Grilled Summer Salad with Corn, Peppers and Chili-Lime Dressing

Once more, what day is it? This week, I made a quick journey to California. I took a flight to sunny Sacramento on a Monday afternoon and returned to Kansas City on a Wednesday night. Between those flights, I caught up with Erin, learned a ton about almonds (we even went on an almond orchard tour! ), met some fantastic dietitians, and, of course, drank a lot of California wine. Later, I’ll tell you more about it!

I’ve been eating on coconut bacon straight from the bag this morning and wanted to share another usage for it. The ideal dish was this delicious grilled salad. It shouts “SUMMER” almost as loudly as the constant outdoor symphonic performance of summer bugs. (I can now hear them. I apologize for bringing them up. Let’s discuss salad.

Arugula, black beans, roasted peppers, corn, red onions, avocado, and feta are all combined in this sweet-spicy salad with a homemade chili-lime dressing. If you’re still unsure or are simply in a rush, feel free to omit the coconut bacon in favor of some crumbled tortilla chips or some crispy tortilla strips. Either way, it’ll be wonderful!

One of my first attempts at grilling was a salad. Even though I’m no grill master, grilling isn’t exactly a complicated science. It resembles primitive science more. caveman-level knowledge. I got by using my contemporary electric grill/griddle, which worked great!

If you don’t have a grill, you can roast the vegetables in a 425 degree oven while tossing them occasionally until the edges are just starting to sear. I hope this salad works with your plans for Labor Day!

Also read: Herbed Quinoa and Pomegranate Salad



  • 4 to 6 cups baby arugula
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded, membranes removed, sliced into 1-inch wide strips (see photos)
  • 1 small red onion, halved and sliced into ½-inch wide wedges (see photos)
  • 1 large ear of corn, shucked
  • 1 can (14 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked black beans
  • ½ cup cilantro, mostly leaves, chopped
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • ½ cup crumbled feta
  • 1 big handful coconut bacon (or crispy tortilla strips or crumbled tortilla chips)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Chili-lime dressing

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Scant ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeded, membranes removed and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon ancho chili powder or regular chili powder (to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt


  1. First, preheat your grill (if you’re using an electric grill, heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit). Toss the prepared bell pepper, corn and onion with enough olive oil to lightly coat all surfaces (I used about 1 teaspoon). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill the vegetables, turning occasionally, until they have grill marks and the peppers and onions have softened a bit. You might find that the corn takes longer than the pepper and onions. Transfer the cooked vegetables to a cutting board to cool.
  2. While the vegetables are on the grill, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients until emulsified. Taste and adjust seasoning (more spice, honey or salt) if desired.
  3. Roughly chopped the bell peppers and onions. Slice the kernels from the cob. In a large serving bowl, combine the greens, bell pepper, onion, corn, drained beans, cilantro, avocado, feta and coconut bacon (if using). Drizzle on enough dressing to lightly coat the greens when tossed (you’ll probably end up with extra). Toss, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve (if you’re adding tortilla strips or chips, add them as garnishes just before serving).