A delicious Mexican Street Corn Pasta salad with tons of veggies and a simple creamy chili-lime dressing.
I have a pretty close schedule I stick with on what I share here on the blog. The months are planned by the days I’m sharing a recipe and what recipe I will be sharing on that particular day. But sometimes, I’ll switch up my entire schedule because I’m literally BURSTING at the seam to share something.
Today is that day. This Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad is one of my all time favorite meals to hit the blog. Primarily 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?!
I’m pretty sure those are all my favorite ingredients together in one happy place. Annnnnd we haven’t even started on the dressing yet.
The toddler has definitely inherited my taste-buds which is super lucky for me. When choosing where to go out to eat or planning meals for the week, we currently have 2 against 1 (the toddler + me against the husband). Because while the husband wants a triple-stacked cheeseburger with extra fries we are both asking for a salad + healthy sandwich combo at Zupas and it pretty much has the husband begging our baby to love burgers like him as soon as he gets some teeth in.
One of the taste-buds our toddler inherited from me is a love for corn. He will literally pick a can of corn over a donut. I’ve also found someone that can out-eat me in popcorn AND he will beg for corn on the cob in the grocery store every single time we go.
While he’s not the best at eating it off the cob, he will keep on trying until every ounce of corn has been removed.
So to say he also loved this salad would be an understatement. Even the little bit of kick from the dressing + the jalapeños didn’t have him phased, but we’ve talked about his ability to handle spice, so this wasn’t too surprising. If you are worried about the spice, just leave out the jalapeños, paprika, and half the hot sauce in the dressing and it will be great!
Speaking of the dressing, I adapted it from my latest favorite dipping sauce shared on the blog which has mayo, lime, and Sriracha. This chili-lime dressing has the same 3 ingredients plus a few spices and it is out-of-this-world delicious.
Plus the best part is you just have to quickly whisk the few ingredients together and it’s ready to go. No blender needed!
And now lets talk cheese for a second. For super authentic Mexican Street Corn you are going to want to use Cotija cheese. It’s typically near speciality cheeses in the grocery store. An easy alternative is Queso Fresco cheese which is generally near mozzarella and refrigerated tortillas in the grocery store. A last resort that will still work fine is feta cheese.
Finally: the CORN which is the star of the show here. There are a couple of options for the corn in this salad. One is going to 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. The other options are easier and less time consuming which I know a lot of you are a fan of (including me 99% of the time!). Option #1: buy pre-roasted canned corn (near regular canned corn in the grocery store) and use 2 cans of that drained. Option #2: buy just regular canned corn and roast it for a few minutes on the stovetop.
Whatever you chose to do, it’s corn at the end of the day, so it’s going to be AWESOME.
- 2 cups miniature farfelle pasta, uncooked
- 3 cups either 2 (15-ounce) cans, or 3-4 corns on the cob
- 1 large avocado
- 3 green onions
- 1/2 bunch cilantro
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno
- 6-8 strips hardwood smoked bacon
- 1/2 cup Queso Fresco Cheese (or cotija or feta -- add cheese to preference (we like ~1/2 cup depending on the cheese used (cotija is saltier so use less))
- Optional: 1/2 canned cup black beans
- 1/2 cup full fat regular mayo no substitutes
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice and 1/4 teaspoon lime zest
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha or hot sauce
- Pinch of salt and ground black pepper
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Make sure the pasta is completely dry.
Corn: if using corn on the cob: Heat the grill to medium. Pull back the husks to the base and take off all the silk from each ear of corn. Fold back the husks into place.
Place the ears of corn in a large bowl of water with 1 tablespoon of salt for 10 minutes and then remove from water and shake to dry. Place the corn on the grill, cover the grill, and cook for 15-20 minutes turning the corn every 5 minutes.
You'll know the corn is done when the kernels are tender and easily pierced with a fork.
Alternative #1: use pre-roasted canned corn -- drain and allow to dry. Alternative #2: use regular canned corn: 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.
Meanwhile prep the veggies: chop the avocado into small pieces, chop the green onions, coarsely chop the cilantro, very finely chop the jalapeno, and cook then crumble the bacon. Crumble the cheese. Add black beans if desired.
In a large bowl combine the completely dry and cooled pasta, cooled corn, avocado, onions, cilantro, jalapeno, bacon, and cheese. **If you don't plan on eating this in one sitting and immediately after making, don't add the bacon, cheese, or avocado. Add those in separately right before enjoying.**
In a small bowl combine all of the dressing ingredients and whisk together until completely combined.
Toss with the salad and enjoy!
The focus of this pasta salad is more on the corn that the pasta. If you want a more "pasty-y" salad, increase by 1 cup dry noodles. You will also probably want to do more dressing.
More delicious pasta salads: