7 Best Corn Substitutes In Recipes (Salads, Chili, Soup, Chowder, etc.)


Corn has a mildly sweet taste, a crunchy and juicy texture, and many health benefits. Corn is used to make salads, soups, polenta, chowder, and it goes well with vegetables (tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, Napa cabbage, radish, potatoes), fruits, French fries, rice, pasta, buckwheat, couscous, meat (beef, pork ribs, chops, lamb, grilled chicken), seafood (crab, crab sticks, lobster, shrimp, etc.).

According to Statista, in 2020/2021, Americans alone consumed over 12 billion bushels of corn (One bushel of corn is equal to 56 pounds), which equals 672 billion pounds! So if you were going to make some corn dish, do not worry – we have prepared the 7 best corn substitutes in recipes that will make the food even better!

If you ran out of corn, try these 7 Best Corn Substitutes In Recipes (Salads, Chili, Soup, Chowder, etc.):

  1. Broccoli
  2. Cauliflower
  3. Zucchini
  4. Potatoes
  5. Pork rind
  6. Barley
  7. Garden peas

Now let’s look at each corn substitute and see how you can use them in recipes.

Broccoli

Just like corn, broccoli has a slightly sweet, but very mild flavor and a crunchy, juicy texture, so it can be used as a corn substitute in soups, salads, and even tortillas. Broccoli goes well with mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, Cheddar cheese, Parmesan, tofu, white beans, avocado and sesame seeds, lettuce, ground beef, chicken, and poultry. Broccoli can be used to make cream soups as broccoli makes the soup buttery and sweet with slight bitter notes.

Broccoli tastes good in meat and vegetable stews, sandwiches, and salads. Broccoli is rich in fiber, folic acid, beta-carotene, C vitamins, and antioxidants. Broccoli tastes great when cooked properly – it should not taste sour or too bitter. However, if you want to make broccoli sweeter, sautee broccoli with salted butter, onions, and grated garlic, and sprinkle 1 tsp of lemon juice. Add some marjoram, oregano, rosemary, and sage to make broccoli more flavorful.

Cauliflower

Like broccoli and corn, cauliflower has a slightly sweet and nutty taste with subtle notes of bitterness. While broccoli has a greener, more pronounced flavor, cauliflower is milder and more delicate; however, their taste is very similar. Cauliflower’s taste is mild enough that it just blends in with other ingredients, whether yay are cooking soup, salad, or stew. Cauliflower does not taste too bitter unless it is overcooked.

See also: 8 Best Avocado Substitutes in a Salad

When cooked with salted butter, cauliflower becomes tender and creamy. Cauliflower is cheap and can be found in any grocery shop in the US all year round. It is a great corn alternative in soups and salads as it has a pleasant crunchy, and juicy texture. Cauliflower does not taste rubbery if it is cooked according to the recipe and if it is not old. Cauliflower also tastes good in cream soups and goes well with meat, poultry, and seafood. Cauliflower is rich in vitamins A, C, E, and K and tastes good boiled or pan-fried.

Zucchini

Zucchini has a mild flavor with slight sweet and bitter notes and is often used as a corn alternative in soups, salads, stews, and even tacos with tortillas. Zucchini has a hearty texture and subtle bitter notes. Zucchini is juicy and crunchy and can be boiled, pan-fried, grilled, and pickled. Young zucchini can even be eaten raw, but it is always better to do some heat treatment to make zucchini sweet and soft.

Even though zucchini, unlike corn, has slight bitter notes, when cooked properly, it becomes soft and creamy, especially if zucchini is young. Zucchini can be consumed with or without skin, but if the vegetable is young, we recommend adding the skin as it has this green, grassy, vegetal flavor and fresh, bold aroma. Zucchini, just like corn, is affordable and can be found in any shop. Zucchini has a versatile flavor that allows it to be used not just in soups and salads but also in pies, pancakes, and crepes.

Potatoes

Even though potatoes have a slightly different texture and flavor than corn, it is still a great corn substitute in soups and salads. It is better to use young potatoes that have a mild starchy flavor and a delicate, soft texture. Potatoes can be mashed, steamed, boiled, or pan-fried, and they go well with virtually anything – from vegetables (tomatoes, eggplant, broccoli, cauliflower), meat (beef, pork, chicken), fish (salmon, cod, tuna), cheese (Feta, mozzarella).

Since potatoes are starchy, they need to be served with juicy ingredients, for example, tomatoes, balsamic pork chops, or chicken and gravy. In soups and salads, instead of corn, just add more potatoes, and they will give the dish the necessary sweetness and slight butter notes.

Pork Rind

Pork rind is an amazing corn substitute! Pork rind can substitute corn in soups, salads, and even tortillas and tacos. Pork rind is a great choice if you want to cut your carb intake – pork rind is keto-friendly and have ZERO carbs. Pork rind tastes puffy and crunchy but not fatty or greasy. Pork rind has a fluffy and airy texture will enhance the flavor of any salad, taco, or tortilla and substitute corn. If you add salt and seasonings to pork rind, it will taste even better and spice up the flavor of your dinner.

Barley

Barley is a super healthy corn alternative in soups, salads, and chowder. When cooked properly with enough butter, barley is delicate yet slightly chewy and has a rich nutty flavor. Barley tastes great in many dishes, including soups, salads, and casseroles, and it will also keep you full for a long time, thanks to its highly nutritious profile. Barley is refreshing in summers and cozy in winter and can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Barley has subtle bitter notes that can be overpowered by salted butter or other dish ingredients, like meat or vegetables.

Barley tastes amazing in soups, stuffings, loaves, stews, and salads and is cheap. Barley goes well with steaks, roasted peppers, bacon & leek casserole, mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini, and beets. Remember to add enough butter to enjoy barley’s creamy and rich sweet flavor.

Garden Peas

Garden peas are probably the best corn substitute in whatever dish you are cooking. Peas are sweet, juicy, plump, and refreshing. They can be eaten raw or cooked, and you can also buy frozen or canned peas. If possible, it is better to buy fresh organic garden peas from the local market to enjoy their rich sweet taste and crunchy, juicy texture. Old peas, on the other hand, taste bitter and dry, so they should not be eaten. Garden peas taste great as is or as a corn alternative in soups, salads, pies, tacos, and tortillas. Garden peas can also be added to stir-fries, savory dishes, meat and vegetable stews. Garden peas also go well with lettuce, radishes, carrots, zucchini, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower, as well as with mashed potatoes and meat.

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