If you’ve tasted the otherworldly side dish/snack that is Mexican street corn, then you are likely to be highly amenable to the idea of transforming it from indulgent, small-quantity treat to virtuous main event to be inhaled with guilt-free gusto. Behold, healthy Mexican Street Corn Salad with Quinoa, here to fulfill your street-food-for-dinner dreams!

Healthy Mexican Street Corn Salad on a plate with lime

Mexican street corn, also called elote, is a traditional Mexican street food that consists of grilled corn slathered liberally with chile powder, salt, butter, cotija cheese, lime, and mayo. It’s rich, smoky, creamy, and not the sort of thing you forget about once you’ve tasted a bite.

Mexican street corn can be sold on the cob, but my favorite way to eat it is with the kernels cut from the cob and stirred together with the butter, cheese, mayo, and spices in a little cup (that I wish were not so little).

This preference for the cup is based on my inability to eat corn on the cob gracefully, combined with the fact that I can consume it more rapidly, which tends to be the only speed at which I ever desire to eat it.

A plate of Healthy Mexican Corn Salad with Quinoa

Today’s recipe for Mexican Street Corn Salad with Quinoa has the same flavor profile and tasty appeal as classic Mexican street corn. Thanks to a few little swaps and additions, however, instead of being a heavy street food, it’s a wholesome recipe that you can feel good about eating regularly.

This recipe is ready in 30 minutes and is super quick and easy, and the leftovers taste fabulous reheated too!

Healthier Together Cookbook

This recipe hails from a new cookbook I’m tickled to have in my collection: Healthier Together, by my friend Liz Moody. The cookbook takes social occasions that are typically more indulgent (brunch, cocktail hour, ordering takeout), then provides healthy options that totally satisfy. All of the recipes are sized for two, as Liz encourages you to grab a friend, family member, or significant other and head into the kitchen to cook together.

In addition to having her own blog, Liz is the food contributor to the mega site mindbodygreen, so she has access to health experts and adds science-based nutritional information throughout the book too.

As someone who firmly believes that eating healthy should never mean feeling deprived and who loves sharing time in the kitchen with others, the recipes in this book and Liz’s outlook resonated with me. As a bonus, the recipes are geared towards cooks of any level, and most are quick and easy to prepare too!

A plate of Mexican Street Corn Quinoa Salad

I am especially enamored by makeovers of my indulgent favorites, so when I flipped to the page with this Mexican Street Corn Salad with Quinoa, I knew I had to try it.

Liz brilliantly replaces the mayo in Mexican street corn with a blend of hummus, nutritional yeast, and chili powder. UNREAL. I never would have thought to combine those ingredients, and I found myself wanting to pile it heavily over the street corn salad…and everything else.

A skillet with corn kernels for Mexican Street Corn Quinoa Salad

For quick convenience, instead of grilling the corn, it’s blistered in a skillet. It also tastes dynamite with frozen, thawed corn (what I used), meaning that even though corn isn’t in season yet, we can happily devour this corn quinoa salad year-round. This Mexican Salad is another delicious recipe to enjoy year-round.

The addition of protein-rich quinoa to this recipe makes it substantial enough for a vegetarian main. I served it first as a side with grilled chicken (the cilantro lime grilled chicken from this book, in fact), then ate the leftovers alone topped with avocado for a filling lunch the next day.

A plate of Mexican Street Corn Quinoa Salad

Thank you, Liz, so much for sharing this wonderful Mexican Street Salad with Quinoa with us! For more easy, healthy, feel-good recipes, be sure to check out Healthier Together.

Mexican Street Corn Salad with Quinoa

Yield: 2 servings, about 3 cups
Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
30 mins
Healthy Mexican Street Corn Salad with Quinoa. Easy recipe with NO MAYO. A better-for-you version of elote that's delicious for a side or vegetarian main.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons plain hummus — at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder — plus additional for garnish
  • 1 garlic clove — minced
  • 4 tablespoons ghee — melted (or swap unsalted butter)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt — divided
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 small yellow onion — diced (or 1/2 medium)
  • 2 ears of corn — kernels sliced from the cobs, or 1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed (I used frozen)
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro — roughly chopped, to garnish
  • 1 green onion — roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Rinse the quinoa well and drain. Combine the quinoa and vegetable broth in a small pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove the pot from the heat, uncover, and fluff with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the hummus, chili powder, garlic, 2 tablespoons ghee, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and nutritional yeast until smooth and creamy.
  3. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons ghee in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the yellow onion and corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until both are golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and transfer to a medium bowl. Add the quinoa, lime juice and zest, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and toss to combine well.

  4. Divide the mixture evenly between 2 bowls, then top with the hummus mixture. Garnish with cilantro, green onion, and a sprinkle of chili powder.

Recipe Notes

  • Refrigerate leftovers for up to 5 days. (Store the hummus mixture separately.) Reheat in a nonstick skillet over medium heat and top with an extra squeeze of lime.
  • Recipe from Healthier Together
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Avocado, healthy, Mexican Street Corn Salad, Vegetarian

Nutrition Information

Amount per serving (1 of 2) — Calories: 583, Fat: 35g, Saturated Fat: 19g, Cholesterol: 76mg, Carbohydrates: 57g, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 9g, Protein: 14g

Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!