This giant summer salad is piled high with grilled chicken, sweet corn, tomatoes, and mozzarella and drizzled with a flavor-packed pesto vinaigrette.
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The first gorgeous days of summer are finally here! Nothing excites me more than swapping out my boots for sandals, switching my sweaters out for sundresses, and inviting some friends over to fire up the grill. Here in the Northeast, winter can be brutally long so any day when the sun is shining seems like a good reason to celebrate!
This is the time of year that I always fall in love with cooking again. Fresh produce is abundant and it seems like there are endless options for fresh, healthy meals. Plus, standing over the grill with my tongs in one hand and aDiet Coke® in the other is way more fun than standing over the stove in my tiny, dark kitchen. It feels like playing!
I picked up a giant package of super sweet corn on the cob on a recent trip to Sam’s Club. After grilling it with lime-cayenne butter and making my favorite chorizo, corn, and zucchini pizza, my thoughts turned to salad. I had also picked up what I’m pretty sure is the world’s largest bag of croutons (which are delicious and taste like super crunchy cubes of garlic bread), so I’m honestly surprised it took me so long.
I absolutely adore the combination of sweet corn, tomatoes, and basil so I used that combo to inspire this giant salad. It’s enough to feed a crowd, or you can package it up and have salad for lunch all week long.
I started by mixing up a quick marinade to give my chicken a ton of flavor and keep it moist as it grilled. I used a combination of mustard, apple cider vinegar, oil, and Italian seasoning. You could also use Italian dressing if you have a bottle in the fridge. At the last minute, I decided to brush the corn with some of the marinade, too. It was definitely a good move and the sugars in the dressing caramelized and gave the corn a great char.
While the chicken marinated, I cut a pint of grape tomatoes in half, drained some fresh mozzarella balls, and made my dressing. I took a shortcut and started with prepared pesto, but later in the summer when my herb garden is in full swing I’ll use my favorite homemade pistachio pesto. Since store-bought pesto already has oil in it, I just needed to add some vinegar to thin it out into an amazing dressing that’s insane over all of that fresh produce.
Grill the chicken and corn, then pile everything on top of a big platter filled with your favorite salad greens. Serve it up with a selection of your favorite beverages and say hello to your new favorite summer meal.
Grilled Chicken and Sweet Corn Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 6 ears Member’s Mark Super Sweet Cob Corn
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup Member’s Mark Twice Baked Seasoned Croutons
- 6 ounces small fresh mozzarella balls
For the dressing
- 1/4 cup prepared basil pesto
- 4-6 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar, to taste
In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, mustard, brown sugar, garlic, Italian seasoning, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Brush some of the marinade over the corn cobs; set aside. Add the chicken to the bowl with the remaining marinade and turn to coat. Cover and let sit 1 hour.
Meanwhile, prepare the vinaigrette by mixing together the pesto and vinegar to taste. Season with cracked black pepper.
Heat your grill to medium high. Add the chicken and cook over direct heat for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through. After about 5 minutes, add the corn to the grill and cook 10 minutes or until lightly charred. Remove from the grill and let cool slightly. When the corn is cool enough to handle, cut the kernels away from the cob.
Spread the salad greens over a large platter. Top with grilled chicken, corn, tomatoes, mozzarella, and croutons. Serve with pesto vinaigrette.
I am not a certified nutritionist. Nutrition information calculated using myfitnesspal is provided as a courtesy, but will vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients you use. Information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional advice by certified health professionals; please consult with your doctor regarding specific health needs.