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Mexican Street Corn Salad

Mexican Street Corn Salad is a crowd favorite at summer get togethers and bbqs. Sweet corn is mixed together with bell pepper, cilantro, green onion, cotija cheese and a creamy, spiced dressing. Serve this alongside your favorite grilled chicken, steak or hamburgers. It also works great as a dip with chips! 

Mexican Corn Salad in teal bowl

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MEXICAN STREET CORN SALAD

Sweet corn is at its peak right now!

We love eating corn in the warm months.

I will often buy extra sweet corn to make this Mexican Street Corn Salad, also known as Esquites.

I like having this salad on hand to pair with grilled chicken, steak or hamburgers, at a cinco de mayo fiestas or for your next summer bbq.

I even use it as a dip with tortilla chips.

If you are looking for ways to use sweet corn this time of year I promise this Mexican Street Corn Salad will soon become a favorite in your house.

We also love using sweet corn in this soup and adding it to things like this Mexican Zucchini dish, Zucchini Tacos, this Corn Casserole or these zucchini fritters.

The nice thing with today’s corn salad is that it is very customizable to your tastes and can be modified easily. It is such an easy side dish!

Mexican Corn Salad with smoked paprika

RECIPE INGREDIENTS

SWEET CORN: The sweet corn is the perfect base for this salad. I love using fresh corn because of all of the flavor it brings to the dish. I used about 5 ears of corn for this recipe.

The fresh corn kernels are soft and sweet which works nicely in this salad. If you don’t have fresh corn use canned corn or frozen corn. I also have used fire-roasted corn from the store and really liked that!

VEGETABLES: This dish uses fresh bell peppers and chopped green onions. I used red bell pepper but you can use any color. I also added jalapeno pepper for spice but that is optional.

CILANTRO: The cilantro is one of my favorite parts of this salad. It goes nicely with the Mexican flavors in this dish. 

SPICES: I used smoked paprika because I love the smoky flavor but you can use regular paprika. I also used a bit of cumin and cayenne pepper. Other spices that work nicely are chili powder, chipotle pepper or crushed red pepper. 

LIME JUICE: Lime juice adds sweetness and zest to this salad. You also could add lime zest for extra flavor.

COTIJA CHEESE: Cojita cheese is a Mexican cheese that you often see in street tacos. I like how light and crumbly it is but you can also use any cheese you like. I think feta cheese, pepper jack and sharp cheddar work nicely. 

GREEK YOGURT AND MAYO: A simple mixture of yogurt and creamy mayonnaise create a nice dressing spiced with the cumin and smoked paprika. You also could sub mayo for sour cream.

Mexican Corn Salad with fresh cilantro

HOW CAN I MODIFY THIS ESQUITES SALAD?

VEGETABLES: Mix in a variety of vegetables to this side dish. Some I like are zucchini, poblanos, jalapeños, red onion, carrots and radish. 

CHEESE: Other cheeses I like in this dish are feta cheese, parmesan cheese, cheddar, pepper jack and monterrey jack. 

SPICE: Feel free to use other spices like regular paprika, chili powder or crushed red pepper. 

PICKLED VEGETABLES: Try adding pickled vegetables in like these Quick Pickled Vegetables or Pickled Red Onions.

BEANS: Add beans like black beans, red beans, white beans or chickpeas.

SPICES: You can add a variety of spices to the dressing like chili powder, chipotle chili powder or cayenne red pepper. If you like spice you also could add crushed red pepper.

WHAT SHOULD I SERVE THIS MEXICAN STREET CORN SALAD RECIPE WITH?

GRILLED CHICKEN: This is the perfect side dish for so many proteins. I love adding this street corn salad alongside grilled chicken like these Grilled Chicken Thighs, Greek Chicken Kabobs, Greek Marinated Chicken with Tzatziki or Chicken Souvlaki.

STEAK: Steak pairs really nicely with corn, especially this Grilled Steak Flank with Chimichurri Sauce, this  Grilled Steak with Herb Butter or these Beef Kafta Kabobs.

SEAFOOD: Pair this Black Sea Bass, Air Fryer Salmon or this Pan Fried Fish with this orzo salad! It makes a nice pairing.

Mexican Corn Salad with cheese

WHAT IS ESQUITES?

You will often see Esquites made with corn sautéed in butter with chilies, onion, salt and served with toppings like hot sauce, mayo, lime juice.

You probably see recipes for Mexican Street Corn on the Cob. This is similar but in salad form.

I went ahead and took the classic Mexican Street Corn Salad and made changes to it.

I often will take a classic recipe and modify it is a bit to change things up and also to adjust it to my tastes.  

OTHER RECIPES WITH CORN YOU MIGHT LIKE:

ONE SKILLET BEEF TACO PAST

SOUTHWESTERN AVOCADO TOAST

SLOW COOKER CHEESY POTATO CORN CHOWDER

VEGETABLE CORN CHOWDER 

EASY ZUCCHINI CORN TACOS

Mexican Street Corn Salad

Mexican Street Corn Salad is a crowd favorite at summer get togethers and bbqs. Sweet corn is mixed together with bell pepper, cilantro, green onion, cotija cheese and a creamy, spiced dressing. Serve this alongside your favorite grilled chicken, steak or hamburgers. It also works great as a dip with chips! 
Print Rate
Course: Salads
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4
4

Ingredients

  • 4 cups sweet corn {about 5 ears of corn} or use frozen
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil {or 2 Tablespoon butter}
  • 1 bell pepper, red, seeds removed, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 5 green onions, white and green parts chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds removed, diced {optional}
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika {or you can use sweet paprika}
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice {1 lime}
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons plain Greek Yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup cotija cheese, crumbled {or feta cheese}

Instructions

  • If using ears of corn cut the corn off the cob otherwise measure out frozen corn.
  • In a large skillet heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil or butter over medium heat. Add the corn and cook until the corn is beginning to char, about 5 minutes.
  • Put the corn in a large mixing bowl to cool off.
  • Once the corn is cool add the bell pepper, cilantro, green onions, garlic and jalapeños and stir well.
  • In a small bowl add the smoked paprika cumin, lime juice, saltblack pepper, Greek yogurt and mayonnaise and stir well.
  • Add the dressing to the salad and mix well.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve!

Notes

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
You can use either cooked corn on the cob or frozen corn.
If you can’t find Cotija cheese, use feta cheese in its place for a similar taste.
I like the combination of mayo and Greek yogurt for the tangy flavor and the lightened up version. You can sub the yogurt with sour cream if you like.
Recipe Rating




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Marion

Sunday 7th of May 2023

This is a wonderful salad! I used the feta cheese option, worked perfectly; it was delicious! This goes really well with grilled fish (I made grilled tuna). This has been made for a game in the recipezazz forum (The Amazing Race). Thanks for sharing!

Julia

Sunday 7th of May 2023

I am so glad that you enjoyed it! Love the idea of pairing it with fish.

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Laura Oswald

Thursday 17th of October 2019

Hi Julia,

Can you swap out the Cotija Cheese with Cottage Cheese - or am I being really silly? :D

Thanks!

Julia

Thursday 17th of October 2019

I think maybe you could but it would definitely be a creamier dip. You also could use feta or really any cheese or leave it out! Let me know how it goes.