This festive salad has a light, spicy dressing, and a sweeter flavor due to first gently roasting the corn, zucchini and bell pepper. Serve this as is, on greens (fresh or steamed), baked potatoes and yams, or in steamed corn tortillas with Salsa Verde.
- 4 ears corn
- 1 medium zucchini
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 can cooked black beans, drained and rinsed (about 1½ cups)
- 1 medium firm but ripe avocado, chopped small (optional)
- ¼ cup lime juice
- ¾ teaspoon mild-medium chili powder
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds (optional garnish)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or a silicone oven-proof mat.
- Place onto the baking sheet: the 4 ears of corn (after removing the husks and corn silks), the zucchini cut into quarters, and the whole bell pepper (see photo below). Roast for 15 minutes. Turn the veggies over and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes (a little browning is fine, but not necessary).
- While the vegetables are roasting, add to a medium bowl: the black beans, avocado, lime juice, chili powder, and chipotle powder.
- After the roasted veggies have cooled a little, cut the corn from the cobs and add it to the bowl. Chop the zucchini and bell pepper into small pieces, and add them to the bowl. Stir until evenly mixed. Serve warm or cold, garnished with pumpkin seeds (optional).
Bell pepper: You can also use halved cherry tomatoes (or chopped tomatoes) instead of red bell pepper if you like (I would not roast the tomatoes).
Raw vs. roasted: This salad can also be made raw, without roasting. And if you prefer to do your roasting under the broiler, that is fine too; just keep an eye on things so that the vegetables don’t burn (a little browning is fine).
Hot and spicy: If you want a spicier salad, increase the amount of chipotle powder or add some red pepper flakes or a dash of cayenne pepper. You can also throw in a finely chopped jalapeño pepper or another favorite spicy pepper.
Avocado: If you are going to eat this over many days, you may want to add the avocado as you eat it (so it doesn’t get overly soft and brown).
Variations: So many other things could be added to this salad, in keeping with the Mexican theme, including chopped cilantro, mango, jicama, red onion, and/or green onion. Some soft roasted garlic would also be yummy stirred in.
Corn: If you can't find good organic corn on the cob, I'd suggest using frozen organic corn (with nothing added), about 2½ cups.
Above: The corn, red bell pepper and quartered zucchini, ready to roast! I forgot to take an “after” photo, but just roast until the bell pepper and zucchini have softened. I didn’t cook mine long enough to brown much, but you can if you like. Some people like the look of the charred veggies, but even without this, the flavor is still enhanced and worth the roasting.
Above: The non-roasted ingredients, ready to go into the bowl: black beans, avocado, lime juice, chili powder, and chipotle powder; the pumpkin seeds will go on top as an optional garnish (or mix them in if you like).
Above: I like to cut the corn from the cob (after roasting) into a mixing bowl; just cut straight down the sides with your chef’s knife. Strive to keep some of the cut corn kernels intact, as shown here, as it makes the dish more visually interesting.
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