Grilled Summer Salad with Lime Dressing

Grilled summer salad with zucchini.

Want healthy salad recipes for summer? This grilled vegetable salad is easy to make and loaded with fresh flavors. Using sweet corn and vidalia onions along with thin ribbons of zucchini, my Grilled Summer Salad has a tangy lime dressing and salty bites of queso fresco for a veggie salad that’s perfect for barbecues and potlucks.

sweet corn and vidalia onions for the grilled vegetable salad.

 Summer salads don’t need to be complicated to be good. Just use the freshest, sweetest, at-their-peak vegtables and they’ll do the work for you! For this veggie salad, I used the cheapest (read: most plentiful) ingredients out there for a beautiful, flavorful healthy grilled side dish that my whole family devoured.

Grilled Vegetable Salad Ingredients

  • Sweet Corn on the Cob
  • Vidalia Onions
  • Zucchini 
  • Vine Ripe Tomatoes
  • Queso Fresco (can substitute feta or goat cheese or eliminate cheese for vegan)
  • Cilantro

grilled vegetables on a platter.

Although my husband is usually the “grill-master” in our house, I sometimes take over the duties as I did with this grilled vegetable salad. He will point out that my onions didn’t hold together quite as well as his obviously would have and I got a little too much color here or there, to which I reply with a back-handed swat to the air. Don’t even go there…

How To Grill Veggies For Summer Salad

  1. Preheat the grill to medium high (about 450° to 500°).
  2. Lightly brush the corn and vidalia onion slices with olive oil.
  3. Arrange the vegetables on the grill and cook, turning and adjusting occasionally, until the corn and onion are tender and have a nice char on them.
  4. Note: Grilling sliced onions can be tricky. Use a wide spatula or flat grill mat or pan to prevent them from slipping through the grates if you like. (I always count on 1 or 2 rings sliding through, like a sacrifice to the Grill Gods.)
  5. When the vegetables are done, transfer to a baking sheet to rest.
thinly sliced zucchini ribbons on a cutting board.

Two Ways To Prepare Zucchini

Farm fresh zucchini is delicious both raw and grilled. For this summer salad, I opted for raw, but you can also grill them. Here’s how:

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  • For Raw Zucchini: Very thinly slice the zucchini into ribbons. When I say thin — I mean THIN. I had my mandoline set on its finest possible setting to achieve these ribbons, however, you can also use a vegetable peeler to get a similar result. 
  • For Grilled Zucchini: Use a sharp knife to slice the zucchini lengthwise into planks about 1/4″ to 1/3″ thick. Brush them with olive oil as you did the rest of the vegetables and grill them until tender.

Best Tomatoes For Grilled Vegetable Salad

Campari tomatoes, Beefsteak tomatoes or Ugly Ripe tomatoes are all good options for this summer salad.  After all, before you know it, summer will be a distant memory and we’ll be relegated to those sad, mealy orange-hued wannabes. So for this veggie salad, find the heaviest, juiciest tomatoes you can. They’ll pay dividends in this healthy salad recipe. 

Making lime dressing for lots of healthy salad recipes.

Quick Lime Dressing Ingredients

Yes, you COULD dress this salad with your favorite bottled Italian, but this quick lime dressing adds so much more flavor and it’s super easy to make. Just whisk the ingredients (below) in a small bowl and drizzle over the salad. This dressing is bright and tangy and will give oomph to the vegetables.

  • Garlic 
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Lime Zest
  • Lime Juice
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Olive Oil

Grilled vegetable salad in a serving bowl with queso fresco and cilantro. A delicious healthy salad recipe. 
Garnishing the healthy summer salad

Queso fresco (Mexican crumbling cheese) is my pick to add a salty bite.  It’s a semi-firm cheese that holds up well in this salad without being too creamy  I usually find it at the market by the grated packaged cheeses, but you can also make your own queso fresco.  If you don’t have it, you could also substitutecrumbled feta or skip the cheese for a vegan salad.  Sprinkle with fresh cilantro leaves for an herbaceous note.  

Serve the salad immediately or if you want to make it ahead of time, use this Pro Tip: — don’t add the lime dressing until just before serving> — otherwise the veg will lose its snap!  

More Healthy Salad Recipes For Summer:

More Grilled Vegetable Salads:

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veggie salad with sprigs of cilantro
Print Pin
5 from 1 vote

Grilled Summer Salad

This salad takes advantage of all the produce from the garden!
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword corn on the cob, tomato, zucchini
Dietary Restrictions Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, Vegetarian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4


For the salad

  • 1 ear ear corn shucked
  • 1 large sweet onion such as Vidalia or Walla Walla
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 medium zucchini
  • 4-5 Campari tomatoes — or other very ripe tomatoes, about 1 1/2 cups, sliced into wedges
  • ¾ cup queso fresco or feta, crumbled
  • ½ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro loosely packed

For the dressing

  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice from about half a lime
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil


For the dressing

  • In a small bowl combine all the ingredients and whisk until emulsified. Set aside.

For the salad

  • Preheat the grill to a medium high heat (about 450-500°).
  • Slice the onion into 1/4″ rounds and place on a baking sheet. Shuck the corn and place it on the sheet. Brush the onions and corn with olive oil, just so it’s lightly coated. Place the corn and onion slices on the grill and cook, turning every so often to avoid burning until the corn and onions are tender and have taken on a little char, (about 10 minutes). Transfer the vegetables to the sheet pan and set aside.
  • Use a vegetable peeler or a mandoline — set on very thin slices to slice the zucchini into thin ribbons and transfer to a large bowl
  • Cut the tomatoes into bite sized wedges and add to the zucchini. Separate the onions into rings and add them to the salad. Cut the corn off the cob and transfer to the salad. Crumble the queso fresco or feta and toss into the salad. Just before serving, toss the salad with the dressing and sprinkle with the fresh cilantro.


Calories: 234kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 488mg | Potassium: 375mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 975IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 144mg | Iron: 0.6mg

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Want healthy salad recipes for summer? Grilled vegetable salad is BEST. Gild the grilled summer salad w/tangy lime dressing. It's veggie salad nirvana. #grilledvegetables #summersalads

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  1. 5 stars
    This salad recipe is perfect for summer. It looks delicious! I must try this.

  2. Oh my gosh, this looks delicious and so bright for summer!May have to give this a go tonight 🙂

  3. Nayna Kanabar (@SIMPLYF00D) says:

    I love roasted corn and this type of salad is one of my fav. I love the addition of the courgette ribbons.

    1. We eat a lot of cooked zucchini, but when they’re shaved into ribbons or pappardelle and served raw – they take on a whole new dimension, I think!

  4. Oh my goodness, this salad looks like summer in a bowl! I love the grilled corn. Delicious!

    1. I agree! Grilled corn is sweet and smoky at the same time!