Home > Salads > Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad July 19, 2020 | 178 Comments SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Jump to Recipe This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy. One of the most popular recipes on this site: Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad! Toss bowtie pasta with lots of corn, fresh herbs, black beans, and a simple creamy chili-lime dressing. We love getting creative and playing off the flavors of Elote (Mexican Street Corn); try some of our other fun recipes next: Mexican Street Corn Chicken Tacos, Mexican Street Corn and Chicken Chowder, or Loaded Sweet Potatoes with a Mexican street corn-inspired topping. Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad There is a pretty close schedule I stick to on what recipes get shared on the site. I work usually up to a month ahead of time, so the content is created a few weeks before you’ll see it here. But every once in a while, I’ll switch up the entire schedule because I’m bursting at the seam to share something. Today is that day. This Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad is one of my all-time favorite pasta salad creations. This may be because corn is my favorite veggie, Mexican Street Corn is my favorite way to enjoy said veggie, and adding pasta for a self-proclaimed carb addict was the best decision ever. Also, did I mention avocados, lime, cilantro, jalapeños, cheese, green onions, and bacon?! Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad: The Dressing I’m pretty sure those are all my favorite ingredients together in one happy place. And we haven’t even started on the dressing yet. The best part is you just have to whisk the few ingredients together and it’s ready to go. No blender needed! Below are a few quick tips: We love Hellman’s/Best Foods® mayonnaise best in this dressing. It has a robust flavor without being too sweet. As for spiciness, I’d rate the dressing to be very slightly spicy. If you’d like to make it milder, reduce or omit the Sriracha/hot sauce and be sure to use McCormick® seasonings. (We find them very mild.) Keep in mind that reducing or omitting spice will reduce the overall flavor of the salad. Alternatively, amp up the heat by adding in 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper. The dressing calls for lime juice and zest. If you use citrus a lot when cooking/baking, having a good citrus juicer and microplane is invaluable! Make ahead: This dressing does really well being made ahead of time. (In fact, it gets even more flavorful as the ingredients meld!) Whisk it together and refrigerate in an air-tight container until ready to use. Dressing will stay good for 5-7 stored properly in an airtight container (or mason jar) in the fridge. Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad: The Salad Ingredients Beyond the dressing, we have the actual salad ingredients. Below is a quick breakdown, along with some notes: Pasta: We like regular-sized farfalle (also called bowtie) pasta best in this salad. Other types of noodles will work; just be sure to use noodles that have a lot of ridges. The more texture, the better the dressing will coat. Corn: Use fresh, frozen, or even canned! More on this ingredient in the section entitled “Let’s Talk Corn” below. Avocado: A ripe avocado makes all the difference — it adds a wonderful texture and flavor to the salad. You can tell if an avocado is ripe when it yields to gentle pressure (think: touching the tip of your nose). Fresh herbs: Cilantro and green onions add such great contrasting flavors and a slight citrus note to the salad. If you aren’t a cilantro fan, use extra green onions instead! Jalapeño: Be sure to remove the ribs and seeds of the jalapeño before finely dicing. Bacon: For super-quick prep, use pre-cooked bacon that you crisp up in the microwave. Cheese: For a more authentic Mexican Street Corn flavor, go for Cotija cheese. It’s typically near specialty cheeses in the grocery store. An easy alternative is Queso Fresco which is generally near mozzarella and refrigerated tortillas in the grocery store. As a last resort, you can use feta cheese and it works surprisingly well! Depending on the cheese used, you may want less than the recipe indicates. (Cotija is much saltier than Queso Fresco, so you’ll want a lot less of it.) Optional — black beans: We like the color and protein black beans add, but it’s entirely up to how you like your Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad! QUICK TIP If you prefer less spice in this salad, leave out the jalapeños. Alternatively, amp up the spice by adding in more! Let’s talk corn There are a few different options for preparing the corn for Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad. One is going the authentic route and grilling the corn until lightly charred all over. If you have a grill and the extra time, I would highly recommend going this route — it is incredible what freshly grilled corn does for this salad! See the “quick tip” box below. Buy pre-roasted canned corn (near regular canned corn in the grocery store) and use two cans, drained. Buy regular canned corn and roast it for a few minutes on the stovetop. More details on how to do that here. Or, use frozen corn. Add it into the boiling pasta water for the last minute of cooking time. QUICK TIP How to grill corn: Peel back husks and remove the silk. Rub vegetable or olive oil on all sides of the corn and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place on heated grill (400-450 degrees F) and rotate every 3-4 minutes or until charred, about 12 minutes total. (This also works on a grill pan!) QUICK TIP Don’t forget to salt the pasta water. Make sure the pasta is well-salted as it cooks since this is the only chance you have to season the actual pasta. Underseasoned pasta will make the entire salad taste less flavorful. As a general rule of thumb, I add 1 teaspoon of salt to every 4 cups of boiling water. More corn-focused recipes Creamy Corn Salad Jalapeño-popper flavor inspired Pesto Chicken with corn and bean salsa Corn Salsa Recipe with a delicious dressing Flank Steak with Corn Salsa and fresh avocado Quinoa Corn Salad with a chipotle vinaigrette FOLLOW ALONG! Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates, recipes and content. Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad 5 from 45 votes - Review this recipe One of the most popular recipes on this site: Mexican Street Corn Pasta salad! Toss bowtie pasta with lots of corn, fresh herbs, black beans, and a simple creamy chili-lime dressing. SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad 5 from 45 votes - Review this recipe SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe One of the most popular recipes on this site: Mexican Street Corn Pasta salad! Toss bowtie pasta with lots of corn, fresh herbs, black beans, and a simple creamy chili-lime dressing. Course Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish Cuisine American, Mexican, Vegetarian Keyword Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad Prep Time 25 minutes Cook Time 9 minutes Total Time 34 minutes Servings 6 -8 as a side Calories 692kcal Cost $8.21 IngredientsSalad2 cups (125g) regular farfalle/bowtie pasta, (measured uncooked)3 cups (420g) frozen corn (or 2 (15-ounce) cans, or 3-4 corns on the cob) Note 13 green onions (1/3 cup (28g))1/2 bunch cilantro (1/2 cup (20g))1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeño peppers6-8 strips hardwood smoked bacon1/2 cup (66g) Queso Fresco Cheese Note 21 large avocado, dicedOptional: 1/2 cup (83g) canned black beans, drained & rinsedDressing1/2 cup (97g) full-fat regular mayo (we love Hellman's/Best Foods)3 tablespoons (48g) freshly squeezed lime juice and 1/4 teaspoon lime zest1/8 teaspoon ground cumin1/4 teaspoon paprika1/2 teaspoon chili powder1 teaspoon Sriracha or hot sauceSalt and ground black pepper InstructionsPASTA: Prepare the pasta according to package directions. (Don't cook all the pasta; only use 2 cups!) Make sure to generously salt the water (I add 1 teaspoon to every 4 cups of water), or the whole salad will taste under-seasoned. If using frozen corn, add it in with the pasta for the last minute of boiling. Drain pasta, rinse under cold water, let cool, and allow to completely dry. CORN: See Note 1.VEGGIE PREP: Chop the green onions, coarsely chop the cilantro, very finely chop the jalapeño, cook and crumble the bacon. Crumble the cheese. Drain and rinse optional black beans. Lastly, chop the avocado into small pieces.DRESSING: Combine all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. (I add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.) Whisk until smooth and refrigerate until ready to use.SALAD ASSEMBLY: In a large bowl, combine the completely dry and cooled pasta, cooled corn, avocado, onions, cilantro, jalapeños, bacon, and cheese (See Note 2). **If you don't plan on eating this in one sitting (and soon after it's made), don't add the bacon, cheese, or avocado. Add those in separately right before enjoying.** Drizzle on dressing and gently toss to coat. Enjoy salad immediately! Leftovers don't store well once dressed. Video Recipe NotesNote 1: Several different options for corn preparation: Grill the corn until lightly charred all over. To grill corn: Peel back husks and remove the silk. Rub vegetable or olive oil on all sides of the corn and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place on heated grill (400-450 degrees F) and rotate every 3-4 minutes or until charred and corn is easily pierced with a fork, about 12 minutes total. (This also works on a grill pan!) Buy pre-roasted canned corn (near regular canned corn in the grocery store) and use 2 cans of that (thoroughly drained). Buy regular canned corn and roast it for a few minutes on the stovetop. Heat a large cast iron skillet on medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes or until very hot. Drain corn and place in a single layer and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring once in between or until browned. Avoid stirring too often as this will keep the corn from getting a good roast. Or, use frozen corn. Add it into the boiling pasta water for the last minute of cooking time. Note 2: For a more authentic Mexican Street Corn flavor, go for Cotija cheese. It's typically near specialty cheeses in the grocery store. An easy alternative is Queso Fresco cheese which is generally near mozzarella and refrigerated tortillas in the grocery store. Depending on the cheese used, you may want to use less than the recipe indicates. (Cotija is much saltier than Queso Fresco, so you'll want a lot less; closer to 3-4 tablespoons). Add cheese slowly to desired personal preference. Nutrition information includes the optional black beans. Nutrition FactsServing: 1serving | Calories: 692kcal | Carbohydrates: 93g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 305mg | Potassium: 730mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 692IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 149mg | Iron: 2mg DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.