First Corn Salad with Orecchiette Pasta and Wasabi Dressing

New Englanders wait for Sweet Corn Season all year, and for two months we delight in using it as much as possible, from breakfast to dinner, and the occasional midnight snack!


Of course, the absolute best way to eat that first ear is quickly cooked (steamed, grilled, roasted, boiled, your choice) and served with lots of butter and salt.

“That first bite, butter dripping down our chins, is worth the wait of the last ten months!”

There is nothing better our local farms could possibly offer. The moment we find the first corn, that is what we have for dinner. Corn. Nothing else is needed. That first bite, butter dripping down our chins, is worth the wait of the last ten months, and although the corn will get even sweeter as the season progresses, that first experience cannot be topped.

Ah, those summer corn recipes!

Corn is the star of succotash, always a favorite, and we’ll make several batches of corn chowder and chilled corn soup during the summer. We’ll indulge in corn bread, spider cake, and corn pudding, and, of course, corn fritters! Mostly, we’ll toss it on the grill and eat it unadorned.

First corn
Delightfully fresh and bursting with flavor!

Not quite your mother’s macaroni salad

My Mom was the queen of pasta salads, always ready with elbow or shell creations, usually with a mayonnaise-based dressing and often with what was fresh in the garden or farm stand. Her favorite was a simple macaroni salad with peas and canned tunafish, and we all loved it.

A new favorite pasta

This is not quite your mother’s pasta salad. I’ve used whole wheat orecchiette because I love the way corn and other small veggies such as peas nestle themselves in the “little ears.” The brand I found was imported from Italy and is bronze die-cut, which gives a coarser texture to the surface allowing sauces to cling better. I got the pasta at an Italian market, and it was not much more expensive than regular brands. Some supermarkets also carry it. It has a lovely nutty flavor and perfect texture.

Of course, you can use any orecchiette you like, or even shells in a pinch. And a gluten-free alternative pasta is perfect here!

A little wasabi for spice

I wanted to liven this salad up, and the dressing I made used wasabi to add spice, and IMG_8402avocados, oil, and vinegar for creaminess. I used a powdered wasabi and mixed it into a paste, but you can also find it in already in paste form. The heat from the wasabi will depend on the brand you use, so add half at first, taste, then the rest if you like, or a little more if it is mild.

The flavors are enhanced if you let this salad chill at least an hour. This makes a lot, plenty for a picnic or get together!


Corn Salad with Orecchiette Pasta and Wasabi Dressing

  • 1/2 lb. Orecchiette pasta, about three cups cooked
  • 6 ears of fresh cooked corn, about two cups kernels
  • ½ small purple onion, small dice
  • 2 tsp. wasabi powder (this will vary greatly, so taste)
  • 2 tbsp. hot water
  • 3 scallions, divided
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. cider vinegar
  • Juice of one lime, about 3 tbsp.
  • 2 handfuls of arugula, coarsely chopped
  • Salt and pepper

Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of water to the rapid boil then add 1 tbsp. of salt and the pasta. Bring back to a boil and start timing according to package directions. Mine needed 12 minutes. Stir every minute or so so they do not nestle together and stick. Once cooked, drain, and let cool.

Cook your corn any way you like. I roasted mine. I used six for this recipe, or a little over two cups of kernels. This is not an exact measurement. If you want more corn to pasta ratio, or vice versa, that is fine too!

Place the corn and cooled pasta in a large bowl along with the onion and add salt and pepper.

While the corn and pasta cook, prepare the dressing. First, mix the wasabi powder and hot water and set aside.

In a food processor or blender, combine two of the scallions, the flesh of the avocados, olive oil, vinegar, and lime juice, along with the hydrated wasabi paste. Process until nice and smooth.

Add the dressing to the corn and pasta and mix well, then add the arugula, season with more salt and pepper (this takes more than you think, but add it in stages, tasting all the way).

Chill for an hour, then plate and top with the last scallion.

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34 Comments Add yours

  1. Another delicious recipe!

  2. Thank you so much! My husband absolutely loved this one! So did I!

  3. fresh summer corn is my very favorite food of summer! I really prefer it roasted or grilled, but I also love tossing it in just about anything! The orecchiette pasta is a smart choice for a pasta salad with corn, looks wonderful!

    1. Thank you Jenna! I love the sweet pop of fresh corn, and I too will toss it in just about anything!

  4. looks and sounds lovely! cant wait to try this one!

    1. Thank you! I love it when I can make something creamy without the mayonnaise!

  5. Oh how I miss getting fresh corn from the far stand! This year it’s too complicated, so I have to rely on whatever they bring to the local store. Not the same!
    The salad looks great. I really like the idea of using avocado this way.

    1. Thank you Ronit! I wish for you beautiful corn at your market! It was nice and creamy, and I had it again today for lunch and it tasted even better!

  6. Looks so yummy

  7. Love that kick of wasabi. 💥

    1. Thanks, it adds a nice little zest and works well with the corn.

      1. I’m goi g to have to try it. 🌽

  8. writinstuff says:

    Finally, another use for that tube of wasabi I have! Sounds tasty

    1. Yes! It was really good, and nice and creamy!

  9. Sheryl says:

    The local farmers’ market had corn for the first time this week. It was wonderful.

    1. Isn’t it great! We look forward to this so much. Local gold.

  10. Hi there Dorothy! Thank you for another great recipe! New England recipes are so American. I am saving.👌

    1. You’re welcome! The corn is extra sweet this year!

      1. There must be a secret in the soil, air or cultivation.🤔🍃☀️

      2. Perhaps all of the above, and a little magic thrown in for good measure.

      3. No doubt I am sure. Your cooking recipes are big magic measures! You have an amazing business set up! 🤔🍂🍃💕

      4. Thank you for such kind words!

  11. What a fun twist! And we feel the same about our corn in the midwest! And btw, still love the tuna mac saald!!

    1. We all love that salad!

  12. A very interesting combination! That wasabi I guess is a clever touch 😉😋

    1. It was perfect. Just a little warmth, not too hot, but a flavor that enhanced the corn!

      1. I guess wasabi is a great addition to the corn 🌽😋

  13. Ally Bean says:

    I’ve never heard of Wasabi Powder and now I need to get some. This recipe sounds great. Need to find some fresh corn first…

    1. I love the wasabi powder because you can mix up just what you need for the dish! No waste.

  14. Julia says:

    There is nothing like picking fresh tomatoes and sweet corn from your own garden. This is an interesting combination for a pasta salad. I would’ve never thought of using Wasabi with pasta. It sounds like a great combination.

    1. Thanks Julia! I was looking for a creamy pasta dish without the mayonnaise, and I happened to have avocados that needed to be used up. the wasabi idea just jumped into my brain, I tried it, and it was a winner!

  15. Karen says:

    Knee high by the 4th of July is what we always heard in Maine as we waited patiently for the first farmer to open his stand. Many a summer evening, we had corn on the cob and fresh tomatoes that we picked from our garden for our dinner…it was so simple but so good. Speaking of good, your pasta salad does indeed sound different and very good.

    1. We always use that phrase too! The June was so hot, we were a little early this year, and it was delicious right from the start. Those simple suppers of tomatoes and corn are the best!

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