Sweet Corn Relish ♥

Sweet Corn Relish, perfect for summer sandwiches and salads ♥ AVeggieVenture.com. No canning required. Budget Friendly. Great for Meal Prep & Summer Food Gifts. WW Friendly. Vegan. Gluten Free.
Have I been waiting on this recipe my entire life?! It's such a simple summer relish (just sweet corn plus tomato, bell pepper and red onion) but the pickling liquid includes mustard seeds and oooo-la-la, the most distinctive cumin seeds. Salad people? Sandwich lovers? Sweet Corn Relish elevates these summer treats to a whole new level. The recipe makes a small batch which keeps for a couple of weeks in the fridge, no canning required.

Real Food, Fresh & Casual. A New Summer Classic. Budget Friendly. Great for Meal Prep. Great for Summer Food Gifts. Weight Watchers Friendly. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Naturally Gluten Free.

Extras Make the Meal

During summer, I quit cooking. Hmmm, wait a minute. That's not quiiiite right, because we all gotta eat, right? Let me try again.

During summer, I quit cooking meals and instead start making what I think of as "extras" that make it super-easy to stand in the kitchen at six o'clock and ask, "Okay, AK. What's for supper?" Thanks to "extras" made earlier, the kitchen answers.

The answer's in the fridge. Pizza dough. Refrigerator salads that keep. Meat I've cooked and chilled for slicing. Vegetables for the grill.

The answer's in the bread drawer. My Easy Everyday Bread Recipe for open-faced toasts. Soft rolls for sandwiches.

Most of all, the answer is in the "extras". Pesto. Ricotta. Salad Dressing. Pickled Red Onions, always-always pickled onions. Crema. Mustard Sauce. Eggplant “Hummus". And so many more ...

(FYI, a quick public service announcement for those of you who follow A Veggie Venture but not Kitchen Parade. Every Sunday, I share a collection of recipes and ideas in and out of the kitchen in newsletters called "Seasonal Sundays". Just two weeks ago, I highlighted the "extras" from both Kitchen Parade and A Veggie Venture that are especially useful in summer. It's here, see Summer Extras. To automatically see future Seasonal Sunday newsletters, just sign up for a free e-mail subscription to Kitchen Parade.)

To assemble a meal without cooking a meal, per se, pickled vegetables are really useful. So when I spied this Sweet Corn Relish in a new 2020 cookbook called Vegetable Kingdom, I knew it belonged at the top of a long to-make list. And I'm soooooo glad I didn't wait days (weeks! months! years!) before husking that corn. I hope it's the same for you, too!

Ingredients to Make Sweet Corn Relish

Like all my recipes, every ingredient serves a purpose. Each one matters. Each one contributes to the overall dish. It's not that an ingredient can't be substituted by something else but when choosing the substitute, it's important to understand why the original ingredient was present in the first place.

Corn Fresh, of course, it's summer! Would frozen work in a pinch in the winter? Yes, I think so but seasonal cooks like me will save a recipe for a relish like this until the first summer corn comes in.

Tomato Firm grape or cherry tomatoes work best, especially since they're cut up to relish-size. And besides, our tomato plants just aren't cooperating this year ...

Red Onion Red onion works especially well, the color is pretty and the taste is a little more gentle than yellow and especially white onions. Would a sweet onion work? Yes!

Green Pepper Any color pepper would work but green adds a new rainbow color. Could you use a poblano? Yes.

Pickling Liquid A mixture of rice wine vinegar, water and a touch of sugar. Would another clear vinegar work? Yes ... but rice vinegar is especially nice, white wine vinegar too, they're just gentler than pure white vinegar. Avoid any vinegar with color, clear is just more appetizing.

Pickling Spices Two distinctive spices are used here, whole cumin seed (don't skip!) and whole mustard seeds (yellow seeds work, so do brown) plus salt, pepper and for extra yellow color, ground turmeric. The seeds soften in the pickling liquid, infusing the liquid with savory flavors. So good, this combination!

What Makes Sweet Corn Relish Special?

Easy to make on-the-spot in a well-stocked summer kitchen.
Beautiful color plus an unexpected combination of sweet and savory.
Absolutely m-a-k-e-s sandwiches. This week, I grilled some buns, added a little ham and cheese and then topped it all with Sweet Corn Relish. WOW. One of the best sandwiches in my entire life.
Easy to serve on the side with chicken, fish, pork, eggs, even stirred into cottage cheese.
Easy to serve atop a big dinner salad.
Easy to adapt! I made a second batch, substituting fresh pineapple for corn and cucumber for tomatoes and red pepper for green pepper. So so good! More good sandwiches!

Exploring Vegetable Kingdom

Terry Bryant is a man on a mission and it shows. First, he wants us to love fennel. And soak grains before cooking. And compost. After that, the objectives are a hundred-fold and many are B-I-G big, like championing a healthy, just and sustainable food system and empowering urban youth. For readers who like cookbooks way-way more than dinner inspiration with pretty pictures, consider Vegetable Kingdom.

Terry Bryant Cookbooks

Terry Bryant cookbooks (affiliate link here and below) each feature vegan recipes ... but also, house soundtracks! I loved finding Vegetable Kingdom's music in a collection on Spotify! Another thing I love about his cookbooks? Attention to detail in the index!

Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes (2020) is his latest cookbook. I bought it last month when The Kitchn chose it for its monthly Cookbook Club on Facebook. (If you're in a rut cooking? This group is so inspiring!) I'm finding Vegetable Kingdom heavy on chef-y multi-step recipes and heavy on ingredients inaccessible to me. (Like fresh peas. Several recipes with fresh peas along with advisements that frozen peas are not going to work well.) Still, I've already found two forever recipes that I just love. Sweet Corn Relish is the first I'm sharing here on A Veggie Venture ... at least one more to come. Since I consider a cookbook a success if there's one life-changing takeaway recipe, two is wonderful!

Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine (2009), I've been cooking from Terry's first cookbook since meeting him on the book's media tour more than ten years back. He was warm and wonderful, a memorable character! I'm thumbing through it again right now, I'd forgotten that it starts off with the sheet music for a meal prayer called "thankful" by Donald Bryant, a brother? father? aha, his uncle! This is the cookbook I'd recommend for most home cooks, the recipes are inventive but also approachable.

Summer Easy, a special collection of Less Cookin' and More Livin' recipes especially for summer ♥ KitchenParade.com all summer long.
This recipe is so quick and easy that I'm adding it to a growing collection of easy summer recipes published all summer long ever since 2009 at Kitchen Parade, my food column. With a free Kitchen Parade e-mail subscription, you'll never miss a one!

Sweet Corn Relish, perfect for summer sandwiches and salads ♥ AVeggieVenture.com. No canning required. Budget Friendly. Great for Meal Prep & Summer Food Gifts. WW Friendly. Vegan. Gluten Free.


Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 30 minutes
Makes 3-1/2 cups

3 cups (about 300g) corn kernels (How to Cut Corn Off the Cob, Keeping All Ten Fingers, Capturing Every Delicious Kernel and Every Drop of Sweet Corn "Milk")
1 tablespoon water

3/4 cup (160g) unseasoned rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup (55g) water
1/4 cup (50g) sugar
1 tablespoon (8g) whole yellow or brown mustard seeds (don't skip)
2 teaspoons (3g) cumin seeds (don't skip)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

12 (100g) cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered to small pieces
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1/2 cup (70g) finely diced green pepper

CORN Place the corn and 1 tablespoon water in a large microwave safe bowl that's big enough to hold the entire mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and cook in the microwave until tender but still crisp, about 5 minutes.

PICKLING LIQUID & SPICES In a saucepan, collect all the ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

OTHER VEGETABLES While the Corn cooks/cools and the Pickling Liquid comes to a boil, collect the Other Vegetables in the bowl with the corn.

COMBINE When the Pickling Liquid boils, pour it over top of the Corn and Other Vegetables.

COOL & REFRIGERATE Let the relish cool and then transfer to containers. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

MAKE-AHEAD The tomatoes are the most perishable part of the relish, they're still fresh after a week but will soften over time. I'd recommend using this up within a couple of weeks.

Terry Bryant's recipe also includes 2 tablespoons minced jalapeño and 2 cloves of slivered garlic. I was out of both and didn't miss them in the least.
Sweet Corn Relish is what we call a "refrigerator pickle". It must be refrigerated but will last for at least a couple of weeks.

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Still Hungry?

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~ Summer's Best Corn Chowder ~
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Seasonal Eating: The Height of Summer Across the Years

Tomato & Zucchini Salad (< so many favorites this week, there's no picking just one!) For Instance Technique V (raw veggies with Italian dressing) Broccoli, Pepper & Celery Salad Corn Cayenne Tomato Ginger Jam (< another favorite!) Quick Microwave Sweet Corn Summer Tomatoes for Winter Greek Greens (Flash Cook to Eat Later) (< and another!) Mom’s Potato Salad (< and another!) “Lost Recipes” Classic Coleslaw with Boiled Dressing Dear Anonymous: THIS Is Why We Blog Ripe-Tomato Relish with Peaches & Pears (Sharon's Pickle) (< and still another!) Watermelon, Cucumber & Feta Salad Melon, Blueberry & Feta Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette Caponata – Sicilian Eggplant (< and yet another!) Raw Corn Chowder (< and one more!) Julia Child's Cucumber Salad Israeli Couscous Salad with Yellow Squash & Sun-Dried Tomatoes Summer's Best Corn Chowder (< no missing this one!) Garden Eggs "Benedict" Spiral Zucchini Noodle Salad with Homemade Catalina Dressing Warm Caprese Bites Turkish Cucumber-Tomato-Olive Chopped Salad with Sumac

Looking for healthy new ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of super-organized quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables. Join "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg to explore the exciting world of common and not-so-common vegetables, seasonal to staples, savory to sweet, salads to sides, soups to supper, simple to special.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.