love the flavor combo!!

  21. Lindselicious says

    Oh I love the sound of this salad with a cilantro dressing with it too. Oh I bet avocado would be great in here too.

  22. Lisa @ Tarte du Jour says

    I adore cilantro so you got my attention right away! What a lovely and refreshing summer salad! You are fortunate to have such a hearty cilantro plant.

  23. Lori @ Girl Meets Oven says

    I love cilantro but have had no luck in growing it. What is your secret to growing it?

  24. Tiffany says

    Cilantro… I LOVE it. My mom hates it and thinks it tastes like soap. Clearly, preferences for cilantro are not hereditary! LOL. This salad looks amazing Carolyn! This would be perfect for the cookout we're having this evening!

  25. Erin says

    I LOVE this recipe! I can't not wait to try it! Hubby doesn't like zucchini, but I might be able to sneak it past him with all the other yummy stuff in here!

  26. The Harried Cook says

    I've heard the soap comparison too, and it makes no sense to me! Cilantro and lime is one of my favorite combinations! And with corn & zucchini – yes, please! Sounds really yummy, Carolyn! :) Thanks for sharing…

  27. Lynn @ I'll Have What She's Having says

    Your salad sounds really refreshing, perfect for the steamy weather we`ve been having lately.

  28. Karen says

    So jealous of your cilantro over-growth! I wish I had more room to plant it myself, as I am definitely in the cilantro-lover category. I just can't understand those that don't like it!
    This salad looks perfect…so fresh and bright.

  29. Terra says

    I am a huge cilantro fan, I think it should be made into a perfume….no seriously…I love it!!! I was looking for a nice summery salad, excited to find this, was right in line with what I was looking for:-)
    Hugs, Terra

  30. Shulie says

    Love cilantro just don;t understand people who don;t! Love this summer twist to the salad, reminds me to pick up zucchini haven;t made it in awhile.

  31. EA-The Spicy RD says

    Love, love, love cilantro! And, corn, avocado and zucchini are pretty tasty too :-) This looks fabulous!

  32. Kelly @ Eat Yourself Skinny says

    Ok so I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe! Cilantro is one of my favorite ingredients to use and this just sounds spectacular :) Perfect summer salad!

  33. Denise Evans says

    This is on tap for our Tuesday night picnic (and use up more of those zucs!). It indeed looks like THE perfect summer salad. Thanks for sharing.

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