Mexican Street Corn Salad

This healthy Mexican Street Corn Salad made with charred sweet corn, Greek yogurt, jalapenos, Cotija cheese, and lime juice is a healthy summer side perfect for a potluck! A twist on esquites that is packed with authentic Mexican flavor but way lower in fat and calories!

overhead shot of a bowl of Mexican Street Corn Salad with cotija cheese and lime wedges

Meet my new favorite summer side dish – Mexican Street Corn Salad ( Esquites)

Take Taco Tuesday up a notch and add this healthy Mexican Street Corn Salad to the dinner menu! This delicious healthy summer side dish is made with charred sweet corn, onions, jalapenos, and a super creamy light cotija cheese & Greek yogurt sauce.

Seriously, if you want to take your taste buds to the streets of MEXICO, drop everything you’re doing and make this Mexican Street Corn Salad today!

overhead shot of a bowl of healthy Mexican Street Corn Salad tossed with creamy Greek yogurt dressing

To those of you, who are not familiar with Mexican Street Corn Salad, it is a delicious Mexican snack which is also known as Esquites or vasito de elotes which literally means little corn-cup. How cute is that?

This Mexican street food classic and international festival favorite is usually made with sauteed corn – cooked in lots of butter, onions, chilies, and salt, then served in a cup and topped with lime juice, chili powder, hot sauce, salt, mayo, etc. Spicy, salty, fatty –  pretty much a hangover breakfast in a plastic cup.

Delicious but OMG – we are looking at a serious calorie bomb! Should you just have finished running a marathon or won a salsa competition, go ahead. For all of us who spend most of their day in the office, I recommend this healthy take on esquites.

By removing the traditional mayonnaise and lowering the quantity of cheese, this healthy version of Mexican street corn salad is lighter, fresher, and dare I say even better?

side view of a bowl of healthy Mexican Street Corn salad with lime wedges and cotija cheese

I know this mixture of ingredients may sound strange at first and YES, I was incredibly skeptical upon trying it first, but I have been EN AMOR since my first bite. It’s an incredibly addictive combination of sweet, smoky, spicy, and tangy. Taco Tuesday material.

How to make Mexican Street Corn Salad:

fresh sweet corn being shaved off a cob with a kitchen knife and being gathered in a bowl to make salad

Step  1 – Prepare the corn:

Shuck the corn. Pull off the husk and rub off the silk by sliding your hand along the ear. Cut off the kernels: rest the ear firmly on a board and cut from stem to tip, without cutting the cob itself to avoid tough, woody bits. (Not going to lie, this part can get a bit messy, but it’s worth it!).

Step 2-  You do not need a grill to make this salad. You can achieve nearly the same amount of smokey grill flavor by just charring the kernels in a skillet. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is screaming hot, add corn kernels and cook until charred, tossing only occasionally (every 2 minutes or so) to let all the corn char nicely. This should take around 8-10 minutes. If you don’t have a large skillet, you might want to char the corns in two batches. Turn off the heat and let it cool a bit. Gather in a glass bowl.

Alternative –  esquites made with grilled corn:

You can also grill the corn: wrap each ear (shucked) in aluminum foil and grill for 15-25 minutes before cutting off the kernels.

 

ingredients for healthy no mayo Mexican Street Corn Salad being mixed in a glass bowl

Step 3 – Add Greek yogurt, half of the cheese, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, chili powder, and sea salt to the corn. Tip: Avoid the bottled stuff, use fresh lime juice. A total must for any and all Mexican food.

Step 4Toss everything well to combine. Taste and adjust salt and chili powder to taste. Transfer to a serving dish (or keep in the same bowl), top with remaining cheese and more cilantro. Serve and enjoy!

overhead shot of a bowl of Mexican Street Corn Salad with creamy cotija Greek Yogurt dressing

How to store this salad: 

You can store this salad in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days, I don’t recommend freezing this dish.

Can I make this salad recipe with frozen corn?

Yes, you can use frozen (or canned if really in a pinch) for this Mexican Street Corn Salad recipe, but fresh is really best.

Tips:

  • Cotija cheese is a hard crumbly and salty Mexican cheese that looks a lot like feta cheese. In North America, you should have no issue finding it in bigger grocery stores. If you cannot find cotija cheese, you can use feta cheese or even parmesan cheese in this recipe, no problem. That’s actually what I did, as we don’t get cotija cheese where I live.
  • Cilantro is the traditional addition here and my favorite, but if you are not a fan, then parsley would be a great alternative. Or add some freshly chopped chives.
  • Salt and lime juice are key flavors in this salad, do not skimp on either of those ingredients.
  • You can totally make a whole bunch of this ahead of time and add it as a topping to any of your favorite bowls.
  • Want to bulk things up some more without piling on more carbs? Add some avocado. This will add a nice creaminess.
overhead shot of a bowl of Mexican Street Corn Salad with creamy Greek Yogurt dressing
5 from 5 votes
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Mexican Street Corn Salad

This healthy Mexican Street Corn Salad made with charred sweet corn, Greek yogurt, jalapenos, Cotija cheese, and lime juice is a healthy summer side perfect for a potluck! This twist on esquites is packed with authentic Mexican flavor but way lower in fat and calories!
Course Appetizer, side, Snack
Cuisine American, Mexican
Keyword healthy esquites, healthy street corn salad, Mexican street corn salad
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Author Marie

Ingredients

  • 6 fresh corn ears
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil - or olive oil
  • 1/3 cup greek yogurt - unflavored and unsweetened
  • 1/4 cup cotija cheese or feta cheese, see notes
  • 1/3 cup red onion finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup cilantro chopped + more for serving
  • 2 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder start with that and add more to taste - I used 3/4 tsp
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Prepare the corn. Shuck the corn; pull off the husk and rub off the silk by sliding your hand along the ear. Cut off the kernels: rest the ear firmly on a board and cut from stem to tip, without cutting the cob itself to avoid tough, woody bits. (Not going to lie, this part can get a bit messy, but it’s worth it!).
  2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add corn kernels and cook until charred, tossing only occasionally (every 2 minutes or so) to let all the corn char nicely. This should take around 8-10 minutes. If you don’t have a large skillet, you might want to char the corns in two batches. Turn off the heat and let it cool a bit.
  3. Transfer to a large bowl, and add greek yogurt, half of the cheese, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, chili powder and sea salt. Toss to combine. Taste and adjust salt and chili powder to taste.
  4. Transfer to a serving dish (or keep in the same bowl), top with remaining cheese and more cilantro. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • Cotija cheese is a hard crumbly and salty Mexican cheese that looks a lot like feta cheese. In North America, you should have no issue finding it in bigger grocery stores. If you cannot find cotija cheese, you can use feta cheese or even parmesan cheese in this recipe, no problem. That's actually what I did, as we don't get cotija cheese where I live.
  • Cilantro is the traditional addition here and my favorite, but if you are not a fan, then parsley would be a great alternative. Or add some freshly chopped chives. 
  • Salt and lime juice are key flavors in this salad, do not skimp on either of those ingredients.
  • You can totally make a whole bunch of this ahead of time and add it as a topping to any of your favorite bowls.
  • Want to bulk things up some more without piling on more carbs? Add some avocado. This will add a nice creaminess.

If you tried this Mexican Street Corn Salad recipe don’t forget to rate the recipe below and let me know how it went in the comments – I love hearing from you! You can also follow me on InstagramPinterest and Facebook for more deliciousness and behind-the-scenes!

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Clean Eating Gluten free Meal Prep Quick & Easy Meals Recipes Salads Side dishes Snacks Summer Recipes Vegetarian
10 Comments
  1. Yum this salad looks to die for! I love the idea of the cotija cheese as I haven’t heard of it before. I can see this would go down a treat at BBQ’s!

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