Kristin’s Grilled Corn Salad with Lime Mayo, Cilantro and Radishes

Grilled Corn Salad with Lime Mayo, Cilantro and Radishes | A Sweet SpoonfulA few weeks ago we had our parent’s group over to the house for a barbecue and potluck in the backyard. We all have babies around the same age and they all go to bed around 7 pm which, frankly, makes for a very early barbecue, so we met in the late afternoon; Sam and I picked up sausages, beer and all the fixings and asked everyone else to bring a dish to share. The following day I started cooking from Kristin Donnelly’s new book, The Modern Potluck, and wished I’d started sooner as this corn salad would’ve been perfect to share: it’s got late summer, sweet August corn, effortless cooking written all over it. It’s smoky and a little bit creamy with a splash of lime and nice pops of color from the radishes and cilantro. Apparently Kristin was inspired here by the Mexican street snack elote, corn on the cob slathered with mayonnaise and cheese. And while I have to admit that I’ve never tried elote, if it’s anything like this salad, I’m 100% on board.  Grilled Corn Salad with Lime Mayo, Cilantro and Radishes | A Sweet Spoonful

I met Kristin for the first time last week when she was in town promoting her book, but I feel like I’ve known her forever. You may be familiar with her name from her long stint at Food and Wine — or perhaps you know her luscious lip balms. I think we first started chatting when she mentioned my granola in Food and Wine, and then we talked periodically about small business things and cookbook writing. When we met for pizza last week, conversation meandered over to motherhood as it tends to these days with my mama friends, and in many ways it was fitting as the impetus behind Kristin’s book really came to her after she had her daughter. In her introduction, she talks about it, and about lamenting the loss of big dinner parties: “After I had my daughter, Elsa, those types of dinner parties seemed not just daunting but also impossible. Because I couldn’t eat at restaurants as much as I used to, I felt that my social life was starting to fall apart. That’s when I remembered potlucks. What a brilliant idea! I could focus my energy on one dish and get a full meal in return, all the while hanging out with my friends or meeting my neighbors.”

Grilled Corn Salad with Lime Mayo, Cilantro and Radishes | A Sweet Spoonful

But that of course makes it sound so simple, right? Later Kristin recognizes this, noting how we live in tough times of diet restrictions and hashtagged food — there’s even that pressure to make a memorable dish maybe you’ll become known for. Something seasonal, something beautiful. And that’s where her book comes in: with some reassurance that simple potluck food can be inspiring, too. And in typical potluck fashion, she asked some friends and writers to contribute recipes to the book (my Chocolate Cherry Millet cookies are representing in the Sweets section!) I have to say that many of the recipes are also great new parent meals or simple ‘stock the fridge’ dinners that you can easily freeze and thaw when things get hectic, as they’re bound to do. In fact, there’s a whole chapter devoted to the 9×13 pan: pure genius.

Giveaway: Clarkson Potter/Random House & Corningware have teamed up to do a giveaway on the site today. One A Sweet Spoonful reader will win a copy of Modern Potluck plus a special delivery from Corningware. To enter: Leave a comment below telling me your go-to potluck or picnic dish. Giveaway ends August 30, 2016 at 9 am PST and is open to US readers only.

Grilled Corn Salad with Lime Mayo, Cilantro and Radishes

Grilled Corn Salad with Lime Mayo, Cilantro and Radishes

  • Yield: 8-12 servings
  • Prep time: 15 mins
  • Cook time: 10 mins
  • Inactive time: 5 mins
  • Total time: 30 mins

Grilling corn for this salad is really easy, but if you don’t have a grill (or grill pan), it’s not a problem: simply boil the ears of corn. Kristin advises not to use frozen kernels though, which tend to be less milky than corn freshly cut from the cob. I ended up halving this recipe as it makes quite a lot, and it worked beautifully, so if you have a smaller family or crowd you could go that route. And we found that while it’s certainly best eaten the day it’s made, the salad keeps just fine in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Recipe from: The Modern Potluck


8 medium to large ears of corn
2 teaspoons minced shallot
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (from 4-6 limes)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (sweet or hot)
1/2 cup crumbled or shredded cotija cheese or queso blanco
8 medium radishes, halved and thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
kosher salt


Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Pull back the corn husks but leave them attached; remove and discard all of the silks. Fold the husks back up over the corn. Grill the corn over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until the husks are well browned and black in spots and the corn is very hot, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter and let cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix the shallot with the lime juice and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk in the mayonnaise and paprika.

Using a serrated knife, cut the corn from the cobs (you should have about 8 cups of kernels). Add the corn and the cheese to the dressing and toss. Within 1 hour of serving, add the radishes and cilantro, season with salt, and serve.

POTLUCK PREP. The salad without the radishes and cilantro can be made earlier in the day and refrigerated. It can stand at room temperature for up to 2 hours.


  1. Allison

    Oh wow -- this looks great, and that IS a great & useful cookbook theme. I often cheat by bringing a lazy appetizer, usually goat cheese with olive oil-fried olives, capers, and lemon zest poured over and puddled around it.

  2. Emily

    My go-to is some kind of grain salad usually, or cookies which are always appreciated. This seems like a great cookbook!

  3. Lisa

    Kale salad with roasted vegetables and crumbled feta. I make a vinegrette dressing and let it marinate prior to serving

  4. Lisa

    My go to potluck is my version of mac and cheese. I use rigatoni and extra sharp cheddar and a crunchy buttery topping. Always a crowd pleaser!

  5. Eve

    It seems like I always end up bringing a dessert. I'm not a go-to dish kind of girl-- I like variety, and hate it when people get really attached to something I make, so that I have to then cook that thing over and over again. Lately I have felt that this big pan of gingerbread from Smitten Kitchen is ideal for groups (you must also bring a big container of homemade whipped cream!).

  6. bibi

    my favorite picnic dish is alice water's lime coleslaw, the recipe makes a massive amount and with no mayo it is perfect for a hot day!

  7. Barbara

    In summer with lots of zucchini in my garden, a favorite potluck dish of mine is a chocolate zucchini bundt cake.

  8. Hannah M.

    I like to make a super-herby grain salad with lots of mint and parsley and lemon; farro is a great base, plus some roasted whatever-vegetable-I-have-around and some canned chickpeas for another texture. I used to always bring cookies but since I went vegetarian I'd rather bring something savory to at least I know there'll be one thing that I can eat that's not sweet :)

  9. Sylvia

    I'm often tasked with dessert, and pie is my very favorite thing to share. I'll see what fruit is looking beautiful at the farmers market and go from there!

  10. Vanessa

    I tend to change it up since we go to a lot of potlucks, but over the years we've brought a version of jalepeño poppers more often than not. Really easy to prepare, mix equal parts cream cheese and grated cheddar, halve and de-seed jalepeños, stuff them with the cheese mixture and bake. I love spicy foods, which potlucks rarely feature, and these have a bite while still being mild enough for most people. Looks like a great cookbook - thanks for the description!

  11. Suzanne

    This is a wonderful time of year for potlucks due to seasonal veggies and fruits. I love sharing a good fruit cobbler which can be peach right now or marionberry. I also enjoy making grain salads that feature fresh veggies and beans like corn, black beans, red peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, thin red onion, etc. along with a homemade dressing that usually includes citrus ( lime) and some various types of vinegar and olive oil. Always good for potlucks. :)

  12. Laurel Slatt

    Caprese salad is a great one for late summer potlucks! we always love the potluck concept. Everyone gets to contribute, the host is relieved of some work and it makes for a great meal.

  13. Ashley

    Life's too short to have a go-to: it's a different dish each time. :)

  14. Brittney

    This book looks great. What parent (or anyone really) doesn't love a potluck?!

  15. Teresa

    During the summer, tomato-basil-avocado-leek chopped salad always seems welcome. For winter potlucks, a pot of Raghavan Iyer's Indian-inspired chili warms up the vegans and non-vegans without sacrificing flavor or heft!

  16. Laura

    This looks like a great salad! As for my go-to potluck dish, since I'm one of the few vegetarians in my circle of friends, I always feel compelled to bring something hearty to make sure I don't end up sadly eating potato chips for dinner. I often do a cuminy three-bean salad from Epicurious for bbqs. For brunches, I crack eggs into a baking pan with breadcrumbs, cheese, and whatever seasoning or salsa, and pop it in the oven till the whites are cooked.Yum!

  17. Ellen

    Lately, I've been taking veggies...sauteed greens, kale salad, beet & carrot slaw, etc. Seems like some potlucks are a little short on vegetables!

  18. Jenn

    My go-to potluck dish is a seasonal, savory galette: butternut squash, corn and tomato, spring greens. They transport easy and who doesn't like flaky crust with a filling?

  19. Alexandra

    Seasonal fruit salad ! Toss it together with a large handful of torn mint and squeeze a lime or two over the whole thing. Simple, easy and always a hit.

  20. Jenna

    It's either broccoli slaw or something fruit-based for dessert!

  21. Leslie

    Even though everyone seems to be tired of kale salad, I have one that people always ask me to bring to potlucks, so I do!

  22. sam-c

    This corn salad sounds fantastic. need to get some more corn and make this! My go to summer potluck recipe is an orzo pasta salad with feta, basil, cherry tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice and lemon zest. So easy and most people usually like it.

  23. Siobhan

    Potluck supper haves always made gatherings much more personal. Bringing part of the meal offers an intermediate sense of unity and comradery when you walk in the door. Now that we're retiring, it's definitely a long overdue tradition to renew. Thanks for the inspiration.

  24. Rachel Tilly

    I love to bring fresh guacamole to parties/potlucks...or a bowl of fresh fruit. This corn salad looks incredible--can't wait to try it!

  25. Marla

    A California sushi roll in a pan. Delicious!

  26. Margie

    My summer go-to is a tomato/couscous salad in which the juice of the freshest tomatoes "cooks" the couscous. Lots of herbs and onions - really luscious. I've never seen it on either US coast. The recipe came from a prior neighbor who spent time in France with her French husband and found the recipe in a French-only magazine.

  27. Rosa

    Yum! To winter potlucks, such as holiday parties, I generally bring blanched Brussels sprouts with shallot vinaigrette from Mark Bittman's Food Matters Cookbook. I haven't been to a summer potluck recently but I've been making variations on a sesame noodle recipe from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and I think that would be a great dish to bring to a picnic or cookout.

  28. Kate

    Wow, I could really use this book. I always sort of day dream about bringing some delicious thing to a potluck but then usually just grab some bread and hummus!

  29. Jon

    My family and I are all eyeing this dish and salivating! We just bought a bushel of sweet corn today so it should be in the works soon. One of our favorite potluck dishes is kale caesar salad (which I like to call a Kaesar salad).

  30. Kiran

    My Potluck dish at all times is cracked wheat salad with veggies, pickled lime and grilled halloumi cubes

  31. Valerie

    For brunch potlucks I bring baked oatmeal, Heidi Swanson's recipe. Later in the day a crunchy cabbage slaw with a light, fruity vinaigrette dressing or a loaf of homemade sourdough.

  32. Nancy F

    This book looks fantastic for ideas for potlucks - which in my world seem the way to go! I am usually asked to bring a fruit plate or deviled eggs - which I don't mind - but I'd love to change up the game and this book looks like a great way to do it.

  33. Tisa P

    This book sounds great! My three boys are 17-21 now, and the food game is ramped up to a fever pitch. Not as picky as when they were kids, they're into high-volume consumption nowadays, so delicious and filling food is what I'm looking for. My go-to dish for potlucks is a wild rice salad with sun-dried tomatoes I got out from the Angeli Caffé cookbook many years ago. Every place I have ever taken this to, the bowl comes home empty.

  34. Melissa

    i'm a huge potluck fan! i usually go the dessert route, and smitten kitchen's buttermilk raspberry cake is my go-to easy cake choice.

    1. megang

      I usually go the dessert route, too, Melissa. I often go the brownie route, but I'll have to check out this cake recipe - I love a good, simple cake. Thanks so much for the suggestion!

  35. Daphne S

    Smitten Kitchen's Chocolate Caramel Crack(ers)!

    1. megang

      Never tried them! Off to google them!

  36. Pam

    Sweet potato and cabbage slaw! A 2005 Eating Well recipe by Susan Herr. It was the first time I had eaten raw sweet potato and now is one of my favorite slaws.

    1. megang

      Gosh, Pam, I'm not sure I've had raw sweet potato. I'll have to check out this recipe. Thanks so much for the suggestion!

  37. Alesha

    I always do a corn pudding from one of my moms church books. It's always a hit.! The secret is it sour cream and creamed corn.! ☺️

    1. megang

      LOVE creamed corn! xox

  38. Christine Gordon

    My potluck dish is the famous Three Bean Casserole. You know it well!

    1. megang

      I DO know it well! xox

  39. Grace

    I'll be making this after my farmers' market trip tomorrow! My go to potluck dish is blueberry lemon cheesecake bars - they're easy to make and relatively healthy (substituting lots of yogurt for cream cheese etc)

    1. megang

      Those sound great, Grace! Especially this time of year with fresh blueberries. Have a great weekend!

  40. Heidi

    Pot Luck's are always a good excuse to make my Baked Beans. I've been know to eat them for B, L and S....we fight over the last bowl! They're made with butter beans, kidney and lima beans, molasses, apple cider vinegar, dry mustard, carmelized onions....too much good for one dish!

    1. megang

      Sounds awesome, Heidi! My mom made something very similar growing up. So good!

  41. Ashley M.

    I am one of those people who use potlucks to experiment with new dishes! You never know what I'll show up with! I bet this would be a HUGE hit at my next potluck!

  42. KIm

    I, for some reason, am usually asked to bring a salad so I use the opportunity to continuously try new ones. BUT, I oftentimes bring the hostess a gift in the form of Megan's Nutty Millet Breakfast Cookies (which I personally do not limit to breakfast time). So delicious!

    1. megang

      LOVE that recipe. We don't limit them to breakfast either :)

  43. Kristine

    Mark Bittmans' black bean, sweet potato salad. So good!

  44. Anna G

    My go-to potluck item tends to be sweet stuff that travels well - Smitten Kitchen's brown butter crispy treats, or brownies/blondies/cookies. The biggest crowd-pleaser, however, is a variation on Kim Boyce's Rustic Rhubarb Tarts from Good to the Grain. I make them in a mini muffin pan (instead of the larger free form tarts) so that one batch will feed more people. I've never had any leftovers when I bring these to a gathering!

    1. megang

      I love that Kim Boyce recipe, too! So delicious and so versatile depending on what's in season. Great one!

  45. Laura

    Oh, absolutely my mother's crab macaroni salad, which we call crack mac around my house and lasts less than 24 hours in my own fridge. It's magical. Will have to try elote sometime, mayonnaise and cheese sandwiches were my favorite growing up!

  46. Megan

    For work pot lucks I like to bring cheese and crackers, sounds boring but people seriously love cheese and crackers and it is so simple! Or a spinach and strawberry salad in summer with toasted silvered almonds is always a hit too!

    1. megang

      You can never have enough cheese, Megan!

  47. Sandra Lea

    My go to potluck dish is always some sort of grain salad. Being a vegetarian I always make sure I bring something that I myself can eat and that can also serve as a side dish for meat eaters. I love grains so I make whatever I have on hand, farro, wheat berries, etc. and mix it up with whatever veggies are in season and then add some fresh herbs and a light dressing. I can't wait to try this corn salad.

    1. megang

      This is very much how we eat, too, Sandra. I find when you have cooked grains on hand, seasonal salads come together so quickly. I actually just taught a cooking class on Summery Grain Bowls here in Seattle - you would've liked it!

  48. Sarah

    I like to make this lemony orzo salad. It has a bunch of summer vegetables and feta cheese.

  49. Shila

    When there's a potluck, I try to bring a savory veggie packed dish and often experiment with new recipes. My favorite potluck contribution is probably a turnip green tart from 101 Cookbooks--packed with greens but rich and festive!

    1. megang

      Oh savory tarts are so great, Shila. Always appreciated and often seem fancier than the effort they take to pull together. I'll have to check out this recipe!

  50. Cynthia

    Old fashioned "Jiffy Peach Cobbler" is my go to recipe and any fruit can be added or substituted, usually what's in season. I love potlucks and would love to own this cookbook.

  51. Kristin

    If we're talking summer potlucks I have two go-to recipes for dessert and one for a salad-y side. For dessert, I either do Carmelitas or, if stone fruit is in season, this recipe from Smitten Kitchen: I usually use nectarines and once even made it as a savory(ish) pre-dinner snack by using less sugar, adding more salt, steeping fresh sage in the brown butter and adding walnuts & fresh rosemary in the crumb. For a savory side I make a wheat berry salad we copied from a local organic market (it took a few tries, but we cracked the code!). Aside from the wheat berries (hard red/soft white/farro etc or a combo thereof) there are diced cukes & red peppers, dried cranberries, tons of parsley; all tossed with a vinaigrette.

    1. megang

      GOODNESS those sound amazing, Kristin. Deb never disappoints. And your grain salad sounds awesome - kind of like a fancy tabbouli. I like the sounds of it!

  52. Liza

    My go-to pot luck is the chilaquiles casserole recipe from The Moosewood Cookbook. It's incredibly flexible, and vegetarian, and even gluten free (though not dairy free so not perfect for everyone). It is always a big hit.

    1. megang

      Sounds wonderful, Liza. I just made a late summer vegetarian enchilada casserole - sounds similar. I'll have to check it out. The Moosewood Cookbook is always a classic!

  53. Allison

    I find that in Seattle, unlike in the Midwest where I grew up, at potlucks there are always a ton of salads and almost never enough desserts! I try to bring a sweet crowd pleaser to potlucks, like homemade brownies, Deb's blueberry crumb bars or a big fruit salad. That way I know my sweet tooth will always be taken care of.

    1. megang

      Good call, Allison! I think brownies are always a crowd pleaser at potlucks. I like to cut them into small little pieces and then people often stand and nibble away ... I'll have to check out Deb's blueberry bars.

  54. Rachel

    Yum, I'm bookmarking this to try!

    My go-to for a potluck dinner is Martha Stewart's Macaroni Cheese, sans croutons. It never, ever fails. I inevitably end up being asked for the recipe almost every time! As for picnics, the New York Times' Oatmeal Raisin Cookie recipe (via Sadelle's) is another genius no-fail. They always come out looking like they got burnt...but then they magically disappear after people taste them!

    Thank you so much for the giveaway.

    1. megang

      Rachel, we actually made this Mac and Cheese a few days ago (it's my Dad's go-to, too) and it was awesome. He mixed in some diced tomatoes which I don't think is true to the recipe but it was great. I'll have to check out those cookies! My husband's favorite cookie is an Oatmeal Raisin cookie. Thanks so much!

  55. Carla

    Id love the book! Sounds great :)

  56. Carla

    Oops, forgot to add my dish: my rhubarb is very big, so lots of rhubarb crisps :)

    1. megang

      The best, Carla! Lucky you!

  57. Karen P.

    Deviled eggs are my standard potluck contribution, as well as something baked: lemon Madeleine's, or The Almond, Mascarpone and Berry cake from the Macrina Bakery Cookbook.

    1. megang

      Karen, that Berry Cake sounds incredible! I don't consult the Macrina Bakery cookbook as much as I should. Good reminder

  58. Ali

    This dish looks amazing! My go to picnic dish is a farro salad or anything caprese. I am also known to bring a classic dessert such as brownies or a berry cobbler. Love your blog, Megan!

    1. megang

      Thanks so much, Ali! So appreciate the comment (and I love farro, as you likely know!)

  59. Mary

    You have me almost running out to go buy the book! If only to dream of a world where my friends have potlucks - though maybe they think their byob policy counts? I'm a baker by trade, so it's easiest for me to think of the sweets - salted honey peanut butter cookies, whole wheat linzer cookies, and also sheet cakes are a new favorite. Plus, I'm always required to supply the bread.

    1. megang

      I think byob counts for sure!

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