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!
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.
Reasons to Make This Mexican Street Corn Salad
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. (Just like this Mexican Salad.)
This recipe is ready in 30 minutes and is super quick and easy, and the leftovers taste fabulous reheated too!
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!
I am especially enamored by makeovers of my indulgent favorites, so when I flipped to the page with this Mexican street 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.
This recipe is so tasty and can easily be made year-round with a sneaky trick (more on that below). I know you’re going to love it just as much as I do.
How to Make Mexican Street Corn Salad with Quinoa
- Corn. The star of the show! Blistered in a skillet for incredible flavor. I used frozen, thawed corn for this recipe, and it worked perfectly. (This Black Bean Corn Salad is another favorite.)
- Quinoa. Adds protein and texture to this recipe.
- Hummus + Nutritional Yeast + Ghee + Chili Powder. The secret to the cheesy, creamy flavor of this dish. This all-star combination is the reason this is a Mexican street corn salad with no mayo and no cheese.
- Lime Zest + Juice. For zippy flavor.
- Cilantro. A tasty, fresh topping.
- Rinse and drain the quinoa. Combine the first two ingredients in a small pot. Cook until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat, and fluff.
- Whisk together the hummus, ghee, and spices until smooth.
- Cook your vegetables, until golden brown. Remove, and transfer to a bowl. Add your quinoa, lime, and spices. Toss to combine.
- Top with the hummus mixture, and garnish as desired. DIG IN!
What to Serve with Mexican Street Corn Salad
The addition of protein-rich quinoa to this recipe makes it substantial enough for a vegetarian main, but here are a few ideas of what could be served with it:
- Grilled Chicken. Make this recipe even more filling with a side of grilled chicken.
- Beans. Crowd-pleasing Instant Pot Refried Beans or Instant Pot Black Beans are always a hit.
- Margarita. Serve a refreshing Skinny Margarita as a fun addition to your meal.
How to Store Mexican Street Corn Salad
- To Store. Place leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- I do not recommend freezing this recipe, as some of the ingredients may lose their texture.
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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Divide the mixture evenly between 2 bowls, then top with the hummus mixture. Garnish with cilantro, green onion, and a sprinkle of chili powder.
- 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
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