Street Corn Salad is the perfect side dish that turns the classic Mexican Street Food into a delicious and easy to make colorful salad. Vegan Cojita “cheese” adds a dairy-free authentic taste.
If you’ve ever had Mexican Street Corn, then you’ll know how just how delicious and addictive it can be….and it’s EASY to make at home.
This healthy recipe is a dairy-free dream come true….it’s smoky, tangy, spicy and super tasty too. Vegan cojita cheese crumbled onto charred corn gives this an authentic elote flavor.
If you love Mexican Corn on the Cob, then you’ll love this version of Street Corn Salad.
This is also the PERFECT addition to a Cinco de Mayo Menu.
Fresh or Frozen Corn?
Good question! Depends on what month it is. If you can find fresh ears of corn that are ripe (depending on where you live, this could be anytime between May-October), then definitely, buy some and cut it off the cob. Otherwise, buy frozen corn that has been picked at peak ripeness and then flash frozen.
This recipe calls for charring the corn in a super hot skillet so you’ll get that authentic street corn taste whether you cut the corn off the cob or use frozen.
Fresh Corn Tips
The husk of fresh corn should be bright green, tightly wrapped against the corn and slightly damp. If it’s yellow, dry, has small brown holes, black spots, or smells bad, avoid it.
Store fresh corn loose in the fridge, still in the husks. Use as soon as possible after it’s been picked.
This recipe calls for 4 cups of corn. Large cobs will yield approximately ¾ cup kernels, so you’ll need about 5 big ears. If they’re smaller, grab 6-7. It’s OK if you have extra corn. If you’re using frozen corn, 2 10-oz packages will give you 4 cups.
Honestly, I make this with frozen corn all winter long when I want to create a summer vibe. The only thing missing is that popping that occurs when you put the fresh corn into the hot skillet….but it’s truly delish either way.
What makes this recipe for Mexican Street Corn so special?
A few things make this recipe a winner: charring the corn in a hot skillet, a delicious blend of spices, extra lime juice for tang, cilantro and jalapneos for super taste. However what makes it stand out as truly special is the Vegan Cojita Cheese. Really, where has it been all my diary-free life?
Vegan Cojita Cheese
I make this weekly as part of my healthy meal prep, it’s that easy. White beans, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt and white pepper are easily transformed into a paste and then dried out in the oven for crumbly, tasty perfection. Extra Vegan Cojita will stay good in the fridge for a week.
It will take less than 5 minutes to get this vegan cheese into the oven and while it bakes you can pull together the rest of this easy recipe.
How to make Street Corn Salad
- Get the Vegan Cojita Cheese in the oven. OR, make it in advance. It will stay good in the fridge for a week.
- Cut the kernels off your fresh corn cobs or defrost 2 bags of frozen corn.
- Heat a heavy skillet. Classic Mexican Street Corn has that charred flavor so be sure to use a hot pot to get that necessary flavor.
- Let the corn start to char before stirring and incorporating the spices.
- Add salad ingredients: red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice…and then crumble on the dairy-free cheese.
- THAT’S IT…..now relax and enjoy.
Although it’s super fun to get Mexican Street Corn at a fair or from a food truck, it’s also super messy! Street food is grab and go…which is why you see it still on the cob. Something sturdy to hang onto while eating. Like I said, FUN. I think this version, off the cob, that you eat with a fork is still fun. It’s colorful, tasty and is perfect for a BBQ, pot-luck or just an average Taco Tuesday.
You really can’t go wrong with this tasty side dish. It’s easy to make, awesome for meal prep or easy entertaining (hello Cinco de Mayo celebration) and everyone loves it. I think it’s the perfect blend of authentic street corn and modern functionality…and I love the all year round accessibility using frozen corn.
What to serve with this Vegan Street Corn Recipe?
- Veggie Burgers
- Cole Slaw
- Vegan Enchiladas
- Mexican Cauli-rice
- Pinto Beans
- Peanut Butter Cookies
- Brownies because they go with everything!
Mexican Street Corn Salad
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 4 cups corn*
- 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 1 small red onion diced (approx ⅓ cup)
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped
- 2 jalapenos small dice
- 1 lime juiced (2 Tablespoons)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
Vegan Cojita Cheese
- 1 ½ cups cannellini beans rinsed and drained
- 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
DIRECTIONS FOR VEGAN CHEESE:
- Preheat oven to 350. Line small rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
- Place beans, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, pepper and salt into food processor and pulse to grind into a rough paste. Scrape down sides multiple times to make sure everything is incorporated evenly.
- Spread on prepared baking sheet with spatula, in a very thin layer.
- Bake for 30 minutes, until dried out. If you spread thicker than ¼", iIt may take a bit longer for the thicker parts to dry out….you want it to have a crumbly cheese type consistency, rather than a bean puree.
- Let cool on baking tray and then crumble into prepared salad.
- Store remaining cheese in the fridge. I will stay good for a week.
DIRECTIONS FOR CORN SALAD:
- If using fresh corn, pull off the husks and remove the silks. Use a sharp knife to cut the kernels off the cob. If using frozen corn, let it thaw in a colander, and gently dry with dish cloth.
- Heat large heavy pan (I like to use a cast iron skillet) over medium heat. Swirl in 1 Tablespoon olive oil and then stir in corn. Allow corn to sit in hot pan for about 3 minutes before stirring. Give it a good stir to redistribute and then allow to sit again. The goal is to achieve a charred flavor and color. Continue until most of the corn is charred. About 8 minutes.
- Turn off heat. Stir in spices until well incorporated. Let sit to marinate while you prepare salad ingredients.
MAKE THE SALAD:
- Trim jalapenos: cut off tops, slice open and remove the seeds and membranes, cut into small dice. Cut red onion into small dice, roughly chop cilantro.
- Add prepped veggies to corn in the pan. Drizzle on lime juice and olive oil and mix well. When cheese is cool enough to handle, gently crumble half over the salad and mix well. Crumble remaining "cheese" into a bowl to serve on the side.