Quite possibly the easiest summer salad with the biggest reward, this fresh-tasting bowl comes together in minutes and has been a favorite with readers–and my family–for years!
Summertime cooking should be easy. Ideally, it should also be fresh, crisp, and flavorful.
This salad is all of those things. It’s also the reason why I always cook a few extra ears of corn whenever it’s on the menu.
I actually pluck a few ears from the pot and place them out of site so my corn-loving family doesn’t eat them all. They’ve been known to consume a lot of corn on the cob!
As a quick and easy go-to for me and a long-standing family favorite, the salad was an early addition to this blog and one of the first recipes I shared in my newspaper column.
Recently, a reader told me that she’s been making this every summer since (that would have been 2012), and that she once showed up to a neighborhood potluck and there were three bowls of this very same salad on the serving table!
My mother-in-law is also a big fan of this fresh-tasting salad. When we visit my in-laws in the Poconos of Pennsylvania every summer, we always bring dinner for the first night, making sure to include corn on the cob. Leftovers are then converted into this satisfying salad for easy lunch options over the next several days.
As a meal-planning side note, chicken steeping in this 3-ingredient marinade is often what I bring with the corn (my in-laws adore it!). We grill it and use those leftovers for chicken salad. A simple green salad－oftentimes this crisp strawberry and avocado-studded number－rounds out the meal nicely. (The dressing included with the linked salad is fantastic, although it requires a blender; you can use the same salad ingredients with this equally delicious dressing－my younger son has proclaimed it his favorite－for quicker prep.)
The sunny corn and cucumber salad pairs well with chicken, fish, steak, and virtually any protein you may choose to serve. Think of it as a welcome alternative to potato or macaroni salad when grilling hamburgers and hot dogs. It’s light, garden-fresh, and people are always surprised when they find out how darn simple it is.
To reinforce how easy it is, I never measure a thing anymore. It really is that kind of recipe.
For the sake of recording it here, however, I did provide specific guidelines for those who prefer them. But don’t hesitate to add more or less of anything according to taste.
Truth be told, as the summer moves along and my basil plants grow, I tend to add increasingly more basil. We can count that as a serving of leafy greens, right?
On occasion, I’ve taken to adding a can of drained canned tuna ⇧⇧ or wild salmon.⇩⇩ It’s a simple way to make a heart-healthy, protein-rich meal out of the salad and ideal for a quick lunch or cool dinner on a warm summer night.
Chopped avocado and a sprinkle of lightly salted sunflower seeds or pepitas adds yet another layer when turning the salad into a light entree. A side of sliced, vine-ripened tomatoes or a piece of zucchini bread provides a nice finishing touch.
And how can I forget the original photo? ⇩⇩
- 3 cups cooked corn, cut from cob (about 5 medium ears)
- 1½ cups cucumber, peeled and seeded (about 1 large cucumber)
- ½ cup fresh basil, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh chives, chopped
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Place the corn in a mixing bowl.
Chop the cucumber into pieces that are roughly the same size as the corn kernels, and add to bowl.
Add the remaining ingredients and toss lightly to incorporate. The small amount of mayo will mix with the milkiness of the fresh corn and create a light, flavorful dressing.
This recipe can be made with any amount of leftover corn. Feel free to add more herbs to taste and/or eyeball the amount of mayo and other ingredients. You can’t mess this one up! At various times, I’ve also made this salad with halved grape tomatoes, chopped avocado, and/or cooked (even canned) salmon stirred in. The options are many, but the simplicity of the original is truly divine.
recipe originally posted 6/26/12
I made this on a whim because my chives are growing like crazy and I wanted to find a recipe that utilizes them. I honestly didn’t have high expectations just based on the simple ingredients and I didn’t know how they’d be all together. I am blown away. This is excellent. Thanks you for such a wonderful recipe! I’ll be making this all summer.
Hi Teresa, Your comment made my day! I’m thrilled this was an unexpected hit and that it will be a good way to enjoy those fresh chives all summer long.
I love your recipes. They get the most compliments from my family.
This would be good with a lime vinegrette.
Thank you so much, Valerie, and a lime vinaigrette would be wonderful!
So want to try the corn, cucumber salad with chives & basil but hubby refuses to eat cucumber. Any ideas for a substitute?
Hi Joan, I might try finely chopped celery, or half finely chopped celery and half zucchini. Mild radishes could work, too. I might use a little less of them though. If you try, feel free to report back!
I love this salad.. I sometimes add crumbled feta to it
Brilliant idea, Kathleen! How have I never done this myself?
This was delicious! Never would have thought of this combo!
It’s somehow so perfect in its utter simplicity! So happy you enjoyed it, Gina!