Tomato Cucumber Corn Salad is a celebration of summer produce. It's easy to make this vegan Mediterranean-inspired recipe in under 30 minutes. Prepared with either grilled fresh or defrosted frozen corn, sweet onions, aromatic basil, and a splash of balsamic elevate the taste of this seasonal vegetable salad.
Nothing says summer like tomatoes, cucumbers and basil. Throw in some corn, whether you grill it on the cob or defrost it from the freezer, and you have a winning combination everyone is sure to enjoy.
It's wonderful as a side dish or a light meal. Or boost it with your favorite protein to make it a substantial main dish.
Why you'll love this recipe
- It's easy to prepare in 30 minutes or less without any unusual ingredients.
- You can make it with either fresh or frozen corn.
- The summer flavors go well with everything from veggie burgers to pasta.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Corn: If fresh corn on the cob isn't available, you can use frozen corn instead. Substitute 2¼ cups of defrosted frozen corn for the 3 ears in this recipe. And even better, you can use the frozen grilled corn that Trader Joe's sells.
- Tomatoes: Any size or shape will work, such as Roma, cherry, or grape tomatoes.
- Sweet onion: Look for Walla Walla, Vidalia, and Maui, if available, or substitute red onion.
- Cucumber: Any variety will work such as common or English cucumbers.
- Olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Fresh basil: Substitute fresh parsley or cilantro if basil is unavailable.
- Salt and pepper
Feel free to add your favorite ingredients to this tomato cucumber corn salad to make it your own.
- Boost the protein with chickpeas, cannellini beans, kidney beans, black beans, or feta-style marinated tofu.
- Stir in cubed avocado or black or green olives.
- Swap out the basil for other fresh herbs like dill, cilantro, or mint.
- Turn it into a panzanella salad by adding toasted bread cubes.
For the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions, please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
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To make this tomato cucumber corn salad, first grill the corn, if using fresh corn on the cob.
There are three basic methods you can use for grilling corn as outlined in the article from Serious Eats about 3 ways to grill corn. I tried all three and prefer the last method below:
- In the husk: When I first starting making grilled corn, I would throw the entire husk on the grill and let it cook. While I loved how the corn turned out, I hated getting the blackened husk all over myself and my kitchen floor.
- Wrapped in foil: Then I tried wrapping the shucked corn in aluminum foil. The corn turned out well, but it was a bit of a chore to check for doneness since I had to unwrap and rewrap the foil packet. Plus the corn didn't get the nice char I was looking for.
- Directly on the grill: So then I decided to shuck the corn and throw it onto the grill. Perfection! The corn looked exactly how I wanted it with a nice smoky flavor. My backyard also smelled like popcorn, which I didn't mind at all.
Once the corn is done cooking and is cool enough to handle, use a knife to remove the kernels. Then you're ready to prepare the salad:
- Combine the tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, and onions in a large bowl.
- Toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- Season to taste with salt, pepper, and fresh basil leaves, and enjoy!
Tomato Cucumber Corn Salad is wonderful on its own as a light meal or served with any of your favorite dishes. I particularly enjoy it with the following:
- Warm crusty bread like my favorite vegan gluten-free Bread SRSLY sourdough from San Francisco. I mail order it and store it in my freezer. Use code VEGGIESSAVETHEDAY for 15% off your first order.
- Crackers or pita bread and Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Dip
- Vegan Eggplant Pasta
- Chickpea Veggie Burgers or Cauliflower Curry Grill Packets
- Mediterranean Tofu Tacos
Leftovers will last refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. The basil may wilt, so you may want to replace it with fresh herbs before serving. I do not recommend freezing this dish.
While there are many methods, including using two bowls or a bundt pan, I find the easiest method is to simply use a chef's knife and a cutting board. Lay the corn on its side horizontally and carefully run your knife down the ear to remove the kernels in sections. When that side is done, rotate the cob and repeat until all of the kernels are removed.
The main ways for cooking corn on the cob are microwaving, boiling, steaming, oven roasting, pressure cooking (in an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker), and grilling. You can also eat corn raw straight off the cob, although many people prefer the flavor and texture of it cooked.
The most common sweet onions available in the United States are Walla Walla, Vidalia, and Maui. These varieties are grown in low-sulfur soil making them taste milder and sweeter than other types of onions.
If your onion has too strong of a taste, slice it and submerge the slices in a bowl of ice water for 20 to 30 minutes before preparing your recipe.
More vegan tomato cucumber salad recipes
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If you love this recipe, please give it 5 stars! ★★★★★
Tomato Cucumber Corn Salad
- 3 ears corn, grilled, kernels cut off the cob (See Notes)
- 3 cups tomatoes, roughly chopped (or halved or quartered if using cherry tomatoes)
- 1 cucumber, sliced lengthwise, seeds removed, and sliced into half moons
- ½ sweet onion, (Maui, Walla Walla, or Vidalia) sliced (or substitute red onion)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper, to taste
- fresh basil leaves, for garnish
- In a large salad bowl, combine the corn kernels, tomatoes, cucumber, and onion.
- Drizzle over the olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- Toss well to combine.
- Season with the salt and pepper, to taste, and garnish with the fresh basil leaves.
- Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to eat.
Want to save this recipe?
- Grill the corn on each side right in the husk. Remove the husk and silk once the cobs are cool enough to handle.
- Brush shucked corn with a little olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Wrap them in aluminum foil and grill on each side.
- Brush shucked corn with a little olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place directly on the grill and grill on each side until lightly charred. This is my preferred method.
Nutritional information is an estimation only.