Corn on the cob is a must-have for summertime grilling or backyard cookouts. The juicy, sweet corn kernels burst with flavor in your mouth. But why stop at just corn on the cob? You can elevate your meal further by pairing it with other side dishes. What goes good with corn on the cob?
This article will explore six side dishes that perfectly complement corn on the cob and can take your dining experience to the next level.
6 Classic BBQ Favorites That Go Well With Corn on the Cob
Dish #1: Grilled Vegetables: A Timeless Side Dish for Corn on the Cob
Corn on the cob pairs well with vegetables like zucchini, eggplants, and bell peppers. These assorted veggies add a burst of flavor and provide a delightful contrast to the sweetness of the corn.
When grilled, the various vegetables combine to create a medley of textures and flavors for a satisfying dining experience.
You can further enhance the taste of the grilled vegetables by seasoning them to your liking. For example, try different spice blends, herb blends, oil, or a drizzle of lemon juice. Don’t just use the same seasoning every time, either.
Try experimenting with some you have never tried before. Take a step out of your culinary box, so to speak. You will be surprised by how unlimited your options are.
To achieve perfectly grilled vegetables, preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables. Wash them, trim the rough ends, and cut them into evenly-sized slices. Season them and place them on the grill.
You can place your prepared veggies directly onto the preheated grill grate, in a grilling basket, or on skewers. Maintain the recommended heat level for the vegetables and keep a close eye to ensure they achieve your desired char level without burning or overcooking.
Serve and plate the grilled veggies alongside your grilled corn on the cob and enjoy a delicious, satisfying, and nutritious meal.
Dish #2: Keep It Simple With Homemade Coleslaw
Traditional cabbage-based coleslaw is another excellent choice to pair with corn on the cob. Its crispy texture, tangy taste, and sweet flavors beautifully complement the sweetness of the corn. It is easy to make, and you can customize it to suit your tastes.
Traditional cabbage coleslaw contains grated fresh carrots and cabbage dressed with mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, and your preferred seasonings. To customize your slaw, try adding ingredients like grated red onion and peppers.
Adding grated or thinly sliced apples can turn a traditional slaw into a sweet and delicious one. The apples add a burst of fruity sweetness.
You can adjust the dressing ingredients to make it sweeter, creamier, or tangier. For example, try out a tangy vinaigrette dressing instead of making the traditional creamy dressing for coleslaw.
Whether you prefer the fruity and sweet notes of apple slaw or the tangy and refreshing taste of vinaigrette coleslaw, both offer new and exciting flavors that pair well with corn on the cob.
Simply scoop up a generous amount of your preferred homemade coleslaw, plate it next to your perfectly charred corn on the cob, and enjoy the delightful harmony of the textures and tastes.
Dish #3: Watermelon and Feta Salad – A Refreshing Summer Side Dish
Another way to complement corn on the cob is with a fresh and vibrant salad. A well-crafted salad offers a variety of flavors, textures, and colors that balance out the corn on the cob perfectly.
You can make a vegetable-only salad or add fruit. Crispy vegetables go well with corn on the cob and add a vibrant crunch. Cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, radishes, and cucumbers are all delicious additions that go well in this salad.
Top your salad off with fragrant mint leaves to add vibrancy. For the best results, go for fresh ingredients. Cut up the juicy watermelon into bite-sized cubes, then crumble some feta cheese. Tear a handful of fresh mint leaves and sprinkle them generously on the salad.
You can add more depth to the salad with crumbled feta cheese, toasted nuts, or sliced avocado. Get creative and play with the ingredients you have or those you found in season at the market. Finally, tie the salad together with a delicious dressing.
To balance out the flavors, drizzle a tangy dressing on top. Mix red wine vinegar, olive oil, and salt for a simple dressing. This watermelon and feta salad is a fantastic complement to your fresh corn on the cob and a refreshing snack or meal perfect for those summer day gatherings.
Dish #4: Classic Macaroni and Cheese for a Delightful, Creamy Pairing
If you prefer corn on the cob with your favorite comfort foods, your best bet is classic macaroni and cheese. Its creamy and gooey sauce is an indulgent contrast to the natural sweetness and crispiness of the corn.
You can use your favorite cheese or a blend of different cheeses. Add a personal touch to it with crispy bacon or sauteed onions. If you want a kick of heat, add jalapenos. For added texture, sprinkle on some seasoned breadcrumbs. Feel free to experiment with different seasonings to create a more enjoyable meal.
Dish #5: Going Global With Mexican Street Corn
If you are up for an adventure, try the bold tastes of Mexican street corn. It is a Mexican street food packed with flavor. It is popularly known as “elote.” This is technically a side dish that incorporates corn on the cob, but it’s so delicious that I couldn’t leave it out.
Elote is made by grilling or roasting corn on the cob until it becomes tender and develops a beautiful char.
To make this Mexican corn, your roasted corn on the cob is slathered with a generous amount of mayonnaise and sour cream. The mayonnaise and sour cream mixture is then topped with crumbled Cotija cheese, a traditional Mexican cheese.
Cotija cheese has a tangy and salty taste that complements the savory element in the mayonnaise and the sweetness of the corn.
For an additional burst of tang and citrus flavor, squeeze fresh lime juice over the corn. Or sprinkle chili powder or cayenne pepper to add smokiness and a kick of heat.
Traditionally, elote is finished with a sprinkle of chopped fresh cilantro, adding a vibrant freshness and an herbaceous note. Each bite presents a symphony of flavors and textures for you to enjoy.
Ready for another tip? You can make a Mexican street corn salad using canned corn if you no longer have fresh corn on the cob on hand, or you can cut the corn kernels away from the cob and add the other ingredients.
Dish #6: Quinoa Salad – A Wholesome Side Dish for the Health-Conscious
A quinoa salad is a great nutritious and wholesome side dish option. This refreshing salad is packed with protein, fiber, and an array of nutrients.
The cooked quinoa is the star of the salad. It forms a light, fluffy base for other vegetables, dressings, and herbs.
Add colorful and crunchy vegetables like bell pepper, cucumber, red onion, and cherry tomato. Then add a touch of freshness with chopped herbs like parsley, cilantro, and mint.
Top off your quinoa salad with a tangy dressing made with garlicky olive oil and lemon juice to enhance its flavors and add a zesty kick. You can also use a balsamic vinaigrette. Feel free to customize the salad to your liking. For example, add avocado, crumbled feta cheese, or toasted nuts and seeds.
No matter what you crave, many side dishes go well with corn on the cob. The corn on the cob’s natural sweetness and crisp texture is super versatile. You can pair it with various ingredients to create a harmonious and tasteful meal.
Corn on the cob pairs well with classic side dishes such as grilled vegetables, homemade coleslaw, or macaroni and cheese. It also goes well with watermelon feta salad and quinoa salad if you want a lighter and more refreshing meal.
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