This article presents an Evolution Strategy (ES)--based algorithm, designed to self-adapt its mutation operators, guiding the search into the solution space using a Self-Adaptive Reduced Variable Neighborhood Search procedure. In view of the specific local search operators for each individual, the proposed population-based approach also fits into the context of the Memetic Algorithms. The proposed variant uses the Greedy Randomized Adaptive Search Procedure with different greedy parameters for generating its initial population, providing an interesting exploration–exploitation balance. To validate the proposal, this framework is applied to solve three different -Hard combinatorial optimization problems: an Open-Pit-Mining Operational Planning Problem with dynamic allocation of trucks, an Unrelated Parallel Machine Scheduling Problem with Setup Times, and the calibration of a hybrid fuzzy model for Short-Term Load Forecasting. Computational results point out the convergence of the proposed model and highlight its ability in combining the application of move operations from distinct neighborhood structures along the optimization. The results gathered and reported in this article represent a collective evidence of the performance of the method in challenging combinatorial optimization problems from different application domains. The proposed evolution strategy demonstrates an ability of adapting the strength of the mutation disturbance during the generations of its evolution process. The effectiveness of the proposal motivates the application of this novel evolutionary framework for solving other combinatorial optimization problems.