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A delicious Mexican Street Corn Pasta salad with tons of veggies and a simple creamy dressing. Recipe from chelseasmessyapron.com
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Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad

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

Ingredients

Salad

  • 2 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 1
  • 3 green onions (1/3 cup (28g))
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro (1/2 cup (20g))
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeño peppers
  • 6-8 strips hardwood smoked bacon
  • 1/2 cup (66g) Queso Fresco Cheese Note 2
  • 1 large avocado, diced
  • Optional: 1/2 cup (83g) canned black beans, drained & rinsed

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup (97g) full-fat regular mayo (we love Hellman's/Best Foods)
  • 3 tablespoons (48g) freshly squeezed lime juice and 1/4 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha or hot sauce
  • Salt and ground black pepper

Instructions

  • PASTA: 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

Notes

Note 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

Serving: 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