Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad ~ Easy and Delicious
This is an entirely new recipe that I prepared for Cinco de Mayo. It’s my idea of combining Italian pasta with traditional Mexican/Southwestern ingredients and spices. It does sound strange though, in my humble opinion. I mean pasta and Mexican? No matter how odd the name is, I absolutely LOVE this Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad.
Most Italians don’t eat pasta salads nor do they serve pasta salads. You’ll never find them served in Italy. Nor will you ever see this dish in Mexico. Pasta salad is unapologetically American in origin.
Beginning with macaroni and cheese or macaroni salad, pasta salads are said to appear in the early 1900’s when German immigrants introduced mayonnaise-based potato salad and then thought to add it to Italian pasta. The combination took off and American newspapers and cookbooks began printing recipes in 1914. And by the 1960s, pasta salad was a perfect example of American food.
This salad can be served with or without the mayonnaise-based dressing that I created or on it’s own.
This Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad is simply DELICIOUS! I ended up eating it straight out of the serving bowl!
So let’s get to the kitchen and have some fun cooking!
Ingredients that you’ll need:
- Pasta– You can use any “bite-size” shape that you like, such as rotini or fusilli (corkscrew shape), farfalle (bowtie shape), or macaroni (elbow-shaped). Don’t use long pasta shapes such as spaghetti, linguini, fettucini, bucatini, etc.
- Both Mayonnaise and Sour Cream – You’ll need both for the dressing. Don’t use Miracle Whip (even though we love the stuff), you want the plain base of mayonnaise only to allow the herbs and spices’ flavor to be strong.
- Fresh Vegetables – Corn (canned or freshly cooked/grilled/roasted), bell peppers, red onions, cherry tomatoes, bell pepper, cilantro, onion, avocado, fresh green chili, etc. The fresher the better as well as the more vivid in color the better!
- Cheese – COTIJA Mexican Cheese! This is a MUST for both the dressing and the salad!
- LIMES! — Limes add so much to recipes and it’s perfect in this dressing.
- Garlic — After all this is a quasi Italian-Mexican recipe. And garlic always improves savory recipes.
- Herbs and Spices: CILANTRO! Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix, Cumin, Chipotle Pepper, Cayenne, Chili Pepper
Choosing the PASTA: It’s best to select a pasta shape that is ‘bite-size’ or that can be pierced with a fork when digging in! The creamy sauce clings to the curves of fusilli (corkscrew) very nicely. Other shapes that pasta salads work beautifully with are farfalle (bowtie), macaroni (elbow shape), or cavatappi (another corkscrew shape). All of these are easy to fork into.
Cooking the PASTA: Always cook your pasta until al dente only, which in Italian means ‘to the tooth’. This means that the pasta should not be soft or mushy, but cooked until there is a sturdy resistance to biting in. It is not done enough if you can feel the hard uncooked texture. This is something that you get better at with practice.
It’s so-o-o easy!
- Simply cook the pasta and grill or roast the corn
- Cut up all of the veggies.
- Toss all of the salad ingredients together in one very big serving bowl (don’t forget the herbs and spices).
- Prepare the dressing.
- Whisk all of the ingredients with the cheesy creamy dressing.
- Add the avocado chunks on top.
- Garnish with extra Cotija cheese crumbles.
More Salads that I Think You’ll Enjoy:
Grill-Roasted Corn, Black Bean And Avocado Salad With Cilantro Viniagrette
Loaded Cowboy Caviar Salsa Recipe
Classic, Creamy, Loaded Broccoli Salad
PIN IT For Later!
Oh, just a second, please!
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This colourful and flavourful salad screams for SUMMER! A perfect one for garden parties.
Yes, this would be great for a summer al fresco dish to enjoy!
! Can’t wait until the farmers market tomatoes and corn are ready, I’m definitely going to make this! You packed a lot of flavor and color into this salad, it looks so appetizing!
I need to get to our local farmer’s market too, Jan. It’s fun to find fresh ingredients in an open air market. Hope you’re doing well!
With all the color in this salad you sure know that you’re getting lots and lots of minerals and vitamins. Plus the combination of ingredients provide lots of great textures and flavors. Just perfect for A Cinco de Mayo spread or any table any time. Feliz Cinco de Mayo ear Roz!
MJ, you got that right! Lots of color = lots of healthy goodness. I thought of you when I made this and wondered what your thoughts would be. You’re my ‘go-to’ person for SW recipes!
Feliz Cinco de Mayo too!
Growing up my mom made a pasta really similar to this one! This recipe has some extra ingredients, that I am sure will make it taste just as good! I can’t wait to show my mom and make it with her.
Wow, Ana! I’d love to know what both of you think! If you can, shoot me a photo too and I’ll share it here!
What a pretty dish! Love Mexican flavors. And pasta. So I’m loving this fun combo. Thanks!
You’re right John, this is a fun dish. I was surprised at how yummy it is. Experimenting is not always so delicious.
I love Mexican street corn and by adding pasta you’ve made it into a delicious meal!!! I’d be eating it right out of the serving bowl, too! Happy, happy Mother’s Day, Roz!! xoxo
P.S. I may be up too early, but I don’t see the recipe!
Thanks Liz! I don’t know why I had so much of a problem with the recipe card showing up. So I just played with it a bit, and the recipe is now up and running. Thank you for letting me know!!!
How could tasty and tasty be wrong ? This is delicious salad bursting with southern vibes ! 🙂
I love your term “Bursting with vibes” Davorka!
I wanted something different for a graduation party and this fit the bill. We thought we made way to much….was I wrong. The first bowlful was gone the first time the crowd went through. So happy there was more to set out. A great recipe.
That’s fantastic! Thank you for letting me and this community of readers know!
Next time, if you snap a photo, I’ll share it here for everyone!