Smoky Corn Salad Recipe

An earthy, flavorful dish for end-of-the-season celebrations.
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This colorful corn salad gets a hint of smokiness from grilled corn, jalapeño, scallions, and a touch of smoked paprika. It can sit for a while without wilting, thanks to the sturdiness of the kale. © 2023 by Susan Spungen/ excerpted and adapted from Veg Forward (Harper Celebrate).


  • 4 large ears corn, shucked
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 12 scallions, trimmed
  • 3⁄4 c. Greek yogurt
  • 2 T lime juice
  • 1⁄2 c. roughly chopped cilantro
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 c. shredded lacinato kale (stripped from the stems of about 6 large leaves)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (or quartered if large)
  • 3 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1⁄2 tsp. smoked paprika, plus more for finishing


  1. Heat a grill to medium-high. Wrap 2 ears of corn and 1 tablespoon butter in a snug packet with heavy-duty foil. Repeat with the other 2 ears.
  2. Place the foil-wrapped ears directly on the grill and cook for 5 to 6 minutes on each side. Place the jalapeño on a cooler spot on the grill and cook for about 8 minutes, turning till evenly browned. Open one of the corn packets to make sure the corn is caramelized and brown; if not, turn the heat to high and grill for another 2 minutes on each side. Remove from the grill, open the foil packets, and let the corn cool somewhat.
  3. Lay the scallions perpendicular to the grill grates and cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, until charred, then cut into 1-inch lengths and set aside. Finely chop the jalapeño, discarding the seeds.
  4. Using a sharp knife, cut the kernels from the cobs into a large wooden bowl (see note below). In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, lime juice, and cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the chopped jalapeño a little at a time, tasting as you go to get the right heat level.
  5. Add the kale, half the scallions, half the tomatoes, half the feta, the smoked paprika, and the dressing to the bowl with the corn and toss to combine thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the remaining scallions, tomatoes, and feta. Generously sprinkle smoked paprika over the top. Serves 4 to 6.

Kernels Without the Cleanup

A large, shallow wooden salad bowl is optimal for cutting corn from the cob, as it catches any errant corn kernels and also doubles as a gentle landing for your knife. Stand the cob on end (trimming it at the base if necessary to make a stable surface) and cut straight down with your knife as close to the cob as possible to remove the kernels.

Text and photography © 2023 by Susan Spungen/ excerpted and adapted from “Veg Forward” (Harper Celebrate).

The print version of this article appeared with the headline: Summer and Smoke.