Close this search box.

Organic Summer Squash Corn Salad: A Soulful Nod to Summer and Tradition

Summertime in North Carolina is more than just a season; it’s a sensory experience filled with vibrant colors, fresh produce, and the nostalgic aroma of home-cooked meals. During the pandemic of 2020, I found myself longing for the simple joys of cooking with friends. With produce donated by organizations like the Produce Box and the Black Farmers Market, I was inspired to create a recipe that would bring together all the classic summer veggies. This is how the Organic Summer Squash Corn Salad was born. 

ingredients that mean more

Made with North Carolina’s favorite summer crops like red tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, and bicolor sweet corn, each ingredient in this salad holds a special place in my heart. They signify the start of the summer season and my birthday, a time filled with fond memories of family gatherings. I vividly recall shucking ears of corn with my grandmother on the porch, the thick slices of tomato my grandfather would add to his biscuits and gravy, and the unmistakable aroma of freshly cut basil and grilled squash. These ingredients are more than just components of a recipe; they are symbols of love, tradition, and the warmth of summer.

organic sweet corn ears lined in a row on a cutting board ready to be cooked for the organic summer squash and sweet corn salad

cooking with soul

As I prepped Organic Summer Squash Corn Salad, I was grooving to funk and soul tunes like Luther Vandross’s “Never Too Much.” Music has always been a significant part of my cooking process, adding a rhythm and joy to every chop and stir. My background as a professional cook for over a decade has deepened my appreciation for food’s ability to tell a story. Our food reflects our heritage and our experiences, and for many of us, it is the first sign of affection we receive.   

In Ethiopian culture, we have a beautiful tradition called Goorsha, where one expresses love, honor, and friendship by placing a bit of food into another’s mouth with their right hand. This gesture of acceptance and appreciation is like a hug between friends. I fondly remember my grandfather’s visits when he would rise early to make us scrambled eggs with jalapeños, tomatoes, and injera. As he performed Goorsha, he would say “bila” (pronounced “bee”), which means “eat” in Amharic. These moments were filled with warmth and affection, and they continue to inspire my cooking today. 

join the summer celebration

The Organic Summer Squash Corn Salad (recipe below) is light, tasty, vegan, and the perfect kickoff to the season. With minimal prep and work involved, you simply cut, cook, and toss everything together, and you’re good to go. I invite you to celebrate with a dish that not only tastes amazing but also tells a story of love, family, and tradition. The Organic Summer Squash Corn Salad is more than just a recipe; it’s a journey through memories and flavors that define the season. So, gather your loved ones, turn on Luther Vandross, and create your own summer memories over a shared meal.

table setting of organic summer squash corn salad

organic summer squash corn salad

organic ingredients

  • Yellow Squash, medium 4 each – 4 cups 
  • Zucchini, medium 4 each – 4 cups 
  • Red Slicing Tomatoes, large chunks 4 each – 3 cups 
  • Red Onion, thinly sliced 1 each – 2 cups 
  • Red Hawk Basil
  • Fresh Oregano, rough chopped 1 small bunch 3 tablespoons (If using dried, 1.5 tablespoons)
  • Corn 6 ears
  • Balsamic Vinegar ½ cup
  • Olive Oil ½ cup, 1 tablespoon
  • Salt 2 tablespoons
  • Black Pepper, cracked
  • Pan Spray 1 can 


  1. Preheat the oven to 415 °F.
  2. Line 3 sheet pans with tin foil and spray with pan spray. 
  3. Wash the yellow squash and zucchini, cut in half lengthwise then chop into large chunks. Clean the ears of corn of all silk and outer leaves. 
  4. Place the cut yellow squash, zucchini, and corn on the sheet pan. Rub the ears of corn with a tablespoon of olive oil before placing it on the sheet pan. Keep all items separated while cooking. Bake the yellow squash and zucchini for 20 minutes and the corn for 25 minutes. Check every 10 minutes. While the squash and corn are cooking this is the perfect time to prep the remaining ingredients.
  5. Peel and cut the red onion in half and julienned into thin slices. (Do not cry, soak the onion in ice water for 2-4 minutes prior to cutting.)
  6. Chop the red slicing tomatoes into large chunks.
  7. Chiffonade or tear the basil. Tearing the basil will avoid bruising the herb. Chopping the basil will bruise & cause the basil to oxidize) “the best fighting fit chance of aesthetic longevity, be a tearer, not a chopper.” 
  8. Lightly chop the oregano.
  9. Mix balsamic vinegar and olive oil together.
  10. Once the corn, yellow squash, and zucchini is done cooking. Allow the vegetables to cool on the counter at room temperature for 5-8 minutes 
  11. Cut the corn off the ear once cooled and place into a large mixing bowl. Add tomatoes, red onions, yellow squash, zucchini, basil, and oregano to the large mixing bowl.
  12. Lightly whisk the olive oil and balsamic vinegar together and slowly add. Toss everything together, add salt and pepper.
  13. Store in an airtight container for up to 2-4 days.


  • Vegan Dish 
  • The salad should up to 2-4 days 
  • Yield 4-6 people 
  • Equipment 
  • Mixing bowls 1-2 ea 
  • Tongs 1 ea 
  • Sheet Pans 3 ea 
  • Large Spoon 1 ea 
  • Whisk 1 ea 
  • Cutting board 1 ea 
  • Tin Foil 

Learn more about what Happy Dirt farmer-partners grow in the field during the summer months. If you’re a wholesale buyer interested in learning more about the availability of North Carolina organic sweet corn, give us a shout. Simply enjoy learning about Happy Dirt farmers and organic produce, sign up for our newsletter

related articles