Corn Avocado Bacon Salad is a picnic all-star

Summer unofficially began this past Memorial Day weekend, and with it comes picnic season. That means loads of fried chicken, sandwiches and salads will be dished out on lawns near and far for the next few months.

Regarding the last of those picnic staples, potato salad and macaroni salad are the usual suspects, but did you know that you can bring so much better to the party than those mayonnaise-drenched excuses for side dishes so popular in supermarket delis?

One easy alternative is a corn-based salad.

While corn probably isn’t the first thing you think of when the subject is salad — after all, most of us eat corn slathered in butter on the cob or microwaved from a frozen state in a bag — this vegetable actually makes for a great salad base. It’s got crunch, it’s bright, it loves being covered in a simple dressing, and is a total team player when other ingredients want to join the fun.

Corn is also low in fat and provides a good dose of fiber. And, of course, it’s inexpensive. In fact, for the recipe below, I purchased most of the ingredients at my local 99 Cent Only store.

With my Corn Avocado Bacon Salad, the kernels will provide the foundation for other delicious and vibrant ingredients to build upon. Tomatoes, avocado, bacon bits and cilantro add some serious pizazz to this salad, which for a dressing uses a light and bright lime vinaigrette.

Still skeptical about this whole corn-as-salad thing? Try making the one here, and after one bite you’ll never go back to boring old potato salad.

Corn Avocado Bacon Salad

(Serves 4-6)

  • About 30 ounces of sweet corn (use two cans or two bags of the frozen stuff)
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large avocado, cubed
  • 2 ounces extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup bacon bits
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • Music to make it by: Today it’s the self-titled album by Fiction Family. Check it out if you like Switchfoot or Nickel Creek, whose lead singers helm this project.

Step 1: Open the cans of corn, drain and put into a bowl. If you’re using frozen corn, defrost in microwave just until it’s thawed.

Step 2: Dice the tomatoes. I like the small grape tomatoes seen here, but use any kind you like or have on hand

Step 3: Now for the avocado. The easiest way to get into one of these is to take a sharp knife, cut a horizontal line in it around the seed, and then twist into to parts. Scoop out the seed with a spoon or with a swift blow carefully thrust a knife blade into it, then twist the blade and pull out.

Step 4: To dice an avocado, take a small paring knife and cut vertical and then horizontal lines through it, using just a small amount of force so the blade doesn’t go through the skin. Now all you have to do is scoop the creamy flesh from the skin and it will separate into chunks as its added to the bowl.

Step 5: Time to make a quick vinaigrette. Squeeze 1 ounce of fresh lime juice into a bowl (expect to use 2-4 limes depending on size; a strainer will help catch the seeds). Now pour in the 2 ounces of olive oil and whisk. There: You just made a vinaigrette. Pour the dressing over the avocado and mix well in the bowl. The lime juice will help prevent the avocados from turning brown, which in fancy speak is called “oxidizing.”

Step 6: Add the bacon bits and chopped cilantro. If you’re not a fan of cilantro, try flat-leaf parsley instead or any type of lettuce. If you’re vegetarian, skip the bacon.

Step 7: All that’s left is to season with the salt and pepper, and mix it one last time. Taste it and add any extra salt, pepper, lime juice or other ingredient that you deem appropriate. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

Congratulations! You’ve just created an amazing, vibrant salad that will make you a culinary rock star at the next picnic or pot luck. Now that you’ve got the basic recipe down, try adding goodies like olives, artichoke hearts or, for some spice, minced jalapenos or chipotle peppers.

Did you try this recipe? Write about your experience, ask questions or share advice in the comments area below.

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7 Comments »

  1. Magda said,

    September 20, 2010 @ 10:37 pm

    I made it and it came out yummy. Thanks for the recipe.

  2. Danny S said,

    February 3, 2011 @ 10:10 am

    Another great recipe!

    While we were making this my wife was tempted to dice up some celery and cucumbers to toss in. But, we decided against that to maintain the corn dominance.

    There was plenty of leftovers so we cut up some ham, threw it in, and made a nice Sunday afternoon lunch.

  3. Matt Degen said,

    February 3, 2011 @ 3:05 pm

    Glad you enjoyed it, Danny — that’s a great idea about the ham, and one i’m going to try next time I make it!

  4. theodore said,

    October 22, 2013 @ 12:57 am

    that was a easy dish yum i want to try it at home

  5. theodore said,

    October 22, 2013 @ 12:59 am

    wait a minute did you make this dish wow i feel like eating it right now. good cook!

  6. Karen K said,

    March 27, 2014 @ 9:11 am

    This sounds good, BUT…..WHAT would be best to serve it with?
    Mexican dishes? Like, what kind of MAIN dish? Thanks!

  7. Matt Degen said,

    March 31, 2014 @ 9:41 pm

    Karen — This is a versatile dish, so it can go with many entrees. I like to pair it with grilled meats and fish — the crunch and sweetness of the corn is a nice balance to the smokiness of the meat. Hope this helps and enjoy!

    -Matt

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