Mexican Street Corn Kale Salad

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Mexican Street Corn Kale Salad combines buttery street corn with fresh kale, crunchy veggies, salty cotija cheese, and creamy cilantro lime dressing. This satisfying and delicious dish can be enjoyed on its own or as a side to complement a main course.

Try our Easy Pico de Gallo Recipe or Grilled Salsa next!

A serving of grilled chicken and some street corn salad with avocado.

Street Corn Salad

Our family is seriously obsessed with everything Tex-Mex and enjoy adding Mexican Street Corn to many dishes. It’s the perfect side to add to bowls, as seen in our Carne Asada Burrito Bowls and Chipotle Chicken Fajita Bowls.

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Why This Recipe Works:

  • BOLD FLAVOR – This salad has bold flavors including grilled sweet corn, spicy jalapenos, salty cotija, and a tangy dressing.
  • NUTRITIOUS BASE – The addition of kale provides a nutritious foundation as it is packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  • COLORFUL – We love the colorful presentation of this Mexican corn salad. It’s an eye-catching combination of flavors and textures and goes great at summer barbecues.
  • CUSTOMIZABLE – Feel free to personalize this salad with additional ingredients such as diced tomatoes, black beans, green onion, etc.
Overhead view of a serving bowl of kale salad topped with Mexican street corn and avocado slices.

Ingredients Needed:

For the salad:

  • Kale – We used curly kale but Tuscan kale is great in the salad too and is a bit milder in flavor.
  • Fresh Corn – Fire up that grill and use fresh ears of corn. You can also cook the corn in a cast iron skillet on your stovetop if that is a better option for you.
  • Veggies – A combo of diced red bell peppers, jalapenos, and red onion. Avocado slices get added on top of the salad to finish.
  • Cotija Cheese – A crumbly cheese that I keep stocked in our kitchen. In a pinch, you can use feta cheese in its place.

For the dressing:

  • Greek Yogurt – We keep plain Greek yogurt stocked at all times as I use it in many dressings. Use 2% or full-fat.
  • Light Mayo – We like the Kraft mayo with olive oil added. It’s a little bit lighter and still so tasty.
  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • Cilantro – You either love it or hate it and we happen to LOVE IT!
  • Seasonings – A combo of onion powder, garlic powder, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Lime – Another ingredient that is key to everything Tex-Mex.

How to make Mexican Street Corn Kale Salad:

Step 1
Make the dressing. Combine the cilantro lime dressing ingredients in a small food processor – Greek yogurt, mayo, olive oil, cilantro, seasonings, and fresh lime juice. Blend until creamy. Pour into a small bowl or mason jar and chill until ready to serve.

NOTE: Add more lime juice or cold water for a thinner dressing.

Step 2
Grill the corn. Light an outdoor grill to medium heat. Add the corn and grill until slightly softened with some grill marks. Be careful to avoid overcooking.

Remove the corn to cool slightly. Then use a cutting board and sharp knife and to slice off the kernels.

Step 3
Prep the kale. Remove the outer leaves of the kale while discarding the tough stems. Rinse under cold water and use a salad spinner to dry. (Likewise, you could buy bagged kale.)

Step 4
Massage kale. Tear the kale into small bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl. Add a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of kosher salt. Use your hands to massage the kale until softened and bright green. The kale will shrink down as you massage it so make sure you buy plenty.

Step 5
Mix salad ingredients. Add the grilled corn kernels, diced veggies (bell pepper, jalapeno, red onion), and cotija cheese to a large bowl. Add half the dressing and toss to combine.

NOTE REGARDING KALE: You’ll need to buy more kale than you think you need because you’ll remove the stems and then massage it. After massaging the kale, it will become soft and will pack down. I used about 8 cups of massaged kale.

Step 6
Assemble the salad. Add the kale to a large serving bowl. Then top the kale with the corn mixture. Add slices of avocado, extra cotija cheese, and a sprinkle of smoked paprika to the top of the salad.

Step 7
Serve. Serve the Mexican street corn salad with extra dressing and a protein of your choice.

What to serve with Mexican Street Corn Kale Salad:

The following main dish recipes will pair nicely with this kale salad recipe.

A white plate with Mexican street corn kale salad and a piece of grilled chicken.

Recipe FAQs:

What is the difference between Mexican Street Corn Salad and Elote?

The main difference lies in the presentation and the overall concept. Elote is the classic grilled or roasted corn on the cob, while Mexican street corn salad takes those flavors and incorporates them into a salad.

What are the origins of Mexican Street Corn?

Mexican street corn showcases the rich culinary heritage of Mexico and continues to be a beloved street food, representing the vibrant and flavorful nature of Mexican cuisine.

What is a good substitute for cotija cheese?

A good substitute for cotija is feta cheese as both are salty and crumbly.

How do you make kale taste better?

To fully enjoy kale, it’s necessary to remove the stems and use your hands to massage the kale. As you work the kale, you’ll see it become tender and turn a bright green. The result is a more tender and less bitter kale.

Side view of a large bowl of Mexican street corn kale salad with avocado slices.

Kitchen Tools Used: (affiliate links)

xoxo ~Sue

A plate of kale salad with a piece of grilled chicken.

Mexican Street Corn Kale Salad

Mexican Street Corn Kale Salad combines buttery street corn with fresh kale, crunchy veggies, salty cotija cheese, and creamy cilantro lime dressing. This satisfying and delicious dish can be enjoyed on its own or as a side to complement a main course.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 323kcal
Author: Sue Ringsdorf

Ingredients

For the street corn salad:

  • 12-16 cups kale – torn and massaged (SEE NOTE)
  • 8 ears fresh corn – husked and cleaned
  • 1 medium bell pepper – sliced
  • 1-2 large jalapenos – diced (with or without seeds)
  • 1/3 cup red onion – minced
  • 1/3 cup cotija cheese – crumbled
  • 1 medium avocado – cubed

For the dressing:

  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt – I use 2% fat
  • 1/4 cup light mayo with olive oil – or any mayo
  • 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup cilantro – minced
  • 1 large lime – freshly squeezed plus the zest (zest is optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste
  • cold water to thin – if needed
  • top with smoked paprika

Instructions

  • Make the dressing. Combine the cilantro lime dressing ingredients in a small food processor – Greek yogurt, mayo, olive oil, cilantro, seasonings, and fresh lime juice. Blend until creamy. Pour into a small bowl or mason jar and chill until ready to serve.
    NOTE: Add more lime juice or cold water for a thinner dressing.
  • Grill the corn. Light an outdoor grill to medium heat. Add the corn and grill until slightly softened with some grill marks. Be careful to avoid overcooking.
  • Remove the corn to cool slightly. Then use a cutting board and sharp knife and to slice off the kernels.
  • Prep the kale. Remove the outer leaves of the kale while discarding the tough stems. Rinse under cold water and use a salad spinner to dry. (Likewise, you could buy bagged kale.)
  • Massage kale. Tear the kale into small bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl. Add a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of kosher salt. Use your hands to massage the kale until softened and bright green.
  • Mix salad ingredients. Add the grilled corn kernels, diced veggies (bell pepper, jalapeno, red onion), and cotija cheese to a large bowl. Add half the dressing and toss to combine.
  • Assemble the salad. Add the kale to a large serving bowl. Then top the kale with the corn mixture. Add slices of avocado, extra cotija cheese, and a sprinkle of smoked paprika to the top of the salad.
  • Serve. Serve the Mexican street corn salad with extra dressing and a protein of your choice.

Notes

**NOTE REGARDING KALE: You’ll need to buy more kale than you think you need because you’ll remove the stems and then massage it. After massaging the kale, it will become soft and will pack down. I used about 8 cups of massaged kale.
What to serve with Mexican Street Corn Kale Salad:

Nutrition

Calories: 323kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 251mg | Potassium: 921mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 9952IU | Vitamin C: 127mg | Calcium: 312mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @Suebeehomemaker or tag #suebeehomemaker!

6 Comments

  1. We are making this for the 2nd time tonight. It is a favorite for all 4 in my family. We do sub romaine for the kale because, well, does anyone really like kale?

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      We love kale! 🙂

  2. Schools out – lake house cooking season! Perfect choice for dinner tonight. Mike said it best – great combination of flavors!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Schools out for summer!! Thanks for your feedback!

  3. An awesome salad and I love this combination together!

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