My healthy version of Mexican Street Corn Salad where fresh or frozen corn is tossed with light yogurt mayo lime dressing, cilantro and sprinkled with feta cheese. It is an easy summer salad and perfect for a potluck.
Mexican Corn Salad
This Mexican street corn salad is my healthy version of elotes – grilled corn slathered in mayo, crema (something between sour cream and crème fraîche), cotija cheese, cilantro and chile (chili) powder.
We saw elotes sold on every major street corner while living in Cabo for a month. Can we call it esquites? Um, yeah, probably not since mature corn boiled in salted water and then sautéed in butter is not involved.
Let’s just say this Mexican corn salad is summer-y, sweet, creamy, cheesy, easy healthy corn salad. It will disappear fast at any gathering!
Ingredients You Will Need
- Corn: I recommend fresh corn. But frozen corn works just as well.
- Feta cheese: Feta cheese is a great substitute to traditional Mexican cheese cotija (I find feta more salty). It adds essential creaminess and saltiness to the salad.
- Yogurt and mayo: I added just the right proportions of mayo and yogurt because Mexican street corn salad recipe is not complete without mayo. And too much mayo makes it unhealthy and too much mayo-ey.
- Spices: Cayenne pepper, lime, salt and pepper. Make salad as spicy as you like.
Tip: You can absolutely add a few diced avocados. They add more creaminess. Also juicy tomatoes would be good. Especially in July-August when corn is at its prime.
How to Pick Fresh Corn at the Store
There is nothing better than local juicy, sweet, plump and bright yellow corn.
- Check corn for quality right at the store – shucking a bit at the top or completely. Many stores provide garbage bin solely for this purpose.
- Look for corn that is wrapped tightly in its green husks.
- Corn silk should be soft, perky and moist.
- Pick only good looking ears with white or yellow kernels in tight rows that are plump.
How to Cook Corn and Make Salad
Mexican corn salad can be made with grilled, charred, roasted or boiled corn.
To cook corn:
- On the stove: Add corn to a large enough pot so it is fully submerged in water. Salt water generously to help bring out corn’s flavor. Cook corn by boiling it for 10 minutes.
- In Instant Pot: This is by far my favorite method to cook corn. No need for large pot, lots of water and waiting it to boil. Just add corn and 1 cup water to electric pressure cooker and cook on High Pressure for 2 minutes with Quick Release. Keeps house cool in summer too.
- On the grill: Grill corn without the husk on medium heat for 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes or so.
To make salad:
- Remove kernels from cooked corn on the cob. Let ears of corn cool down enough so you can hold it. Using a sharp knife, stand kernel upright and cut off kernels as close to the core as possible.
- Combine all ingredients like corn, mayo, yogurt, feta, cilantro, lime juice, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper in a large bowl. No need to make dressing separately and just gently toss to coat.
I love this salad both warm and cold. But probably warm a tad bit more. Hot corn melts the feta cheese adding to the creaminess of the dressing with delicious spices. Yum! Makes me feel like I’m eating a jar of mayo but we are not. However, leftovers taste just as good cold.
- With cilantro lime chicken, grilled chicken breast, shrimp skewers or baked chicken breast. Mexican corn salad is a great accompaniment to any protein.
- Serve as a dip with tortilla chips.
- Because it’s a summer dish and you love salmon, try with cedar plank salmon or easy baked salmon.
Make Ahead and Leftovers
You can definitely prepare this easy Mexican corn salad ahead. In fact, the longer salad sits, more flavorful it becomes.
Make ahead: If you like salad warm, refrigerate all ingredients in a bowl covered for up to 48 hours. Add warm cooked corn right before serving and toss. If you don’t mind cold Mexican corn salad, you can refrigerate salad assembled but not stirred for up to 48 hours.
Store: Leftovers will keep well for up to 48 hours in the fridge. I feel like this easy Mexican corn salad is very hard to mess up. Firm outer shell corn kernels are so forgiving and there are no soggy vegetables involved.
More Healthy Salad Recipes
- Mexican kale salad
- Quinoa tabbouleh salad
- Healthy shrimp salad
- Cauliflower potato salad
- Healthy taco salad
Mexican Street Corn Salad
- 6 large ears of corn shucked
- 1/2 cup cilantro finely chopped
- 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbled
- 1/2 large lemon or 1 lime juice of
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt 2+% fat
- 3 tbsp mayo I used avocado
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- Ground black pepper to taste
- Cook corn by boiling it for 15 minutes or by grilling on medium heat for 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes. Or even better - make Instant Pot corn in 2 minutes! Let cool until safe to handle.
- Using sharp chef's knife remove corn kernels off the cob by cutting lengthwise. And Ukrainian in me cleaned up those ears pretty clean afterwards - so much food would have been wasted.
- In a large salad bowl, add corn, cilantro, feta cheese, lemon or lime juice, yogurt, mayo, salt, cayenne and black pepper to taste.
- Stir gently and serve warm or cold. Welcome to the streets of Mexico!
Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 48 hours.
Make Ahead: If you like salad warm, refrigerate all ingredients in a bowl covered for up to 48 hours. Add warm cooked corn right before serving and toss. If you don't mind cold Mexican corn salad, you can refrigerate salad assembled but not stirred for up to 48 hours.
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