Raw Southwest Corn Salad with Oil-Free Chipotle Cashew Dressing

Raw Southwest Corn Salad with Chipotle Cashew Dressing – Healthy, Vegan, Oil-Free, Raw, Gluten-Free, Plant-Based Spicy Recipe with Mexican Smoky Flavor



Easy |  Servings: 4 |  Ready In: 15 minutes + soaking cashews |  Yield: 6 cups salad + 1 1/2 cups dressing

This Raw Southwest Corn Salad is packed with fresh flavor and crunchy texture.  An oil-free Chipotle Dressing add spicy, smoky flavor. Enjoy as-is or add Pickled Red Onions, Pico de Gallo, or Easy Guacamole.


For the Oil-Free Chipotle Cashew Dressing:

  • 3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked over night
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • 2 dates, pitted
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup water

For the Southwest Corn Salad:

  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 heads Romaine lettuce, chopped and washed
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 4 ears corn, kernels cut off the cob
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1 avocado, diced

How it’s Done:

To make the Oil-Free Raw Chipotle Cashew Dressing:  First, soak the cashews overnight (or even a few days), to soften.  Then, drain the soaked cashews.  Rinse under running water.

Place the soaked cashews in a blender and add all remaining ingredients.  Puree until smooth.  Use more or less water to adjust the consistency to your preference.

To soak the Red Onions:  Use a mandolin or a sharp knife to thinly slice the red onion.  Soak in cold water for at least 5 minutes.  This will help take some of the “bite” out of the onion.  Soak for longer or use Pickled Red Onion if you want milder onion flavor.

To make the Southwest Corn Salad:  In a large bowl, layer the Romaine the lettuce, bell pepper, corn, and grape tomatoes.  Drain the red onions and sprinkle on top.  Top with the pumpkin seeds and avocado.  Drizzle on the Oil-Free Raw Chipotle Cashew Dressing and serve.

Soaked cashews, lime, dates, and chipotle come together quickly in this easy, raw, oil-free vegan dressing

Chef Katie’s Tips:

Skip the Soaking: If you forget or don’t have time to soak the cashews, you can substitute the cashews with Cashew Butter (like peanut butter, but made with cashews).  1/4 raw cashews (soaked) = 1/2 cup cashew butter.

Not into smoky flavor?  If you’re not into the smoky chili flavors, swap out the chipotle powder for just 2 teaspoons of sweet paprika.

Microplane to Zest:  The zest of the lime has most of the flavor.  Use a Microplane zester to remove this without taking off any of the white pith.

Make Ahead: If making this ahead of time (for a party or for yourself), keep everything in layers and leave the dressing off.  Add the dressing and toss just before serving.  This helps ensure a fresh salad with lots of crisp texture.

Not Raw? Cook the Corn: If you’re not worried if it’s raw, you can use frozen or canned corn kernels.  1 ear is about 1/2 cup corn kernels, so you’ll need about 2 cups corn kernels for this recipe.

Watch the Recipe Video:


Nutrition Facts

Shopping and Gear List

  • Organic Raw Cashews by Food to Live (Non-GMO, Whole, Unsalted, Bulk) — 8 Ounces
  • Frontier Ground Bottle, Chipotle, 2.15 Ounce
  • McCormick Culinary Paprika, 18 oz
  • Microplane 46116 Spice Grater-Rasp


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