A street corn kale salad is light, refreshing and totally delicious. Inspired by Mexican elote, this recipe boasts a rich variety of colours and textures in every mouthful. Mix it all together, and you have a fiesta of flavours in your mouth! You will LOVE this Mexican elote street corn kale salad with spicy yogurt lime dressing. It is a great Mexican inspired salad and one to test out of you are looking for a new kale salad recipe. Who else is already craving this!?!
Mexican street corn with ingredients like cotija cheese, chili powder and kale makes a hearty dish which boasts nutrients and oh so much south of the border flavor in every delicious mouthful.
Why You’ll Love Kale and Mexican Street Corn Salad
- Unusual: You might have tried elote or Mexican street corn before, and you’ve definitely had kale. But you must try this flavor-packed hybrid of both. It’s different and unusual.
- Easy: Who wants to spend all day making a salad? This one is simple and straightforward to prepare.
- Healthy: Everything from the kale to the corn, cheese, lime juice, and Greek yogurt in the elote dressing offers nutrients.
Mexican Street Corn Kale Salad Ingredients
The ingredients in this Mexican inspired salad include fresh corn, kale, queso fresco or cotija cheese, lime juice, and cilantro. In addition, there is a spicy yogurt lime dressing to bind all the flavours together beautifully.
The dressing combines Greek yogurt with garlic, chili powder and lime. It goes so well with this street corn kale salad, complementing it perfectly.
You can use your choice of curly kale or another variety you prefer. It’s possible to make it heartier with the addition of spiced grilled chicken or another protein. Alternatively this Mexican kale salad recipe is great just as it is.
Whether you’ve made a recipe with cotija cheese before or not, you will love this one. If you really can’t find Mexican cheese where you are, the closest substitute would probably be feta. The mouth-watering Mexican flavours are apparent in every bite, and you’ll want to make this more than once for sure.
What is Mexican Elote?
Mexican elote is another way of saying Mexican street corn, and it’s a key part of this south of the border kale salad recipe. Elote (pronounced eh-LOH-tay) is Mexican for ear of corn, but there’s more to it than that. Steamed or boiled corn would work at a pinch, but grilled corn is the best for this recipe with cotija cheese.
Once the corn is done, you can slather it with mayonnaise, lime, and chilli. The next step in making elote is to coat it in Mexican cheese. In this recipe for street corn kale salad however, the flavours of the corn are instead used to make the dressing. You will get all the same flavours in this Mexican inspired salad.
Elote is often sold as a street snack in Mexico, just like Montreal style hot dogs or poutine are here. It’s incredibly popular there. Corn has a naturally sweet flavour, which everyone seems to love. It goes so well with the Mexican yogurt and lime dressing too.
How to Make a Kale and Street Corn Salad
For more detailed instructions with weights and measurements, jump to the printable recipe card.
- Cook the corn: Grill it for about half an hour or until done, then cool and cut off the kernels.
- Make the dressing: Combine the yogurt, garlic, chili powder, lime zest, and some of the lime juice, then add water until the consistency is good.
- Prepare the kale: Mix the kale with the rest of the lime juice and some salt.
- Assemble the salad: Toss the kale with the corn, dressing, queso fresco, and cilantro.
- Serve: Add the avocado and pickled red onion and serve right away.
How to Serve this Kale Salad Recipe
There are different ways you can serve this street corn kale salad. Enjoy it as a side dish with grilled or fried chicken or steak. A Mexican chicken salad sandwich would be delicious with the elote salad. The spicy yogurt lime dressing will also complement the meat. You can enjoy this Mexican inspired salad by itself. In fact, it makes a wonderful meal for vegetarians.
How to Store Elote Salad
- Store: This is best served as soon as you’ve made it but if you have leftovers, refrigerate them and use as soon as you can. Leftover sliced avocado can be tossed in lime juice to slow down its browning.
- Freeze: The best thing about elote salad is the fresh flavours, so it’s not really a freezer-friendly recipe.
Mexican Street Corn Kale Salad FAQs
One very important thing is to use fresh ears of corn, since that’s the main ingredient in the salad. It’s well worth the effort to make. You need to grill the corn until it’s a little charred, for maximum flavour.
When the corn is cut, cut off the kernels you will need to make this kale salad recipe using a sharp knife.
Once you’re ready to serve the salad, assemble it – corn kernels, dressing and kale are combined with the cheese and cilantro. Add some avocado for a creamy texture plus the contrasting taste of pickled red onion. One bite of this recipe with cotija cheese will transport your spirit to a vibrant Mexican beach!
You can use either cotija cheese or queso fresco to make street corn kale salad. You can usually use queso fresco in a recipe with cotija cheese, although there are differences. Cotija is a cow’s milk cheese which is white, crumbly and firm.
It is aged for a salty flavour, so most recipes won’t need much cotija in there. It’s more of a garnish since the taste is pretty bold.
Queso fresco, on the other hand, has a softer taste. It’s made from either cow’s milk or goat’s milk and is only aged for a few days. If you’re using this, you can use a little more than if you are using cotija.
You will see that the Mexican elote salad instructions call for massaging the kale. Why is this? The purpose is actually twofold. First, massaging the kale helps break down some of the tough fibres in it. This makes it tenderer and easier to chew.
The second reason is to infuse it with the flavour of the lime juice. If you’re using baby kale, it’s already tender but massage it anyway, to infuse it with lime flavour.
Mexican Corn and Kale Salad Recipe
Mexican Elote Street Corn Kale Salad with Spicy Yogurt Lime Dressing
- 4 Ears corn shucked
- 1/2 Cup Greek yogurt
- 1 Clove garlic minced
- 1 Tsp. chilli powder
- 1 fresh lime zest and juice to be used separately
- 1 Tbsp. water or more as needed
- 6 Cups baby kale
- 1 Tsp. salt
- 1/3 Cup queso fresco crumbled
- 1/2 Cup cilantro leaves
- 1 avocado thinly sliced
- 1/2 red onion pickled
- Preheat grill to medium high heat. Wrap each ear of corn in foil and place directly on the grill grates.
- Grill, rotating every 8 to10 minutes, until corn begins to char (about 30 minutes). When corn is cool enough to handle, carefully cut the kernels from the cobs.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together Greek yogurt, garlic, chili powder, lime zest and ½ of the lime juice. Add water, a tablespoon at a time, until the consistency is right.
- In a large bowl combine kale, salt and remaining lime juice. Gently massage the kale for 15 seconds to soften.
- To assemble the salad, toss together massaged kale, corn, dressing, queso fresco, and cilantro.
- Serve immediately with sliced avocado and pickled red onion.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
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Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella is a storyteller, food lover, dog mom and adventure seeker living on the Pacific coast. She shares her passion for recipes, dogs, sustainability, adventures, travel and philanthropy, in hopes of encouraging followers to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places and stand for a cause. Bella lives with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease.
Bella Bucchiotti is a freelance food, travel, and lifestyle writer for MSN and the Associated Press Wire.