Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad

Inspired by the flavors of Mexican street corn, this pasta salad is perfect for summer. It is salty, tangy, and the corn is pan fried to make it a bit crispy and sweet. This pasta salad can be enjoyed warm and freshly made or after being refrigerated.

One of my favorite things is grilled corn. It is so delicious and sweet. In my opinion it really does not get much better than it. Mexican street corn is a popular street food that involves corn, cotija cheese, chili powder, lime juice, Mexican crema and mayo. There are two versions you can get, elotes and esquites. Elotes are the whole corn that is grilled and then you slather it in the creamy and mayo, top it with the cheese, lime juice, and chili powder. Esquites are the corn kernels that are then topped with the ingredients and eaten out of a cup. Either way it is incredibly delicious and you can find it all over Mexico. Every place will do it a bit differently and may have their own touch.

I used to love Mexican street corn so much; however, since going vegan I haven’t really been able to enjoy it, until now. I decided to turn it into a pasta salad because I have been seeing it online everywhere and it just looks so delicious. I also just love pasta so it is a fun fusion of all carby goodness! Pasta salad is such a summer staple and combined with all the flavors and elements of Mexican street corn this is a winning dish.

Feel free to play around with the flavors in this dish. If you prefer things spicer add more chili powder, you can even add a dash of cayenne. If you like things saltier add more salt. If you prefer things tangier add even more lime juice. If you like very creamy pasta salad dressing, you can double the dressing to make everything heavily coated. Either way just have fun with this yummy dish.

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Tofu “Cotija”
5 ounces (140g) firm tofu
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

Tangy Dressing
3 tablespoons veganaise
1/4 cup (60g) vegan sour cream
1 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Crack of black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons water

6 ounces (112g) pasta, of choice
10 ounces frozen corn
1/2 tablespoon vegan butter
1/2 lime, sliced, for garnish
3 to 4 leaves fresh parsley
Chili powder, for garnish


  1. Prepare the tofu “cotija”: in a medium bowl crumble the tofu into very small pieces, resembling cotija cheese. Drizzle the oil, nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, and salt over the tofu. Mix together and place in the refrigerator until ready to use. Can be made ahead of time or overnight.
  2. Prepare the dressing: add all the ingredients into a medium bowl and whisk together until well combined and smooth. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use. Can be made ahead of time or overnight. Save the limes for squeezing over the pasta salad for later.
  3. Boil the pasta until completely cooked in salted water.
  4. Meanwhile, in a fry pan melt the vegan butter over medium heat. Pour the corn in and cook for 5 to 7 minutes stirring occasionally. The corn will start to golden and then brown, which is exactly what you want.
  5. Once the pasta is done drain and then rinse with cold water. This just helps to cool the pasta down quicker and better for when mixing the ingredients together.
  6. In a large bowl combine the cooked corn, pasta, 2/3 of the dressing, 2/3 of the tofu “cotija” cheese, a sprinkle of chili powder, a pinch of salt and squeeze the limes over to get out any remaining juice. Toss to mix together.
  7. You can eat immediately or refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.
  8. When ready to eat garnish with lime slices, fresh parsley, chili powder, the remaining tofu “cotija” cheese and dressing.

Makes 4 to 6 servings


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