This Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad combines pasta with grilled corn, cotija cheese, and roasted poblano peppers, creating a fiesta in every bite with a delicious fusion of flavors and textures.
- ❤️ Why You'll Love This Street Corn Pasta Salad
- 🛒 Ingredients for Elote Pasta Salad
- 🔪 How to Make Easy Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
- 💡 Tips for Buying Fresh Corn
- ☑️ Storage Instructions
- 🍴 What to Serve with Mexican Street Corn Pasta
- 🔄 Substitutions and Additions
- Can I Use Frozen Corn?
- What if I Don't Have a Grill?
- Does Mexican Corn Pasta Salad Freeze Well?
- Can I Make this Mexican Corn Pasta Salad In Advance?
- 🍽️ More Delicious Salad Recipes
❤️ Why You'll Love This Street Corn Pasta Salad
- Grilled corn and crumbled cotija cheese
- Pasta, black beans and roasted poblano peppers
- Tossed in a creamy, flavorful dressing
- Great contrast of textures
- Perfect side dish for a BBQ or potluck
This incredible salad recipe combines the classic flavors of Mexican street corn with pasta, black beans, and roasted poblano peppers. Tossed in a creamy, homemade, zesty dressing, you'll love the delightful blend of sweet and smoky flavors you get with every bite.
The slightly charred flavor of the grilled corn, mild heat from poblano peppers, and comforting textures of tender pasta and creamy cotija cheese makes this elote salad a flavor-packed dish that will be a hit at any gathering.
If you love the sweet flavors that fresh corn gives this pasta salad, you'll also want to check out this amazing fresh Creamed Corn recipe.
🛒 Ingredients for Elote Pasta Salad
- Cavatappi pasta
- Corn on the cob
- Black beans
- Poblano peppers
- Cotija cheese
- Red onion
- Fresh cilantro
- Mexican crema
- Smoked paprika
- Ground black pepper
*Exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below.
🥣 Recommended Tools
🔪 How to Make Easy Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
To Make the Dressing
Add all the dressing ingredients to a small mixing bowl.
Whisk until well combined, then set aside and allow the flavors to meld.
To Make the Salad
Preheat your outdoor grill or stovetop grill pan.
Heat a large pot of water, then, once boiling, add in a healthy bit of salt and the pasta. Cook the pasta, stirring occasionally, until it’s al dente. Rinse (yes, this is the rare occasion where it’s ok to rinse pasta) and drain the pasta, then add it to a large bowl.
Brush all sides of the corn and poblano peppers with a light coating of olive oil and grill until slightly charred.
Immediately add the poblano peppers to a bowl and cover them with plastic wrap. Allow it to steam in the bowl for a few minutes while you prepare the corn.
This is to help remove the outer skin, making it easier to peel off. Peel the poblano peppers, remove the seeds and membrane, and then dice into small pieces.
Place a small bowl inside a large mixing bowl. Set the ear of corn on top of the smaller bowl, and using a sharp knife, slice down the rows, cutting off the kernels.
Once all the corn has been cut off the cobs, add it to the bowl with the cooked pasta. Add in drained and rinsed black beans, peppers, red onion, cotija cheese, and fresh chopped cilantro.
Pour the dressing over the top. Toss everything together, making sure the dressing is well distributed throughout.
Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving.
💡 Tips for Buying Fresh Corn
The best Mexican street corn salad recipe starts with fresh corn. Here are some great tips for making sure you get fresh corn every time:
- Look for a bright green husk that covers the ears of corn snugly. Yellowing or browning husks that feels dry usually mean that the corn is not as fresh, and you should probably skip that ear.
- If buying it husks, fresh corn will have a silky tangle. Look close to the bottom of the husk closest to the ear. The top of the silk bundle might be brown and dry, but the bottom should be moist and pale green.
- Corn on the cobb should feel firm and full. If there are soft spots, the corn was probably mishandled, and though it may be fresh it is most likely is damaged.
- The stem end is where the ear of corn joined the stalk. It should look moist and fresh, and you could possibly even see that it has a little corn sap droplet on the end of the stem. Avoid a dry, browning stem because this indicates the corn was harvested days ago.
- If you’re not using the corn the same day you bought it, store it in the husk wrapped in brown paper bags or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and place in it the fridge.
☑️ Storage Instructions
Transfer leftovers to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. Right before serving, you'll want to give the salad a good stir to redistribute the dressing.
🍴 What to Serve with Mexican Street Corn Pasta
You can serve this salad as a main course by adding grilled shrimp or steak or shredded chicken. As a side dish, try it with one of these popular Mexican entrees:
🔄 Substitutions and Additions
- Avocado: For extra creaminess, add chunks of fresh avocado.
- Tomatoes: You can add cherry or grape tomatoes for a burst of freshness and sweetness.
- Red bell pepper: If you want to use a milder pepper, you can char bell peppers the same way you do poblanos. You can also use roasted red peppers in the jar.
- Roasted garlic: For added flavor, you can add a few cloves of this Air Fryer Roasted Garlic.
- Onions: Instead of chopped onions, you can add sautéed onions or some of these Pickled Onions.
- Spinach: Add an extra dose of nutrients with a handful of baby spinach.
- Heat: Give this pasta salad a kick of heat with chopped jalapeños or red pepper flakes.
- Dressing: Feel free to swap out the dressing with any of your favorite dressing recipes. This Chipotle Ranch Dressing works really well with the flavors in this recipe.
- Cheese: You can swap the cotija cheese for pepper jack, mozzarella or you can omit it.
- Pasta: Use your favorite pasta. Rotini, penne, or bowtie pasta are popular choices.
Can I Use Frozen Corn?
While fresh corn is preferred for its texture and flavor, you can use frozen corn on the cob if that's what's in season. Thaw and throw it on the grill just like you would fresh.
You can also use frozen kernels. Just thaw them and grill them in a grill pan so they get a nice char.
What if I Don't Have a Grill?
Does Mexican Corn Pasta Salad Freeze Well?
Freezing this elote pasta salad isn't recommended, because of the mayonnaise in the dressing. Freezing can alter the texture and quality of the cheese and veggies as well.
Can I Make this Mexican Corn Pasta Salad In Advance?
Yes, you can prepare this salad in advance. It's actually recommended to allow it to chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving to enhance the flavors. You can even make it the night before.
🍽️ More Delicious Salad Recipes
Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
For the Salad
- 12 ounces Cavatappi pasta
- 6 ears corn, husks removed (about 4 cups)
- 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 poblano peppers
- ⅔ cup cojita cheese
- ½ cup red onion, diced
- ⅓ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
To Make the Dressing
To Make the Salad
- Preheat your outdoor grill or stovetop grill pan.
- Heat a large pot of water, then once boiling, add in a healthy bit of salt and the pasta.
- Cook the pasta, stirring occasionally, until it’s al dente. Rinse (yes, this is the rare occasion where it’s ok to rinse pasta) and drain the pasta, then add it to a large bowl.
- Brush all sides of the corn and poblano peppers with a light coating of olive oil and grill until slightly charred.
- Immediately add the poblano peppers to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to steam in the bowl for a few minutes, while you prepare the corn. This is to help remove the outer skin, making it easier to peel off.
- Place a small bowl inside a large mixing bowl. Set the ear of corn one top of the smaller bowl and using a sharp knife, slice down the rows, cutting off the kernels. Once all the corn has all been cut off the cobs, add it to the bowl with the cooked pasta.
- Peel the poblano peppers, remove the seeds and membrane, then dice into small pieces. Add the peppers to the bowl with the pasta and corn.
- Add in drained and rinsed black beans, red onion, cojita cheese and fresh chopped cilantro.
- Pour the dressing over the top. Toss everything together, making sure the dressing is well distributed throughout. Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving.
*Make sure to scroll up and read the post for substitutions, additions and helpful tips for making this recipe.
*Nutritional data is provided as a courtesy and is accurate to the best of my knowledge. You can verify it using the nutrition calculator of your choice. All data is based on net carbs, without sugar alcohol: Swerve, Erythritol, Monk Fruit or Allulose.
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