This Grilled Corn Zucchini Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese is inspired by a recipe from Food & Wine Magazine. To take the salad to the next level, I added a buttery pan-seared scallop and cilantro micro greens. Completing this salad is the light and creamy roasted garlic mayonnaise salad dressing made with one of my favorite Greek Olive Oils from Melies.
Blog post contains affiliate links. Read our Disclosure Policy
Recently I was in New York City visiting my sister, nieces and my beautiful mother. I also met the newest member of the family, my nephew Manuel Alejandro. He is adorable. I have five nieces, and he is the first baby boy. With the whole weekend full of “family time,” I still squeezed in some time to write this blog post for Grilled Corn Zucchini Orzo Salad. Here’s how it all played out...
The first day in NYC I took my mother and my two nieces to Chelsea Market. That's one of my favorite places to visit. We had a fantastic day checking out the different shops and restaurants, especially an Italian restaurant located on the right side of the main entrance. They serve freshly made pasta, and you can even buy the pasta at their shop to take home. We had dinner here, but before, we had a peaceful and beautiful walk on The High Line, also known as High Line Park. The High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. It's 1.45-mile-long (2.33 km) and runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues.
The second day my sister took me to Eataly at their NYC Flatiron location. It was my first time there, and I fell in love. This is my kind of store with gourmet products, fresh and beautiful vegetables and fruits, and restaurants all around the store in a very casual environment. I wish Miami would have something similar because I would be their best customer. I loved Eataly so much that we went back again on the final day of my trip. Luckily while I waited for my sister to pick me up, I sat at another of my favorite places, Rustic Table, and had breakfast and wrote this blog post.
My Inspiration that became this Grilled Corn Zucchini Orzo Salad
Now, it's time to talk about this Grilled Corn Zucchini Orzo Salad. The salad takes around 45 minutes to prepare from start to finish, and it's worth it. I don't really have a planning calendar for when each recipe is made, or the recipes I want to make. My inspiration in creating or adapting recipes comes from different sources. The first source is opening my fridge or pantry and seeing whatever half used jar or leftover product I have sitting in there. The second inspirational source is whatever ingredients are in season. I also get inspired by looking at recipes in magazines, and sometimes even other food bloggers.
My inspiration for this recipe was the in season fresh corn and zucchini, and the fresh cilantro micro greens from my friends at MicroGreens. Also, I had some homemade roasted garlic mayonnaise for a recipe I'm testing with Cuban flavors called “Arroz Imperial.” I still have to do some upgrades to that recipe before I can release it to you. It's one of my favorite Cuban foods and you will love it too. How to make the roasted garlic mayo is in the recipe notes below. Besides all that, the package of MicroGreens was open as well because I just finished making and writing about another salad, Yellow Pea Shoot Salad Recipe with Champagne Mustard Vinaigrette.
Preparing the Grilled Corn Zucchini Orzo Salad
Let's cook now! First, we boil the corn ears for about eight minutes. Then, I grilled them on my indoor electric grill until charred. You can omit the boiling step and go directly to the grill but they will take around 15 minutes to cook. Let cool and then cut the kernels off the cobs. I love to use my kitchen gadgets and this time I got a new Corn Peeler.
Cut the zucchini into thin circles and grill them until you see the grill marks on each side, six minutes total. I prefer to eat the zucchini still with a bit of crunchiness. For presentation purposes, I cut the circles in half. Place the corn and zucchini in a large bowl until you are ready to assemble the salad.
Cook the orzo al dente as per package instructions. Using a colander, drain the orzo and spread it onto a baking sheet lined with a paper towel or kitchen towel. Meanwhile in a mixing bowl, add the roasted garlic mayonnaise, Melies Olive Oil (click to buy in our online shop), lemon juice, shallot, chili powder, salt, pepper and a ½ cup of cilantro micro greens or chopped regular cilantro. Mix until is well combined. In the large bowl with the corn and zucchini, add the orzo and the dressing and combine.
The last step is to pan sear the scallops with olive oil. When you cook the scallops, the pan should be smoking hot. The only seasoning you will need is salt & pepper. Place them gently in the pan and don't touch them until you are ready to turn them to the other side. Cook for 1 & ½ minutes per side. Do not overcook them!!!!
Plate the grilled corn zucchini orzo salad into a dish and place the seared scallop on one side. Sprinkle chunks of goat cheese, and for me, more cilantro micro greens, just because I love the taste of these tiny greens.
Wine to go with Grilled Corn Zucchini Orzo Salad
If you are a wine drinker, serve with a citrusy white wine like:
- Chardonnay - typical taste: Green apple, citrus, pineapple, papaya
- Pinot Blanc - typical taste: Green apple, citrus
- Riesling - typical taste: Green apple, citrus, apricot, peach, honeysuckle
- Sauvignon/Fumé Blanc - typical taste: Grass, herb, citrus, pineapple, peach
Honestly, the grilled corn zucchini orzo salad is one of the best salad recipes. This salad has an excellent texture combination with creamy, tender and crunchy bites. The roasted garlic mayonnaise dressing is creamy, but it's light on the mayonnaise. The tangy aftertaste from the goat cheese and the peppery taste from the micro cilantro create the perfect nibble. The pan-seared scallops are the best match for this salad with their delicate taste and buttery texture.
I'm so happy and proud of the photos for this Grilled Corn Zucchini Orzo Salad because every ingredient looks as good as it tastes, and tastes as good as it looks. Also, the dish looks stunningly displayed on the new Playground Collection from my friends at Bauscher USA. I sent them the pictures before the release of this post, and they love the whole composition of the photos. They shared on their Instagram account and in their internal monthly newsletter in the social spotlight section. I feel so thrilled about this shutout.
This month is “clean eating month” in our home with a series of salads and healthy dishes. Geoffrey’s not so happy about it, but he’s not the one cooking. As you know, autumn is just around the corner and the fall season it's all about pumpkin, decadent desserts, and fabulous meals....but we will still try to bring you a few healthy dishes. (Don’t tell Geoffrey!)
You can also check out these other salad recipes:
- Mediterranean Orzo Salad with Tuna, Artichoke & Sun-dried Tomatoes
- Santa Fe Salad Dressing on a Rainbow Salad
- Classic Nicoise Salad with Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette
- Simple Heirloom Tomato Salad | Summer Salad
And, if you have some grilled corn leftover, why not make the best guacamole ever.
Your Recipe Concierge
UPDATE: This recipe is part of the 11 Best & Favorite Summertime Grilling RecipesPrint
Grilled Corn Zucchini Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese & Seared Scallop
- Total Time: 45
- Yield: 5 1x
This salad is one of the best recipes I have ever made. This Grilled Corn Zucchini Orzo Salad has a creamy texture from the orzo and the garlic mayonnaise dressing, yet the salad dressing is light on mayonnaise. The grilled corn and zucchini are excellent additions to the texture with a tender and crunchy bite. The salad is topped a tangy flavor from the goat cheese, and the fresh cilantro micro greens. These micro greens have a more subtle taste than the full grown-up cilantro leaves. The cilantro micro greens have a peppery taste and a hint of grassiness.
- 3 ears of corn, shucked. *See notes below if you don't have corn on the cob.
- 1 pound small zucchini, cut into circles
- ¼ cup & ½ Tablespoon EVOO, separated. I use Melies Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- salt & pepper
- ½ pound orzo
- ¼ cup homemade roasted garlic mayonnaise *See notes below for easy recipe
- 3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 Tablespoon minced shallot
- ½ teaspoon guajillo pepper, or chili powder
- 1 ½ cups cilantro MicroGreens or coarsely chopped cilantro. I highly recommend MicroGreens if you can find it near you. *See notes below.
- 2 ounces fresh goat cheese
- 3 scallops per person
Cooking the Corn: Option 1
- In a 6-quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, fill half way with water and bring to a boil. Add the corn ears and cook for about eight minutes. In a grill pan or an indoor electric grill, finish cooking the corn until it's charred. Let it cool and cut the kernels off the corncobs. Transfer to a large bowl.
Cooking the Corn: Option 2
- Turn on the indoor electric grill or heat a grill pan. Place the corn on a baking sheet and brush them with olive oil. Grill over 350-degree heat until charred and crisp-tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool. Cut the kernels off the corncobs. Transfer to a large bowl.
Cooking the Orzo:
- In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the orzo until al dente. Drain well and spread the orzo out on a baking sheet; pat dry with paper towels. Transfer to the bowl with the zucchini and corn.
Making the Dressing and pouring on salad:
- In a large mixing, whisk the mayonnaise with the remaining three Tablespoons of olive oil and the lime juice, shallot, chile powder and ½ cup of the cilantro; season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour the dressing over the orzo, corn, zucchini and the remaining micro cilantro and mix well. Transfer to a platter.
Cooking the Scallops and finishing the salad:
- Season the scallop with salt & pepper.
- Pan sear the scallops in a smoking hot pan and add a ½ Tablespoon olive oil, or butter.
- Place them gently in the pan and don't touch them until you have to turn them to the other side, 1 & ½ minutes per side. Do not overcook them!!!!
- Place the scallops onto the plate and add chunks of goat cheese and sprinkle more micro cilantro.
- Use frozen corn if you don't have fresh corn and sauté in a hot skillet until getting golden burnt color. Tip: 3 ears of fresh corn is equal to 2-¼ cups of frozen corn kernels
- To make homemade Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise, roast a head of garlic drizzled with olive oil and salt in the oven at 350F for 45 minutes. Then take one clove of the roasted garlic, chop and mash and combine with ½ cup of mayonnaise. Modify number of cloves and amount of mayo depending on how much you love garlic.
- Cilantro micro greens have a more subtle taste than the full grown cilantro leaves. The cilantro micro greens have a peppery bite and a hint of grassiness.
Vitamin A 6%, Vitamin C 42%, Calcium 5%, Iron 11%, Vitamin B12 4%, Vitamin E 9%, Vitamin K 18%
- Prep Time: 25
- Cook Time: 20
- Category: Lunch, Dinner, Salad
- Method: frying
- Cuisine: American, International
- Calories: 478
- Sugar: 6.6 g
- Sodium: 192.5 mg
- Fat: 17.8 g
- Saturated Fat: 4.8 g
- Carbohydrates: 37.1 g
- Fiber: 4.7 g
- Protein: 33.4 g
- Cholesterol: 13.3 mg
Available via these Amazon links:
Disclaimer: Links that open in another site, i.e. Amazon, may be affiliate links where at no additional cost to you, we may receive a small commission should you decide to purchase the item. Read our Disclosure Policy
I made this tonight as I have an abundance of corn and zucchini! Delicious! I added toasted pine nuts 😊 This is a keeper!
Geoffrey @ Spoonabilities
That sounds like a great addition Karen! Happy to hear you tried this recipe. Enjoy!
Hannah F Healy
Yum! I love anything with goat cheese! This sounds like the perfect fresh summer dish.
I'm the same.. Anything with cheese I'm all in:). I hope you get to try this recipe because it's really amazing!
Amy | The Cook Report
Love this flavour combination and the scallops look perfect
Yes, everything in this recipe is perfection. You should try it:)
What an amazing side dish! So light and flavorful; it's perfect for summer dinners!
Hope you try it this summer Sara with all your other summer dishes.
This corn salad is perfect to serve with seafood as you have done or a side for a cookout. Corn on the cob can be so messy, but this lets you enjoy all the great flavors without the mess.
You got it Vicky. Serve it with any seafood, or as a side for your BBQs. Everyone loves grilled corn off the cob.
This is the best recipe! I agree even though the salad takes about 45 minutes it is totally worth it and serving it with perfectly seared scallops is wonderful!
Thanks Pam. Yes, it's not one of our "Easy 1-2-3" recipes, but definitely worth the extra time. You and your family will love it.
I love love love cooking with zucchini, and this salad looks delicious!
Thanks Lauren. Zucchini is one of our favorite vegetables, next to the eggplant dip that Carlos makes. I can't get enough of that.
This looks fabulous. I'm a big fan of grilled corn and I'm loving the sound of the garlic mayo. Need to try that soon.
Thank you Stephanie. DO try the roasted garlic mayo. You'll love it. It goes with so many things. I think we still have some here in stock - hint, hint.
Thank you for sharing your recipe, I really like your photography.
Thanks Jagruti. I'll be sure to let Carlos know. He takes all the photographs himself.
We still have so much corn to use up around here, and my husband loves scallops so this one will be a perfect weeknight dinner for us! Thanks!
Sounds like you found the perfect recipe Jenn. Glad we could help. Let us know if you need our postal address to get rid of some of that corn you got taking up space. ;)
Amy @ The Cook Report
This looks so good! Exactly my kind of meal. I love scallops, they're such a treat.
Yes Amy, scallops are a treat. Wish we could eat them all the time. Thanks for coming by today.
Justin @ Salt Pepper Skillet
Corn and Scallops were made for each other. Looks so good and great sear on the scallops. I just picked up some corn yesterday and might need to run out for some Scallops. :)
Hi Justin. Did you? Run out for scallops? I hope so. Let us know how the recipe turned out for you... I bet it was awesome.
Justin @ Salt Pepper Skillet
I was totally planning on it, but I had a photo shoot and one of the dishes that I shot happened to be seared scallops and corn. That fulfilled my craving, but I will definitely want to cook the myself soon. :)
Sound good Justin. Let us know when your photos are published so we can drool over them too.
I absolutely love corn and courgette and I like the way you have used it in the salad. Will have to try!
Glad to hear that you love corn and courgette Jagruti.... and thanks for the dictionary lesson. I didn't know that is another name for zucchini. You really do learn something new every day.
I absolutely LOVE grilled vegetables! I was happy to discover whole wheat orzo online too. Usually only the refined wheat available in the grocery store, but whole grains are so much better. Nice post!
Thanks Catherine. and thank you for the tip. We'll have to keep an eye out for the whole wheat orzo. Grill those veggies!!
Really love the look of this. I love sweetcorn and courgette, and the scallops are the perfect light and sweet protein. Dressing looks perfect. One to bookmark!
Hi Kavey. Thanks for bookmarking the recipe! So glad that you like it