This Chopped Mexican Street Corn Salad is a healthy, super delicious rendition of the iconic street food antojito (“snack”), sold by roadside vendors all over Mexico City!
This Chopped Mexican Street Corn Salad recipe is the result of a visit last week, with our son and daughter-in-law, to one of our favorite Mexican restaurants here in Asheville. We ordered their Mexican Street Corn and I’ve been craving it ever since! I decided to come up with a salad that included all the same flavors, but with an emphasis on lots of fresh veggies.
What is Mexican Street Corn?
If you’re not familiar with Mexican street corn, you’ve been missing out on something incredibly delicious! Mexican street corn has its origin in Mexico City where it’s sold as an “antojito” (snack). You’ll find it frequently sold by street vendors on a stick, making it perfect to enjoy “on the go”. Authentic Mexican Street Corn is a delicious balance of sweet, savory, fresh and a little spicy. The corn itself is sweet and the added ingredients of fresh lime, mayonnaise, cotija cheese, spices and cilantro create the savory, fresh and spicy.
More than just corn!
If I wanted to be true-blue and super authentic, I would have stuck to solely corn in my Mexican Street Corn Salad. Don’t get me wrong, I love corn, especially in the late spring and summer, when it’s super abundant, cheap and beautiful at the market. But I had a healthier, lighter salad in mind with all of the flavors of Mexican Street Corn but loaded with lots of other fresh veggies.
So I filled my cart with bell peppers, red onions, cucumbers, mangos (for a delicious touch of sweet), Romaine lettuce, cilantro and a package of corn tortillas (for a little crunchy splurge). We’ve been eating renditions of Mexican Street Corn Salad all week, but I think it’s perfect now and ready for you!
A delicious dressing
The dressing is actually where all the flavors of Mexican Street Corn come in. As mentioned above, Mexican Street Corn is flavored with fresh lime, mayo and spices. So that’s where I started. To keep things healthier though, I cheat a bit and use a scoop of mayo (for that authentic flavor) along with a scoop of healthy Greek yogurt, fresh lime juice, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika (to add a smoky note) and a pinch of sugar and chili powder.
The combination of these ingredients yields way more than the sum of its parts, as they saying goes. The final result is a burst of fresh, fabulous flavor that will make your eyes widen and your mouth water for more!
A perfect picnic or potluck dish
This Chopped Mexican Street Corn Salad is one of those dishes you’ll love bringing to picnics, potlucks and parties. It’s fresh, vibrant, beautiful and unique. Everyone will be wondering, “Who brought that wonderful corn salad?”. Just a little heads up though; don’t expect to bring any home!
Is it hard to make?
There is a LOT of chopping going on in this recipe; chopped peppers, chopped onion, chopped cucumbers, chopped mangos… However, I can get most of these chopped and ready to go in minutes. And it’s not because I have wonderful knife skills. Nope, it’s because I use my Vidalia Chop Wizard for the peppers, onions and cucumbers.
I’m not big on kitchen gadgets but this thing… I love this little kitchen workhorse and use it frequently! It doesn’t work on really soft fruits like mangos so I chop those by hand. But just about anything else… onions, peppers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, celery, zucchini, squash (winter and summer), apples, pears, cucumbers… all of these can be chopped large or small (it comes with 2 grates) in minutes!
So, all that being said, besides the chopping, this Mexican Street Corn Salad is super simple. Just combine all the ingredients, mix up the dressing in bowl and you’re ready to roll!
A delicious extra touch
Well, pretty much ready to roll. Unless you decide to go with the crunchy tortilla strips (which I highly recommend). The tortilla strips will take a few extra minutes but add a delightful crunchy splurge to this Mexican Street Corn Salad.
How does it work? Pretty simple, just stack up a pile of corn tortillas, slice them into strips and toss them with oil and salt on a sheet pan. A short stint in the oven and a few stirs and you’ve got a delicious gourmet garnish. I like to serve these on the side and let everyone help themselves, but you could also sprinkle them right over the top.
Pairs deliciously with so many things…
This Chopped Mexican Street Corn Salad pairs well with any Mexican entree like enchiladas, quesadillas, tacos, empanadas, carnitas, tamales, etc. but it’s also wonderful with grilled steaks, chicken, shrimp and pork.
I think once you try this delicious salad you’ll find yourself craving the fresh, bright flavors! Bring it to a picnic or potluck and it will disappear in a flash! Put the ingredients on your shopping list and make this Chopped Mexican Street Corn Salad sometime very soon!
P.S. If you enjoy this salad, I think you’ll also love our Mexican Street Corn which is made of primarily corn and served warm.
Cafe Tips for making this Mexican Street Corn Salad
- This Chopped Mexican Street Corn Salad is designed to feed a crowd but it’s easily halved if you have a smaller group to feed.
- If you’re taking this to a picnic or party, I recommend combining all the veggies in a large serving bowl but keeping them separate from the dressing, cheese and tortilla strips until just before serving.
- The microwave method for cooking corn in this recipe is such an easy technique and works like a charm. I’ve been using this method for years with great results. However, each microwave is different and you may need to adjust the time a bit according to your own microwave. When cooking three ears of corn in my microwave, 6 minutes is perfect. In my old microwave, 5 minutes worked better as it had a turntable and was a little more powerful. The corn should be lightly cooked, still a little crisp and the kernels should be full and deep yellow. If the kernels look a bit wrinkled, the corn is cooked a little too much so back off a bit on the time. If the kernels are still light yellow and raw looking, you made need to increase the time a bit.
- I find that cutting off most of the silk at the top of the corn before cooking, prevents a mess in the microwave.
- I like mayonnaise but tend to not cook a lot with it as I prefer things light and fresh. In this recipe, however, a small scoop of mayo is essential for the flavor. I balance it out with a scoop of Greek yogurt to keep the dressing a little lighter. If you wanted to go with 100% mayonnaise, that would be fine but you won’t get the same, authentic flavor with 100% Greek yogurt.
- This salad is not spicy even with 2 jalapenos, if you like things a little spicier, include the seeds and the inner membrane.
- This recipe calls for Cotija cheese. Cotija is a Mexican cow’s milk cheese that is crumbly like Parmesan and has a flavor similar to Feta. Its named after the town of Cotija in the Mexican state of Michoacán. Cotija can be found the cheese/dairy section of many larger grocery stores but a good substitute is Feta.
Thought for the day:
I waited patiently for the Lord;
He turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
He set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in h\Him.
What we’re listening to for inspiration:
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- 2 tablespoon Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 6 6- inch corn tortillas
- 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 ears of fresh corn kernels removed
- 2 medium hearts of Romaine
- 1 large mango peeled, pitted and cut into ¼-inch dice
- 1 large bell pepper diced about ½ inch
- 1 medium red onion diced about ½ inch
- 1 large seedless cucumber diced about ½ inch
- 2 medium jalapeño peppers finely chopped
- ½ cup fresh cilantro finely chopped
- ¼ cup cotija cheese or Feta, crumbled
- extra cilantro leaves for garnish
In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt and mayonnaise until nice and smooth. Slowly add the lime juice while whisking. Add the sugar, spices, salt and pepper and whisk until well combined. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 375˚F. Stack corn tortillas on a cutting board. Cut in half. Cut each stack of halves into thin strips, widthwise, about 1/4-inch thick.
Transfer tortilla strips to a sheet pan. Drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with salt and toss to coat.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, or until light golden brown and crisp. Set aside to cool.
Place three ears of corn in the microwave and cook for 6 minutes on high power. Remove with a hot pad and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Repeat with the next three ears. For the last two, cook for 4 minutes on high power.
After the corn is cooled, cut off the bottom end of each cob about 1½ inches from the end. Pull back husk and silks (almost all of the silk should easily pull away). Cut kernels from husks (avoiding the tough core) and set aside.
Pull off any browned or blemished outer leaves from the hearts of Romaine. Slice Romaine into ½-inch slices and then run your knife a few times across each slice to create small bite-size pieces.
Combine the Romaine, corn, mango, bell pepper, red onion, cucumbers, jalapeno and chopped cilantro. Stir gently to combine. Add 3-4 tablespoons of the dressing and stir again gently to coat all ingredients. Taste and add more dressing as desired. Serve any extra dressing at the table.
Sprinkle the salad with the Cotija (or Feta) and garnish with cilantro leaves, if desired.
Serve with tortilla strips on top or place a bowl on the side and let guests help themselves.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips.