bowl of street corn-inspired corn salad with gold serving spoon and cilantro garnish

Fantastic Street Corn-Inspired Salad (No Mayo!)

This delicious street corn-inspired salad bursts with flavor and is a perfect side dish or wonderful addition to a main meal.

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Street corn salad in a large bowl with cilantro garnish.

This delicious street corn-inspired salad is a perfect summer side dish or accompaniment to a Mexican-inspired dinner. This is by no means an authentic or traditional Mexican street corn recipe, and I simply used the incredible flavor profile as a jumping off point to add my own spin on it.

History of Street Corn

Corn is a primary ingredient in Latin American food and dates back to Aztec civilization. Elote or Mexican street corn is roasted corn on the cob coated in mayonnaise, chili powder, cotija cheese, and lemon or lime juice. If you buy it off the street. it is often served on a stick. Esquites is a deconstructed form of Elote street corn served in a cup, and is most similar to this corn salad. If you would like to learn more and try out authentic versions of this dish, I highly encourage taking a look at My Latina Table’s Esquites and Mexican Street Corn recipes.

Ingredients for Street Corn-Inspired Salad

Corn: I recommend using fresh corn on the cob for this recipe as it tastes much better than frozen corn. However, frozen corn will do the trick if it’s all you have on hand. I know it can feel intimidating to cut corn off the cob, so here are some tips for making this process easier.

Poblano or Jalapeño Pepper: I am likely in the minority here, but I much prefer poblano peppers to jalapeños. They have a slight kick and a bit of a smoky flavor profile that complements this street corn salad wonderfully. Either works great, however.

Olive Oil: Just a tablespoon to make sure everything gets roasted and toasted.

Cumin, Chipotle Chili Powder, Regular Chili Powder, Coconut Sugar, and Sea Salt: This is our DIY seasoning mix to create the perfect street corn-inspired flavor profile. If you want, you could definitely substitute Trader Joe’s Everything But the Elote seasoning. I would go for 1-2 tablespoons.

Cilantro: The herby, tangy, and light citrus flavor of cilantro brings this corn salad to life.

Greek Yogurt: I have texture issues with most mayonnaise, so I opted for Greek yogurt. As always, I strongly prefer and recommend that you use full fat Greek yogurt for best results.

Cotija Cheese: Cotija cheese is an aged Mexican-style cheese similar to parmesan. I recommend using Cotija for best results, but parmesan or feta will also work.

Lime Juice: For very best results, use fresh-squeezed lime juice. The bottled stuff just isn’t the same.

street corn salad in large bowl with two lime wedges

Pairing Ideas

While this street corn-inspired salad is a perfect side dish, it is also a fabulous addition to a variety of other dishes. Here are some ideas for turning this corn salad into a meal:

  • Make taco salads and top it with the corn salad!
  • Use it as a base or relish for street corn-inspired tacos or quesadillas.
  • Throw it on top of some rice, quinoa, or pasta with a can of black beans or chickpeas and call it a meal!

How to Make Vegan

While I haven’t tested it, I am pretty sure that plant-based plain yogurt, sour cream, or vegan mayonnaise would all work perfectly in place of the Greek yogurt. In terms of the cheese, I would try a plant-based feta or parmesan in place of Cotija.

If you give this street corn-inspired salad a try, be sure to leave a rating and review! This helps little blogs like mine show up on Google.

Other Summer Recipe Ideas:

corn salad ingredients separated into six sections in large bowl
bowl of street corn-inspired corn salad with gold serving spoon and cilantro garnish

Street Corn-Inspired Salad

This delicious street corn-inspired salad bursts with flavor and is a perfect side dish or wonderful addition to a main meal.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Resting Time 15 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 4 ears corn husked and cut from cob
  • 1 poblano or jalapeño pepper seeds removed and diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp chipotle chili powder (can sub more regular chili powder if needed)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp sugar (white, brown, or coconut all work)
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ cup cilantro chopped
  • ½ cup full fat Greek yogurt
  • cup Cotija cheese
  • juice of 2 limes

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • Mix corn, chopped poblano pepper, olive oil, chili powder, chipotle chili powder, cumin, sugar, and sea salt until well-combined and spread evenly on baking sheet.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until corn and peppers are slightly charred. Remove from oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes.
  • Transfer corn and peppers to a large bowl and combine with cilantro, Greek yogurt, Cotija cheese, and lime juice. Salad can be enjoyed immediately but is especially delicious after it's been chilled.

Notes

Storage: Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 5 days.
To make vegan: Sub plant-based yogurt, sour cream, or mayonnaise for Greek yogurt and plant-based parmesan or feta cheese for Cotija cheese.
Keyword corn, corn salad, elote, esquites, gluten free, nut-free, street corn, vegetarian

Photography by Hope Agresti

2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Th street corn salad is terrific as a side or even on the turkey burger! The brownies are a bake-off winner in my opinion😀

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