Mexican Street Corn Salad with Avocado
This Mexican Street Corn Salad with Avocado is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser! It’s incredibly easy to make and filled with vibrant colors, delicious flavors, and satisfying textures.
The best part? You can have it ready in just 20 minutes. Whether you prefer it warm or cold, it’s the perfect side dish for any summer picnic or BBQ gathering.
Mexican Street Corn Salad combines the flavors of two popular street foods: elotes and esquites. Elotes features grilled corn on the cob covered in mayo, Mexican crema, chili powder, and Cotija cheese. Esquites, on the other hand, is off-the-cob corn served in a cup with various toppings.
This salad brings together roasted corn, creamy avocado, fresh cilantro, zesty red onion, crumbly Cotija cheese, and a spicy jalapeño kick. Tossed in a simple dressing of cayenne pepper, mayo, garlic, and lime juice, it’s a refreshing and satisfying side dish or light meal that can be enjoyed any time of the year.
Why you’ll love this Mexican avocado salad
- It’s bursting with vibrant flavors.
- As you can make it in advance, it’s ideal for meal prep or taking it to potlucks and gatherings.
- Simple and quick to prepare using everyday ingredients.
- Easily customizable with extra ingredients or toppings to match your taste or dietary requirements.
This street corn salad pairs well with a variety of proteins, such as grilled chicken, veggie burgers, or spicy shrimp. It also works wonderfully as a topping for fish tacos or a filling for quesadillas.
Ingredients & substitutions
Here are some helpful notes about the key ingredients for this nutritious salad:
- Corn: fresh corn is the best choice in the summer. In the off-season, you can use thawed and drained frozen corn or canned corn as alternatives.
- Jalapeno: adjust the spiciness by adding more or reducing the amount to suit your taste.
- Cilantro: if you’re not a fan of cilantro, you can substitute it with fresh parsley or basil.
- Red onion: soak the diced onion in cold water to mellow its sharpness.
- Cotija cheese: Cotija is a traditional Mexican cheese with a crumbly texture and a salty taste. If you can’t find it, you can use feta cheese, queso fresco, or grated Parmesan.
- Avocado: to prevent browning, squeeze fresh lime juice over the diced avocado or keep it separate until serving time.
- Lime juice: you can replace it with lemon juice.
- Cayenne pepper: adjust the amount according to your spice preference. Add more for extra kick, or reduce it for a milder flavor.
- Mayonnaise: for a lighter option, you can use light mayonnaise or plain Greek yogurt. Did you know you can make your own mayonnaise from scratch?
See the recipe card below for a detailed ingredient list and step-by-step instructions.
How to make avocado corn salad
- Roast the corn: begin by roasting the corn kernels. If you’re using canned corn, feel free to skip this step.
- Prepare the dressing: while the corn is cooking, create the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, lime juice, minced garlic, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.
- Combine the ingredients: after the corn has cooled slightly, transfer the kernels to a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients.
- Add the dressing: pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and gently toss everything together.
- Final touch: for an extra burst of flavor and a beautiful presentation, sprinkle additional Cotija cheese on top of the salad. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
- Vegan option: to make the salad vegan-friendly, simply swap out the mayonnaise with vegan mayonnaise or plain vegan yogurt.
- Protein boost: add grilled chicken, shrimp, crispy bacon, or black beans to increase the protein content and make the salad more filling.
- Grill it: enhance the smoky flavors by grilling the corn on a barbecue instead of using a skillet.
- Tortilla strips: for a satisfying crunch, sprinkle some tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips over the salad just before serving.
- Fresh tomatoes: consider adding some cherry or grape tomatoes for a juicy and colorful addition.
Make-ahead & storage instructions
Leftovers: store any leftover salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2–3 days. To keep it fresh, it’s best to leave out the avocado and add it separately right before serving.
Make-ahead: this Mexican salad is an excellent choice for meal prep or a tasty work lunch. For the best texture, add the avocado, cheese, and dressing just before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use frozen or canned corn instead of fresh corn?
You can easily substitute fresh corn with either frozen or canned corn in this Mexican avocado salad. Here’s how you can use each option:
Frozen corn: thaw the frozen corn completely before adding it to the salad. You can either leave it in the refrigerator overnight or rinse it under cold water. Be sure to drain it well to remove any excess moisture.
Canned corn: drain the canned corn before adding it to the salad. Keep in mind that canned corn may have a softer texture compared to fresh or frozen corn.
Can I freeze Mexican corn salad?
We do not recommend freezing the corn salad, as it can affect the texture and flavor.
Can I make Mexican street corn salad without mayonnaise?
Yes, you can make it without mayonnaise. Use Greek yogurt or sour cream instead.
Can I grill the corn instead of charring it in a skillet?
Absolutely! Grilling the corn will give it a delicious smoky flavor and a slightly different texture compared to charring it in a skillet.
Have you tried this street corn salad recipe yet? Share your feedback or variations in the comments below. If you have any questions, feel free to ask – we’re here to help!
How To Make It: Mexican Avocado Salad
For the salad:
- 4 ears fresh corn (about 3 cups) husked and kernels cut from the cob
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 jalapeno stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
- ½ cup (25 g) cilantro leaves chopped
- ⅓ cup diced red onion (1 small onion)
- 2.5 oz. (70 g) crumbled Cotija cheese plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 avocado peeled, cored and diced
- ½ tablespoon fresh lime juice
For the dressing:
- 2½ tablespoons mayonnaise (I used light)
- 1½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
Char the corn
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.Add the corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until it becomes charred (about 8 to 10 minutes). Remove from heat and let it cool slightly.
Prepare the dressing
- While the corn is cooking, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, minced garlic, lime juice, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
Assemble the salad
- Pour half a tablespoon of lime juice over the diced avocado to prevent browning. In a large bowl, combine the charred corn, diced avocado, chopped jalapeno, chopped cilantro, diced red onion, and crumbled Cotija cheese.Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and gently toss to combine, ensuring everything is coated evenly.Top the salad with extra crumbled Cotija cheese and serve, either warm or cold.
- Corn: if fresh corn is not available, you can use thawed frozen corn or canned corn.
- Red onion: soak the diced onion in cold water to mellow its sharpness.
- Cotija cheese: if you can’t find it, you can use feta cheese, queso fresco, or grated Parmesan as substitutes.
- Mayonnaise: for a lighter option, use light mayonnaise or plain Greek yogurt.
- Make the salad vegan-friendly by substituting mayonnaise with vegan mayonnaise or plain vegan yogurt.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. To keep it fresh, it’s best to leave out the avocado and add it separately right before serving.
- Make-ahead: for optimal taste and texture, add the avocado and cheese just before serving. Additionally, store the dressing separately and dress the salad right before serving to maintain its flavors and textures.