Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad – Life Above the Cafe

Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad

Street food meets suburbia!
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Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad

Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
Jan 30, 2021




10 mins.

7 mins.

6 plus

One of my favorite types of food is Mexican food. Many of my recipes were inspired by the dishes that I’ve experienced during my travels and in restaurants.

This Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad is a mixture of Elote and my Macaroni Salad recipe. Elote is a street food that’s popular in Mexico. It’s hand held grilled corn on the cob that’s topped with mayonnaise, lime juice and chili powder or Tajin seasoning.

By mixing the flavors of Elote with my Macaroni Salad, I had a delicious side dish that was perfect alongside my Shredded BBQ Chicken Sandwiches.

If you’re a fan of spice, add more jalapenos to your dish or leave the seeds and veins in as you chop your jalapeno. Likewise, if you don’t enjoy raw onion flavors then saute the onion or use dehydrated minced onions.

Leave the macaroni tender, but a little under cooked since pasta absorbs liquid. As the Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad hangs out in the refrigerator, it will absorb the sauce and won’t be as creamy on day 2. Either keep a couple of tablespoons of the dressing to stir into the refrigerated pasta or stir in a splash of vinegar, mayonnaise, and sour cream to return the leftovers to day 1 status.

I don’t measure my spices out because I sprinkle them across the top, mix the pasta and then add more seasoning to the top layer again. For that reason, I added a range of spice measurements below. I suggest adding half of the amount for each of the spices listed, mixing the pasta, and then tasting it before adjusting the seasonings.

I hope that you’ll try this recipe today and leave a comment below. Also, for daily updates follow @lifeabovethecafe on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.


  • 2 cups of dry elbow noodles
  • Salted water for boiling the pasta
  • 1/4 cup white onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 of a red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 large jalapeno, finely diced (remove seeds and veins)
  • 1 can of yellow corn drained
  • 1/4 cup of diced cilantro
  • 1/4 cup of Cotija Cheese or Feta Cheese

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp. of white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. of lime juice
  • 1 – 2 tsp. of sugar
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. of salt (plus more for pasta water)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. of cumin
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. of garlic powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. of paprika
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. of chili powder
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp. of Tajin seasoning (optional)


Boil the pasta in salted water until tender, using the manufacturer’s instructions.  When cooked drain but don’t rinse the pasta.

Make the dressing while the pasta cooks.  You can include the seasonings in the dressing or sprinkle them across the surface of the pasta separately and then stir them in.  Note – the pasta will absorb the dressing as it sits in the refrigerator.  I reserve about 2 tablespoons of the dressing to mix into it the following day.

Chop all of the vegetables into small pieces.  If preferred, saute the onions and peppers in 1/2 Tbsp. of oil or butter if you don’t enjoy their flavors raw.  I don’t saute them since I prefer the raw taste.  Drain the corn.  When the pasta is finished cooking and drained, add it to a bowl and immediately cover it with the dressing so that it has a chance to absorb the flavor.

Mix in the onions, bell pepper, jalapenos, and almost all of the cilantro and Cotija Cheese (some will be used for a garnish).  Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired.

I sprinkle a little of the paprika, cilantro, and cheese on top for presentation.

Serve immediately or chill before serving.  The dressing will dry up since the pasta absorbs it as it sits, but just stir in a splash of vinegar, mayo and sour cream to the leftovers.

Ideas for revisions – Diced Pepper Jack Cheese or Feta Cheese in place of Cotija Cheese.  Char the corn in a skillet if desired before adding to the pasta mixture.  Also, if you’re not a fan of fresh cilantro reduce the amount, use 1 Tbsp. of dried, or leave it out.

Additional Photos:

Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad

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