Fresh Corn, Kale & Quinoa Salad with Tahini Dressing

This summer perfect fresh corn salad is packed with so many good things! It's drizzled with a tahini dressing and is also vegan and gluten-free.
Jump to Recipe

This Fresh Corn Salad with Kale, Quinoa is filling, wholesome and great for summer picnics and potlucks. Drizzled with a tahini-lemon dressing, the salad is also vegan and gluten-free. Toasted walnuts add a nice crunch to the salad.

bowl of salad with kale, corn, cherry tomatoes

I love biting into sweet juicy corn this time of the year. Every weekend we go to the farmer’s market and come home with these sweet corn during summer. Our most favorite way to eat is the Indian way- by roasting it directly on heat and slathering it with lemon, chaat masala and chili powder.

Other than that, I also love adding fresh corn to my guacamole and salads. This corn quinoa and kale salad has been on repeat for the last few weeks in my house. It’s easy to make and even Sarvesh likes it, which is actually a big deal since a) this is a salad and b) it has quinoa- two things which he isn’t fond of at all. But he happily ate this salad for lunch the other day so I will take this as a winning recipe.

This salad has a bit of everything, it has sweetness from grapes and peppers. There’s fiber and protein from quinoa, which means this salad actually fills you up as a meal. There’s also crunch from the toasted walnuts and earthiness from the kale. It all comes together with a tahini lemon dressing which might actually be my favorite part about this salad.

This Fresh Corn Salad

  • is great for summer potlucks and picnics.
  • easy to assemble.
  • can be served at room temperature or cold.
  • can also be packed for lunch-boxes.

Ingredients

There are 2 parts to this salad: the salad itself and the tahini dressing.

Salad Ingredients

This salad has a little bit of everything. There’s quinoa which makes it filling and adds protein to the salad. There’s the earthy kale, for the crunch there are the walnuts and peppers. Grapes add sweetness to the salad and parsley make it fresh.

You can use nuts of choice, almonds or pecans will also work well here. If you don’t have grapes, you can add apples or even strawberries. In place of quinoa, you can also do brown rice.

The Tahini Dressing

This creamy tahini dressing is my favorite part about this salad. It comes together super quickly and is made with tahini, olive oil, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, lemon juice and red wine vinegar. There’s also some added garlic and cumin for flavor. If you don’t have red wine vinegar, you can skip it. You can also skip the cumin.

It’s a great idea to make this dressing in advance. Keep it refrigerated and it will be okay for a week. If it becomes too thick while sitting in the refrigerator, simply add cold water to it and whisk to bring it to a desirable consistency.

ingredients for fresh corn salad arranged on a board

Prep Work

This salad involves a bit of prep work and chopping since there are a lot of ingredients. But there’s hardly any cooking involved except boiling the corn and toasting the walnuts!

Massage the kale: this is extremely important and you must not skip this step. Wash and chop the kale, then transfer it to a bowl. Sprinkle a little salt and a little bit of olive oil (of lemon juice if you don’t want to use oil). Then rub between your fingers for 2 to 3 minutes until the leaves start to wilt.

This significantly improves the texture and taste of kale. It becomes softer and the taste becomes milder.

Boil the corn: husk the corn and then boil the corn ears. I like to use my instant pot for this. Just add 1 & 1/2 cups water to the inner steel pot of your instant pot. Then place the trivet inside the pot and arrange the corn ears over it. Close the lid and press the manual or pressure cook button. Cook for 2 minutes on high pressure with the pressure valve in sealing position. Once the cooking cycle is done, quick release the pressure.

Let the corn cool down a bit, then carefully cut the kernels off the cob using a knife and cutting close to the cob.

Toast the walnuts: you can skip this step and add raw walnuts directly to the salad. However, toasting adds to the flavor. To toast, just add walnuts to a pan on medium heat in a single layer. Toast for around 5 minutes, stirring every few seconds. Then remove on a plate and let them cool down and then chop into pieces.

How to Make Fresh Corn Salad

1- First, let’s make the dressing. To a bowl or measuring jar, add 1/4 cup tahini and 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil.

2- Grate 2 cloves of garlic into the jar.

3- Now add the following:

  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

4- Stir it all together using a wire whisk until you have a creamy dressing. You can taste test and adjust the seasonings at this point. If it’s too thick, you can also add additional water.

step by step picture collage of making tahini dressing

5- Take 2 cups of chopped kale, sprinkle a little salt and a touch of olive oil and massage it for 2 to 3 minutes. This makes the texture of kale softer and taste milder. Then add it to a large bowl along with the following:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped red pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion

6- Boil 2 ears of corn, I used an instant pot, placed 2 husked corn ears in the pot over a trivet with 1 & 1/2 cups water in the main inner pot and cooked on high pressure for 2 minutes. When the cooking cycle is finished, quick release the pressure by moving the pressure valve from sealing to venting position. Once cooled, cut the kernels off the cob and add it to the same large bowl. Also add:

  • 10-12 grape halves
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley

7- Once all the salad ingredients are added to the bowl, pour over the dressing. You will not need the entire dressing for this salad. I was left with around 1/2 cup of dressing, store the leftover dressing in the fridge for up to a week and use as needed.

8- Using a salad spoon and fork, mix until the dressing is well combined with the rest of the ingredients. I like to let this salad sit for 30 minutes for the flavors to mix in together and then serve. You can also serve it cold.

Serving Suggestions

Serve this fresh corn salad as such, it’s a complete meal in itself.

However, you can also serve it alongside pasta, or with a side of your favorite bread or soup.

Useful Tips

  • You don’t need all of the dressing: the dressing recipe here makes a lot more than you need for this salad. Store the leftovers in a refrigerator and use throughout the week. After adding the required dressing for the salad, I was left with around 1/2 cup of it. This would vary depending on how much dressing you prefer in your salads.
  • Skip the onions if making this for potlucks: cut onions can sometimes have a very strong smell/taste when left for long and that can spoil the whole salad. If you are making this for a picnic or potluck a day before, then skip the onion. Of course, if you are making and taking it straight away to a picnic, then do add the onions!
dressing being poured over a salad bowl

More Summer Salad Recipes

If you’ve tried this Recipe then don’t forget to rate the recipe! You can also follow me on FacebookInstagram to see what’s latest in my kitchen and on YouTube to watch my latest videos.

Fresh Corn, Kale & Quinoa Salad with Tahini Dressing

bowl of salad with kale, corn, cherry tomatoes
Manali
This summer perfect fresh corn salad is packed with so many good things! It's drizzled with a tahini dressing and is also vegan and gluten-free.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 371 kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped kale massaged
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/2 cup red pepper chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion chopped
  • 2 ears corn husked and boiled
  • 10-12 grapes cut in half
  • 1/4-1/3 cup walnuts toasted & chopped
  • 1/3 cup parsley chopped, I use curly parsley

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup olive oil extra-virgin
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoons water 30-45 ml

Instructions
 

Make the dressing

  • First, let's make the dressing. To a bowl or measuring jar, add the tahini and 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Grate 2 cloves of garlic into the jar.
  • Now add dijon mustard, maple syrup, red wine vinegar, cumin powder, salt and pepper (to taste), lemon juice and 2 to 3 tablespoons cold water
    Stir it all together using a wire whisk until you have a creamy dressing. You can taste test and adjust the seasonings at this point. If it's too thick, you can also add additional water.

Make the salad

  • Take 2 cups of chopped kale, sprinkle a little salt and a touch of olive oil and massage it for 2 to 3 minutes. This makes the texture of kale softer and taste milder.
  • Then add it to a large bowl along with cooked quinoa, halved cherry tomatoes, chopped red pepper and chopped red onion.
  • Boil 2 ears of corn, I used an instant pot, placed 2 husked corn ears in the pot over a trivet with 1 & 1/2 cups water in the main inner pot and cooked on high pressure for 2 minutes. When the cooking cycle is finished, quick release the pressure by moving the pressure valve from sealing to venting position. Once cooled, cut the kernels off the cob.
  • Add the corn to the same bowl along with grapes, toasted walnuts and chopped parsley.
  • Once all the salad ingredients are added to the bowl, pour over the dressing. You will not need the entire dressing for this salad. I was left with around 1/2 cup of dressing, store the leftover dressing in the fridge for up to a week and use as needed.
  • Using a salad spoon and fork, mix until the dressing is well combined with the rest of the ingredients. I like to let this salad sit for 30 minutes for the flavors to mix in together and then serve. You can also serve it at room temperature. It can also be served cold.

Notes

  1. The cook time is the time it takes for cooking quinoa. Do all the prep work while the quinoa is cooking, so the total time remains 30 minutes. 
  2. The dressing recipe here makes a lot more than you need for this salad. Store the leftovers in a refrigerator and use throughout the week. After adding the required dressing for the salad, I was left with around 1/2 cup of it. This would vary depending on how much dressing you prefer in your salads.
  3. Skip the onions if making this for potlucks. Cut onions can sometimes have a very strong smell/taste when left for long and that can spoil the whole salad. If you are making this for a picnic or potluck a day before, then skip the onion. Of course, if you are making and taking it straight away to a picnic, then do add the onions!

Nutrition

Calories: 371kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 8gFat: 28gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gMonounsaturated Fat: 14gSodium: 276mgPotassium: 534mgFiber: 5gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 4562IUVitamin C: 78mgCalcium: 151mgIron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @cookwithmanali or tag #cookwithmanali!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating