Salsa!!!! Oh how I love me some fresh zingy salsa, especially in the height of summer!! It's just so tasty and cool, especially during warm summer afternoons. Years ago, my mom came up with this recipe that's completely different from the traditional pico de gallo. She whipped together this special Corn & Tomato Salsa that brings together the best flavors of summer.

Before Trader Joe's started serving it in jars, I remember eating her salsa with fajitas for dinner and as a tasty app with chips. Then one time my mom made it when her friends came over and "the ladies" wouldn't stop raving about "Marcia's Corn Salsa!" Everyone asked if it was going to be served when they'd come over. If we were bringing a dish for a pot luck, you better bet Corn Salsa was their request. You'd think with all of the Corn Salsa appearances that I'd gotten sick of it, but I think I only started loving it more and more each time. The great thing about this recipe is is really celebrates the best ingredients of summer with fresh sweet tomatoes, corn, onion, and cilantro and is so easy to put together as an easy picnic/pot luck contribution.

When my friend invited us over for a vegetarian BBQ (our kind of BBQ!!!) he told us to bring some sort of appetizer. I'd just started seeing fresh ears of corn at the market, and knew it was time to initiate Chris and my friends to the infamous Corn Salsa. I made sure to grab some homemade tortilla chips at the market too, which always makes the salsa sing.

Mom's Corn Salsa

Makes a big serving of salsa!

  • 2 ears white corn, husked
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper
  • 1 pint fresh cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (to your liking)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 can black beans (optional, but my mom likes to include them!)


Chop bell peppers and add to a pan with a drizzle of olive oil. Cook for a few minutes on medium-high heat to begin to soften and char the peppers. Add a few shakes of paprika and a dash of cayenne to finish them off. They should still have a slight crunch to them when they're done. Let cool in a large bowl.

Shuck your corn making sure to get all the little hairs off, and place on your gas stove with the burner on. You might hear the kernels pop a little, but don't worry! It won't turn to popcorn if you rotate the ears every 20 seconds or so. Turn until all the sides are roasted and have black blistered kernels. If you've got a grill, go ahead and grill them (even better!) If you've got an electric stove, then don't worry about this step, you can just microwave your corn to cook it lightly for a few minutes. If you've got frozen corn, just be sure to nuke about 2 cups of kernels with some water until thawed and cooked.

To cut the fresh corn, off the cob, I like to place it in a wide shallow bowl and cut carefully down the length until all the kernels land nicely in your bowl. Alternatively, you can lay the ear on its side and cut that way to prevent kernels from flying everywhere. Once cut, add corn to bell peppers which should be cooled down by now.

Chop 1/4 of a red onion into and slice tomatoes in half or quarters. Chop your cilantro roughly and add to the bowl. To finish, add minced garlic, plenty of salt and pepper to taste, and juice of a lime over the mixture. Toss it all together and you get Corn Salsa! I'd recommend putting it in the fridge for at least 30 min after it's prepared for that coolness when enjoying chips.

ALTERNATIVES: My mom is big on subbing things with what you have. Sometimes she adds a can of drained and rinsed black beans for creaminess. Other times she adds fresh avocado or mango. I've made it before with some cotija cheese too which can add a richness to the salsa that make it a little more filling and creamy. Beyond pairing with chips, I'd also recommend adding the Corn Salsa to quinoa or couscous for a nice side dish or topping your grilled veggies, meats, or fish for an added freshness.