Summer Tomatoes are for more than Caprese! 🍅 Mix it up with a Tomato and Corn Salad!
While I’ll never never turn down a good Caprese salad (this version with heirloom tomatoes and burrata is my fave, it’s like the ULTIMATE Caprese!), sometimes it’s nice to have a fresh tomato salad that isn’t Caprese, y’know? There’s so much more you can do with summer tomatoes!
This particular tomato and corn salad is one of my go-to late summer recipes. I’ve been obsessed ever since trying a similar tomato salad by Joshua McFadden a few years back. I think you’re going to love it too! It consists of 4 key components that all scream summer: in-season cherry tomatoes, charred sweet corn, loads of fresh herbs, & toasty bread.
Aside from the fresh, in-season ingredients, what really makes this recipe shine is its dressing. Similar to classic panzanalla, soaking juicy tomatoes in olive oil & red wine vinegar creates a built-in tomato vinaigrette that layers each element with bright summer goodness. It explodes with fresh flavor, striking the perfect balance of fresh-yet-satisfying. It’s so good that sometimes it’s all I want for dinner on a hot summer evening!
Summer Tomato Salad Recipe Highlights
You’ll love this fresh tomato and corn salad because it is…
- FULL OF SUMMER FLAVOR. Juicy in-season tomatoes, sweet summer corn, & fresh basil are some of the best late summer ingredients. They all come together in this recipe to create a big burst of peak-summer flavor.
- FRESH & JUICY. Marinating fresh tomatoes in EVOO & red wine vinegar is the secret to this summer cherry tomato salad. It’s like a built-in tomato vinaigrette, & it layers every bite with irresistible juicy flavor.
- READY IN LESS THAN 30 MINUTES. Because it leans on in-season ingredients, this tomato and corn salad comes together quickly. You need a half hour or less to prep it – perfect for hot summer days & easy to prep ahead of time for a busy week or Saturday picnic!
Tomatoes + corn + basil…is there a more perfect marriage of summer flavor than that?! ♡ Read on to learn more about how to make Summer Tomato Salad with Charred Sweet Corn & Fresh Herbs, or jump straight to the recipe & get cooking!
Fresh Marinated Tomatoes are the Base of this Summer Salad
Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.
During the summer months, I love marinating tomatoes for everything from a tomato corn salad to a fresh tomato pasta. It’s the easiest way to bring out the juicy flavor of in-season tomatoes.
How to make marinated tomatoes. ⇢ Simply toss chopped tomatoes in some extra-virgin olive oil & red wine vinegar with a little salt & pepper. The salt draws out the moisture of the tomatoes, melding their natural juices with the fruity olive oil & zippy vinegar. All the flavors start to come together after about 20-30 minutes.
Why they’re the best. ⇢ Similar to preparing a classic panzanella, the marinated tomato juices create a built-in tomato salad dressing that coats the charred sweet corn & toasty bread cubes in juicy-sweet flavor. It brings the whole summer tomato corn salad together so everything tastes super fresh & flavorful – I swear, it tastes like warm summer sunshine! This simple move packs a big punch of flavor!
The Best Tomatoes for a Summer Salad
Any type of cherry, grape or smaller bite-sized tomato works well in this tomato salad recipe. Whether you pick them straight from your garden, out of your CSA basket, or off a market stand, it’s just important that the tomatoes are as fresh & juicy as possible in order to make the flavorful tomato vinaigrette.
My favorite tomatoes to buy at the grocery store are Sunset Grown’s appropriately named “Flavor Bombs”. These award-winning cherry tomatoes are greenhouse grown from seeds exclusively sourced in the south of France. They’re super sweet & make this summer tomato salad EXPLODE with flavor. I highly recommend grabbing them if you see them at the store!
A Few More Key Salad Components
Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.
The marinated tomatoes are the base of this salad, but there are 4 other components at play in this recipe: charred sweet corn, toasty croutons, chopped fresh herbs, & shaved parmesan. It might sound like a lot, but each is simple to prepare & comes together quickly while the tomatoes soak.
Toasty bread. Sourdough bread is my go-to for making these homemade croutons, but feel free to use whatever bread you love most. Slice the loaf into cubes, season with olive oil, salt, & pepper & toast the cubes in the oven for about 10 minutes. If you don’t feel like turning on the oven, feel free to toast the bread up on the grill or in a hot cast iron skillet!
Charred sweet corn. The easiest way to char sweet corn, by far, is over the gas burner on your stovetop. Remove the husks from the corn, then place each piece directly over a medium-high flame on your gas burner. Rotate the corn frequently to ensure every side is perfectly charred (it only takes a few minutes). If you don’t have a gas stove, feel free to grill the corn or toast it under the broiler in your oven.
Fresh basil. Or whatever leafy herbs are popping up in your garden – parsley & mint are also great choices here! To chop efficiently, roll a bundle of leaves together & carefully slice with a sharp knife. When you unroll the herbs they’ll be in thin, long pieces.
Shaved parmesan. Buy pre-shaved parmesan at the grocery store or feel free to shave a wheel of parmesan at home if you have one. Feel free to omit for a vegetarian/vegan summer cherry tomato salad, or replace it with your favorite rennet &/or dairy-free cheese.
Easy Tomato and Corn Salad Assembly & Meal Prep
Once you’ve marinated the tomatoes, charred the sweet corn, toasted the bread cubes, & sliced the basil, all you have to do is toss everything together. This summery tomato corn salad is as easy as that!
Assembly. ⇢ Add everything to the bowl that the cherry tomatoes have been marinating in to ensure every single drop of that tomato vinaigrette gets used. As you toss the ingredients, the tomato dressing soaks into the bread crumbs & coats the corn, basil, & parmesan cheese, building a cohesive summer cherry tomato salad. If you feel like it needs a little more zhuzh, feel free to add more cheese, herbs, salt, or pepper!
Tomato Salad Meal Prep Tips
Due to the toasty bread cubes, this summer tomato salad is best enjoyed immediately after assembly – I don’t recommend making it too far in advance!
The best way to make it ahead of time is to prep the components separately: marinate the tomatoes, char the sweet corn, & toast the croutons. Store everything separately & when you’re ready to serve you can just throw it all together. Easy!
Check the Recipe Notes, below, for more make-ahead & meal prep guidance!
Ready to Eat! Serving Your Fresh Tomato Corn Salad
The beauty of this tomato and corn salad is that it’s great with pretty much any summer dinner. I love to serve it as a seasonal side dish, but it’s also wonderful as a light meatless meal. (I often enjoy it when it’s super hot out & my appetite isn’t too big!) You can’t go wrong with summer tomatoes & corn. 💁🏻♀️
You can also serve this summer tomato salad with pretty much any grilled protein you love. Here are a few PWWB favorites that pair well with the salad’s summertime vibes…
- Grilled sausage – My favorite easy add-in for this summer cherry tomato salad. Something spicier, like fresh andouille, is amazing! Slice up a link of sausage & add it right to your bowl.
- Grilled lemon chicken – Bright & zippy, just like the juicy tomato marinade. The perfect pair!
- Tuscan steak – One of my favorite grilled summer proteins. Serve a smoky medium-rare steak with a summer tomato salad for the best at-home date night.
- Grilled pork tenderloin – Perfect for a summertime Sunday supper or a casual dinner party with friends!
I can’t wait for you to try this Summer Cherry Tomato Salad with Charred Sweet Corn & Fresh Herbs! It’s a longtime favorite here at the PWWB House, & I think you’re going to be obsessed with its light, fresh flavor, too!
If you do give it a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations! ♡ Happy cooking!
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Summer is Salad Season!
Finally – a summer tomato salad that isn’t Caprese! This Summer Tomato Salad with Charred Sweet Corn & Fresh Herbs has been one of my go-to late summer recipes ever since trying a similar tomato salad by Joshua McFadden a few years back. It consists of 4 key components, all of which absolutely burst with end-of-summer flavor: in-season cherry tomatoes, charred sweet corn, loads of fresh herbs, & toasty bread.
The element that really makes this salad shine is its panzanella-esque tomato dressing. When you marinate fresh summer cherry tomatoes in good extra virgin olive oil & red wine vinegar, everything melds together to create a built-in vinaigrette. It’s bright, zippy, & loaded with the juicy sweetness of peak-season tomatoes.
This cherry tomato salad is a great summer side dish, but it’s also hearty enough to make for a satisfying meal on its own whenever you’re craving something a little lighter. Be sure to check out the blog post, above, for some serving suggestions & easy recipe variations. ♡ Enjoy!
- 12 ounces cherry tomatoes or summer tomatoes of choice, quartered or cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped or grated
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 4 ounces sourdough bread, sliced into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 ears sweet corn, shucked
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs (such as basil, mint, chives, etc.)
- 1/2 cup shaved asiago or parmesan
- kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F, ensuring a rack is positioned in the center of the oven. Gather & prep ingredients according to Ingredients list, above.
- Marinate the tomatoes: Add the tomatoes to a large bowl with garlic, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, & the red wine vinegar. Season with a heaping 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt & ground black pepper, as desired. Toss well to combine. Set aside to marinate & meld for 20-30 minutes.
- Toast the bread cubes: Place the sourdough cubes on a small baking sheet. Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over top, seasoning with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Toss to coat. Transfer to oven & toast 12-15 minutes, until nicely browned. Set aside for salad assembly.
- Char the sweet corn: Place the sweet corn directly over gas burner. Light to a medium-high flame & cook about 2 minutes per side or until as charred as desired. Transfer to a cutting board & carefully slice kernels away from the cob. Set aside. (If you do not have a gas stove, you can also char the corn on an outdoor grill, in a grill pan, or under the broiler.)
- Assemble the summer tomato salad: Add the toasted bread, charred sweet corn kernels, chopped fresh herbs, & shaved cheese to bowl with marinated tomatoes. Toss to combine well. Taste & season with additional kosher salt & ground black pepper as needed. Serve immediately, topped with additional shredded cheese or fresh herbs as desired. Enjoy!
- Vegetarian &/or vegan summer tomato salad: This summer tomato salad recipe is naturally meatless. For a vegetarian version, omit the asiago/parmesan or use your favorite rennet-free asiago/parmesan. To take it a step further & make it vegan, opt for your favorite dairy-free asiago/parmesan instead or omit cheese altogether.
- Make-Ahead & Storage:
- Make-Ahead Instructions: This summer tomato salad is best enjoyed fresh, immediately upon assembly. If you’d like to make it ahead of time, for meal prep or a summer gathering, I suggest prepping the components in advance – marinate the tomatoes according to Step 2 of Recipe Directions, toast the bread according to Step 3, & char the sweet corn according to Step 4. Store everything in separate airtight containers. At dinnertime, simply toss together as directed in Step 5.
- Storage Instructions: While best enjoyed fresh, summer tomato salad leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Enjoy leftovers cold or at room temperature.
Keywords: summer tomato salad recipe, salad with cherry tomatoes, marinated tomato salad, homemade croutons, sweet corn salad recipe, summer salad with tomatoes and sweet corn
Recipe and Food Styling by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Rachel Cook, Half Acre House.