Charred Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad Recipe

Elote is a popular Mexican street food that has gained worldwide popularity thanks to its alluring combination of corn, cheese, and spice. Sometimes simply called Mexican street corn, elote typically comes in corn-on-the-cob form, slathered in creamy goodness, sprinkled with spices, and grilled to charred perfection. Then there's esquites, a dish that packs in the same goodness as elote, but off the cob and in a salad-like or side dish format.

Now, imagine taking classic street corn flavors and tossing them into a pasta dish — a charred Mexican street corn pasta salad. It's quick to whip up and perfect for lazy backyard barbecues, casual potlucks, or even just a chill night in with family. Wellness coach and recipe developer Miriam Hahn brings us this recipe and says, "When I make pasta salad, it has to have a punch of flavor. The combination of fresh corn, tangy lime juice, cilantro, and a kick of Tajin seasoning makes this pasta salad stand out from the rest."

Gather the ingredients for charred Mexican street corn pasta salad

To make this recipe, pick up some fresh corn. You can buy this trimmed and ready to go or in the husks. While you're in the produce area, grab limes, green onions, cilantro, and red pepper.

Stop by the dairy aisle and get some sour cream, mayonnaise, and cotija cheese. If you want to make ths recipe vegan, simply go for dairy-free sour cream and mayonnaise and substitute the cotija with dairy-free feta cheese. Finally, you'll need bow tie pasta and avocado oil, salt, pepper, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and tajin.

Step 1: Preheat the oven

Preheat the oven to broil.

Step 2: Prep the corn for cooking

Brush the corn with oil and season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Lay on a sheet pan.

Step 3: Char the corn

Broil the corn for 15 minutes, rotating frequently, until all sides are charred. Let cool for 15 minutes.

Step 4: Cook the pasta

While the corn is cooking, add the pasta to a pot of boiling water and cook according to package directions.

Step 5: Make the dressing

In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, lime juice, chili powder, the remaining salt, the remaining pepper, and the cayenne pepper. Set aside.

Step 6: Drain and rinse the pasta

Drain the pasta in a colander and rinse under cold water.

Step 7: Cut the kernels from the cobs

Remove the corn from the cob with a sharp knife, working in a large bowl that you plan to serve the salad in.

Step 8: Add other ingredients to bowl

Add the cooked pasta to the bowl with the green onions, cilantro, red pepper, and cotija cheese.

Step 9: Toss with dressing

Toss with dressing and sprinkle on Tajin.

Step 10: Serve the salad

Serve the street corn pasta salad.

What other ingredients can I add to this Mexican street corn pasta salad?

To elevate your Mexican street corn pasta salad to the next level of flavor, consider adding a few extra ingredients that complement its bold profile. Start by tossing in some diced avocado for creamy texture and a buttery taste that pairs perfectly with the tangy dressing. Or add a dollop of homemade crave-worthy guacamole to each serving to effortlessly incorporate another Mexican favorite into the mix.

For an extra crunch, sprinkle in some toasted pepitas or crushed tortilla chips, adding a delightful contrast to the tender pasta and charred corn. If you like foods spicy, add diced jalapeños or a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes or serve those on the side for guests to add to their plate. For a burst of sweetness, toss in some cherry tomatoes or mango chunks, adding a refreshing burst of flavor. Finally, to make the salad heartier, add black beans, grilled chicken, shrimp, or black beans to turn this side dish into a main course.

Can you make this pasta salad ahead of time?

Making this pasta salad ahead of time is not only convenient but can actually enhance its flavor. Most pasta salads, including this one, tend to taste even better after chilling in the fridge overnight. This allows the flavors to meld together, making the dish even more flavorful. So, go ahead and prepare it the day before your gathering or meal for an effortless and delicious side dish.

The other option you have in making the salad ahead of time is to prepare the components so they are ready to toss together. You can prepare the corn, chop the other vegetables, make the pasta, and make the dressing. This might work well if you are tight on space in your refrigerator and don't have room for a large bowl but can fit in smaller containers.

When storing your pasta salad, ensure that it's tightly covered or sealed in an airtight container to maintain freshness. Stored properly in the refrigerator, this salad can last for up to 3-4 days. Just be sure to give it a good stir before serving to redistribute the dressing and flavors.

Charred Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad Recipe
4.9 from 11 ratings
Elevate your backyard BBQ with this charred Mexican street corn pasta salad, which comes loaded with corn, cotija cheese, tajin, and a zesty dressing.
Prep Time
20
minutes
Cook Time
15
minutes
Servings
4
Servings
bowls of salad on board
Total time: 35 minutes
Ingredients
  • 4 ears corn
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 8 ounces bow tie pasta
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup diced red bell pepper
  • ½ cup cotija cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon Tajin
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to broil.
  2. Brush the corn with oil and season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Lay on a sheet pan.
  3. Broil the corn for 15 minutes, rotating frequently, until all sides are charred. Let cool for 15 minutes.
  4. While the corn is cooking, add the pasta to a pot of boiling water and cook according to package directions.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, lime juice, chili powder, the remaining salt, the remaining pepper, and the cayenne pepper. Set aside.
  6. Drain the pasta in a colander and rinse under cold water.
  7. Remove the corn from the cob with a sharp knife, working in a large bowl that you plan to serve the salad in.
  8. Add the cooked pasta to the bowl with the green onions, cilantro, red pepper, and cotija cheese.
  9. Toss with dressing and sprinkle on Tajin.
  10. Serve the street corn pasta salad.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 563
Total Fat 27.2 g
Saturated Fat 8.1 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 37.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 69.5 g
Dietary Fiber 5.9 g
Total Sugars 10.6 g
Sodium 669.8 mg
Protein 15.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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