Sweet summer corn is in season and it’s simply perfect in this Mexican Grilled Corn and Squash Salad, also known as Calabacitas. This is a vegetarian dish that has multi-purpose uses as a side dish, salsa or topping with a delicious dressing.

A spoonful of grilled corn and squash.

Calabacitas roughly translates to ‘squash’. The multi-use dressing is made with hot sauce, citrus, garlic, honey and cilantro that is so good, you’ll be licking it off the the spoon, and has just the right amount of spice.

Pouring a jalapeno dressing onto grilled corn and squash salad

Squash has been used in Mexican cooking for thousands of years. Chayote (pear shaped) being the most used, but not so widely available. Zucchini being the closest substitute, but any summer squash can be used as they all are delicious with corn.

Mexican corn salad viewed from overhead

This recipe makes a lot of corn, 1. 75 quarts/7 U.S cups.  It would serve 6 people as a side dish (4 tablespoons each) or 8 people if serving as a dip/salsa.

Grilled shrimp and corn salad on a plate

Not only is the dish multi-purpose, but so is the dressing. In addition to using the dressing in this salad, I also use it as I would a regular salad dressing, a marinade for beef, chicken or shrimp and a finishing sauce for grilled sliced meat.

In fact, the sauce is so good it has it’s own page with the recipe. I call it Sonoran Jalapeño Lime Sauce.

Chicken breasts on a grill

The hot sauce I like to use for the dressing recipe is Arizona Gunslinger. A red jalapeño sauce that has just 3 ingredients: red jalapeño peppers, vinegar and salt.  This is the same sauce I use on my Spicy Blue Cheese Potato Chips, which are potato chips topped with blue cheese and jalapeño hot sauce.

A bottle of Arizona gunslinger hot sauce

You can pretty much add to this salad what you want. Crumbled Mexican cotija cheese would be delicious or sliced cherry tomatoes. You can also top the corn with melted cheese and make it ‘con queso’.

Yield: 6

Mexican Grilled Corn and Squash Salad

A black bowl filled with corn kernels and zucchini with a serving spoon and grilled shrimp

Grilled corn and zucchini are mixed with red onion, cilantro and served with a delicious jalapeno dressing.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • For the dressing:
  • ½ cup (118 ml) olive or avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest (2 small limes)
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • Large handful of cilantro leaves
  • 1 ½ tablespoons hot jalapeño sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • For the vegetables:
  • 4 corn on the cob
  • 2 zucchini, sliced lengthwise
  • Vegetable oil
  • ½ cup (64 grams) red onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) green chiles (mild or spicy)
  • 2 ½ tablespoons fresh cilantro/coriander, chopped


  1. To a blender add the ingredients for the dressing, blend until smooth, set aside. Yields ½ cup dressing.
  2. Heat an outdoor grill or grill pan. Brush the corn cobs with the oil. When the grill is hot, add the corn and cook on each side, turning as needed until a nice char develops. Remove and set aside to cool.
  3. Brush the zucchini slices with oil and grill until lightly charred on each side. Set aside to cool.
  4. Once the corn is cooled, lay on its side and cut off all the kernels and add to a mixing bowl. Chop the zucchini and add to the corn along with the onion, green chiles and cilantro. Mix well.
  5. Drizzle in the dressing and stir well to coat. You can make this salad 2 days ahead which gives the flavors to intensify.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 176Total Fat 8gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 0mgSodium 622mgCarbohydrates 27gFiber 4gSugar 12gProtein 4g

This nutrition calculation is provided by Nutronix that is only a guideline and not intended for any particular diet.