Spicy Corn and Beet Salad

Sweet, tender, golden corn: it’s one of the greatest pleasures of shopping at the farmers market this time of year.  Left to my own devices, I’ll shuck an ear and munch the kernels off a whole cob before I make it home.  Roasted corn on the grill (followed by an epic corn cob tossing contest) is a family tradition at summer gatherings.  Farm-fresh corn is simply synonymous with summer.

As August begins to wind down, I’m savoring every sweet moment with my favorite whole grain.  And, my family and I reap the nutritional benefits of corn’s potassium, fiber, and folate – one large ear of corn provides more than 10% of the RDA for folate.

This salad is one of my favorite ways to utilize summer corn.  The beets provide a sweet and colorful background to spicy jalapenos and pungent ginger.  Beets may have a positive impact on cardiovascular health, and some research suggests that eating spicy foods is linked to longevity.  If that’s so, I’ll surely make it past 100!  What we do know for sure is that using peppers, fresh seasonings like ginger, and dried herbs (this recipe features spearmint) are excellent ways to flavor foods, diversify your palate, AND cut down on the need for extra salt and fat. 

This recipe calls for a Microplane.  If you don’t have one already, I guarantee you’ll fall in love with it.  It’s great (and grate) for everything from ginger to turmeric to garlic to chocolate!


1 bunch small beets (about 5, 2” diameter each)
2 large ears fresh corn
2 jalapenos
1 lime
1 inch piece of gingerroot
sea salt
olive oil
dried spearmint, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Scrub, trim, and dry beetroots.  Lightly rub with olive oil and place in center of large piece of foil.  Seal foil securely and place this pouch on a baking sheet.  Place in oven for 45 minutes.  Allow to cool enough so that beets can be handled.  Gently rub skin off of beets, and dice into small cubes.  Place in serving bowl.
  2. Cut corn kernels directly into serving bowl along with beets.
  3. Slice, deseed, and dice jalapenos and add to beets and corn.
  4. Use Microplane to zest lime directly over serving bowl.  Juice lime, add to mixture.  Toss with hands.
  5. Use Microplane to grate ginger directly over serving bowl and toss again. 
  6. Add 1 tsp olive oil, mint, and pinch of sea salt.  Toss again and taste.  Add more mint if desired.
  7. Serve this alongside chicken or fish, atop a bed of greens, or add ½ cup of crumbled cheese (feta or cotija work well) for a fun taco topping.