I have quite the love for all things corn! I incorporate corn into many of my recipes such as my Cheesy Corn Casserole or my Avocado Chicken Salad. Heck, sometimes I just break open a can of corn, melt some butter over it and enjoy a nice corn filled snack. But my favorite corn food of all time are Elotes! Nothing beats an authentic Elote straight from the streets of Los Angeles!
This dish came into fruition during one of my “feeling-creative” moments. I really wanted pasta salad but was tired of the same old recipes. I opened my pantry to see an over abundance of canned corn. So naturally, something clicked in my brain to put one of my two favorite dishes together into an incredibly unique and DELICIOUS Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad!
Elote is a type of Mexican grilled corn that’s usually topped with mayo, crema, chili, lime and cotija cheese. I tried to incorporate as much of these ingredients as possible into this pasta salad to keep the essence of a traditional Elote with just a few minor differences. For the sauce, I used mayo as the base, mixed with lime juice, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper (instead of chili). I just personally like the taste of cayenne more than plain chili. For the cheese topping, I used a mix of crumbled cotija cheese and grated parmesan cheese.
In order to really get the right kind of taste for this recipe, you MUST sauté the corn first before mixing it into the pasta salad. All the other vegetables can be added in raw, but you really want the corn to develop a slightly “charred” look in order to mimic traditional Mexican grilled corn. Since we’re using canned corn, the easiest way to do this is to sauté the corn in some oil, salt and pepper in a large skillet. If you have the time to spare, you’re more than welcome to grill a few ears of corn and cut the kernels for the salad instead! But for me, I’m all about shortcuts when I cook so I didn’t mind using canned corn at all. And the result was still extremely scrumptious!
After sautéing the corn, I like to save a handful on the side in order to top the pasta salad for the final Mexican street corn look. And since this pasta salad is best served cold, I would highly recommend making it a few hours before you’re ready to serve or the night before if you’re able to. It could take anywhere from 2-4 hours to cool completely. I find that occasionally mixing the salad during the refrigeration time helps to cool it faster.
This pasta salad has definitely become one of my top favorite meals to make! It’s a unique way to get my Mexican street corn fix when the craving hits. It’s also a bonus that the ingredients are pretty basic so I usually always have them on hand. And not to mention the recipe can be easily customized. I hope you guys enjoy this dish as much as I did! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. :)
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My name is Renee McGinley and I'm a self-taught cook, constantly learning as I go. Please check out my About Me page for more on my recipe motto and cooking style.