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 an indulgent treat to a virtuous guilt-free main dish. Behold, healthy Mexican Street Corn Quinoa Salad is here to fulfill your street-food-for-dinner dreams without the mayo!
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. (Same goes for this Mexican Corn Dip.)
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 bowl (like this Grilled Corn Salad).
This preference for the bowl is based on my inability to eat corn on the cob gracefully (e.g., Grilled Corn), combined with the fact that I can consume it more rapidly when it’s in bowl form.
5 Star Review
“I HAVE to comment to say that this recipe is the absolute best. I made it as a side dish and it was even better than the entree. I made 3x the amount and I’m not mad.”— Becky —
Reasons to Make This Mexican Street Corn Quinoa Salad
Today’s recipe for Mexican street corn quinoa salad has the same flavor profile and tasty appeal as classic Mexican street corn but is improved with a few creative tricks.
- Thanks to a few healthy swaps and additions, 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.)
- Quinoa packs in protein, making this recipe filling enough to serve as a healthy vegetarian main dish. (Just like this Corn Quinoa Casserole.)
- Replaces traditional mayo with a blend of hummus, nutritional yeast, and chili powder. An UNREAL combination that you’ll want to pile heavily over the street corn salad…and everything else (I suggest this Black Bean Corn Salad).
Added bonus: This recipe is ready in 30 minutes and is super quick and easy, and the leftovers taste fabulous reheated too!
How to Make Mexican Street Corn Quinoa Salad
This easy Mexican street corn quinoa salad recipe is so tasty and easy to make year-round; I know you’re going to love it just as much as I do.
This recipe originally appeared in the cookbook, Healthier Together by my friend, Liz Moody. Check it out for more healthy and creative recipes.
- 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 Crock Pot Creamed Corn 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 that’s also great sprinkled over Corn Chicken Chowder.
- 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.
For tips on how to achieve the perfect quinoa, check out How to Cook Quinoa.
- 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. ENJOY!
What to Serve with Mexican Street Corn Quinoa 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 Breast or Grilled Chicken Thighs.
- 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 Quinoa Salad
- To Store. Place leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Warm in a nonstick skillet over medium heat and top with an extra squeeze of lime.
- To Freeze. I do not recommend freezing this recipe, as some of the ingredients may lose their texture.
For a fresh spin that takes you south of the border, try this easy Mexican street corn quinoa salad.
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.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 5 days. (Store the hummus mixture separately.)
- TO REHEAT: Reheat in a nonstick skillet over medium heat and top with an extra squeeze of lime.
- TO FREEZE: Freezing this recipe is not recommended since it may negatively impact the texture of the ingredients.
- Recipe originally published in Healthier Together by Liz Moody.
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