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 Victoria Amory’s Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise, and one of my favorite Greek Olive Oils Melies.
Last weekend 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 an open jar of Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise from 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. 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, lemon juice, shallot, chili powder (or Sweet Guajillo Pepper Cottonseed Oil,) salt, pepper and a 1/2 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, or butter, or in this case I used a 1/2 TableSpoon of Fresh Cilantro Cottonseed 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 & 1/2 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.
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 with 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 Instagram and in their monthly newsletter in the social spotlight section. I feel so thrilled about this shutout.
August 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 three other salad recipes:
- Santa Fe Salad Dressing on a Rainbow Salad
- Kohlrabi Salad with Edamame, Chickpeas, Apple, and Cilantro Cottonseed Dressing
- Classic Nicoise Salad with Apple Brandy Mustard Vinaigrette
And, if you have some grilled corn leftover, why not make the best guacamole ever.
Your Recipe Concierge
Grilled Corn Zucchini Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese & Seared Scallop
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
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil. I use Melies Greek Olive Oil
- salt & pepper
- 1/2 pound orzo
- 1/4 cup Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise by Victoria Amory. *See notes below if you don't have this mayonnaise
- 3 TableSpoons fresh lime juice
- 1 TableSpoon minced shallot
- 1/2 TableSpoon of Fresh Cilantro Cottonseed Oil
- 1/2 teaSpoon guajillo pepper or chili powder. I use Sweet Guajillo Pepper Oil
- 1 1/2 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 1/2 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 1/2 TableSpoon olive oil, or butter or in this case I used a 1/2 TableSpoon of Fresh Cilantro Cottonseed Oil.
- Place them gently in the pan and don't touch them until you have to turn them to the other side, 1 & 1/2 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 2-1/4 cups of frozen corn kernels
- If you don't have Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise, you can make your own. Roast a head of garlic with olive oil and salt in the oven at 350F for 45 minutes. Then take one clove of the roasted garlic chopped and mashed and combine with mayonnaise.
- 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%
Courses Lunch, Dinner, Salad
Cuisine American, International
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value
Total Fat 17.8 g
Saturated Fat 4.8 g
Cholesterol 13.3 mg
Sodium 192.5 mg
Total Carbohydrates 37.1 g
Dietary Fiber 4.7 g
Sugars 6.6 g
Protein 33.4 g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Products and displays used in this recipe:
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Fresh Cilantro Oil$21.99
Lodge EC6D43 Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 6-Quart, Island Spice Red
Melies Extra Virgin Olive Oil$8.99 – $47.99
OXO Good Grips Corn Peeler
Paderno World Cuisine kitchen slicer, with 4 blades
Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise by Victoria Amory 3-pack$22.99
Spiralizer 5-Blade Vegetable Slicer
Sweet Guajillo Pepper Oil$21.99