Mexican Corn and Quinoa Salad


Total Time:

20 minutes



Let me preface this by saying when I made Mexican Corn and Quinoa Salad this past week, I had no intention of sharing it with anyone. It was one of those things I make and then hide in the back of my fridge and pretend it’s not there so no one else (aka my husband) will eat it.

No shame in my game – Mexican Corn and Quinoa Salad is so good you won’t want to share it with anyone!

Have you guys ever had that delicious Mexican style corn on the cob, known as Elote, that’s slathered in mayo, chile powder and lime juice? It’s basically the best thing in the world and I’m a BIG fan. The only thing that bothers me about that dish is there is no avocado anywhere to be found. Well, fear not my friends, PROBLEM SOLVED.

Mayo can be substituted for avocado in most any dish in my opinion, so obviously that’s what I did. I just took a perfectly ripe avocado and threw it into the blender with a hint of lime juice and a little water and blended it up until it was the same consistency as mayo. And then I went ahead and mixed it in with all my favorite things like quinoa, monetary jack cheese, corn straight off the cob, some cilantro and scallions and then topped it all off with a healthy shake of chile powder and salt and pepper.

Mexican Corn and Quinoa Salad from (@whatsgabycookin)

You could easily use some grilled corn too, but I’m really into raw corn as you can probably tell!

Much to my dismay, Thomas discovered it in the back of the fridge and I was forced to share. He did however declare it to be one of the best things I’ve ever made! #winning

Mexican Corn and Quinoa Salad (aka Esquites with Quinoa)

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Gaby Dalkin
Prep Time:
5 minutes
Cook Time:
15 minutes
Total Time:
20 minutes


  • 1 cup red or white quinoa
  • 3 cups corn about 4 ears, cut from the cob
  • 1/2 jalapeno seeded and finely diced
  • 2 green onions sliced
  • 1 handful cilantro chopped
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 2 tablespoons cotija or feta, crumbled
  • chili powder to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • 1 avocado
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Cook the quinoa according to the package directions.
  • Once cooked, add the quinoa and raw corn to a large mixing bowl with the chopped jalapeño green onions, cilantro, half of the lime juice, cotija cheese and a dash of chili powder. Toss to combine.
  • Remove the avocado from the skin and discard the seed. Place the flesh of the avocado in a blender or food processor with the remaining lime juice and blend until smooth. Add a few tablespoons of water as needed to make the mixture smooth, it should be a similar consistency to a mayonnaise.
  • Remove the avocado mixture from the blender, toss it with the corn and quinoa mixture and top with the shredded jack cheese. Season with salt and pepper as needed and serve.
Mexican Corn and Quinoa Salad (aka Esquites with Quinoa): Chef Vision

Photo by Matt Armendariz / Food Styling by Adam Pearson / Recipe from What’s Gaby Cooking

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  1. Meal Plan // Week 20 – What's Gaby Cooking

    […] Wednesday – Mexican Corn + Quinoa Salad  […]

  2. BrendaK

    This was delicious! The only change I made was to use frozen corn kernals in place of fresh. Another keeper!

  3. Emily

    Wow, Gaby, just WOW. I was deeply sceptical about this recipe. And admit I didn’t have cotija cheese or quinoa to hand. I subbed couscous and feta cheese. It was so delicious and infinitely more than the some of it’s parts. And raw corn…what a revelation! Thanks, and I never should of doubted you!!!

  4. Meal Plan // Week 28 – What's Gaby Cooking

    […] – Meatless Monday is all about this corn and quinoa elote situation! Except I’m not using mayo and adding avocado […]

  5. Leah

    Made this tonight as a side dish for salmon and wow, so good! I used canned corn since that’s what I had and it was a huge hit.

  6. Alia

    I was pretty skeptical about raw corn but omg it’s amazing! I’m not the biggest corn fan because it’s so sweet but keeping it raw totally tones that down and I can 100% get behind it! You are a genius, Gaby!

  7. Laurie

    This is one of my favorite dishes and most of the time when I make it I comment how lucky everyone is that it actually made it to the table since I typically can’t stop “sampling” it or as I like to say it’s just a bite for Quality Control…lol
    …..I’m like you Gaby I have to hide it in the back of the fridge…lol

    • Sydney

      5 stars
      Made this tonight after I watched you cooked this on Insta live. I ate it with grilled chicken and arugula It was SO good. I could’ve eaten it all if I didn’t force myself to save some for leftovers. Thanks for the amazing recipe.

  8. Hannah

    Is it 1 cup of cooked OR uncooked quinoa? The video shows what looks like a cup of uncooked quinoa being put into the pot…


  9. Trudy Black

    This is really delicious, especially this time of year when the fresh corn tastes so good. I did add some halved grape tomatoes just for some color.

  10. Jennifer

    This was sooo good! As I am eating it I am thinking it would be a great dip with tortilla
    Chips! That will be lunch tomorrow!

  11. Liz @ Floating Kitchen

    This is right up my alley! I’m not a big mayo fan, so the avocado swap out is 100% in my book! And yes to raw corn – it’s so sweet this time of year, it doesn’t need cooking! Happy Friday!

  12. Lexi @Lexi’scleankitchen

    Loving the flavors in this!! Such a perfect lunch recipe!

  13. Jeanine

    I love elotes – that’s such a smart idea to puree avocado instead of mayo!

  14. Lindsay Cotter

    Ha, I’m glad i’m not the only one who hides food from their husband. This would definitely be one of those dishes to hog!

  15. Crysta

    This is so good! I was going to grill the corn but I decided to go ahead and follow the recipe as is. I’m so glad I did. I am not a fan of mayo, but LOVE avocado. This is a new favorite.

  16. Kelly Kenney

    I made this last night for my husband and two high school aged daughters. It was amazing. The perfect nutritionally balanced, delicious dish! I roasted the corn because it isn’t really corn season and my ears were a bit sad looking. I used feta because it was on-hand. Both girls took it to school for lunch today!

    Next time I will add grilled shrimp, because I think it is a perfect one-dish meal.

    Thanks Gaby!

  17. Hilary Clark

    Gaby, would you say frozen corn can take fresh’s place this time of year or best to not? I wish it was still sweet corn season here in the Midwest!


  18. 10 Easy Lunches (that you can make ahead of time and take to work!) – What's Gaby Cooking

    […] – Mexican Corn and Quinoa Salad. It’s light but fulling and you’ll be […]

    • Gaby

      2 days!! I keep it for longer but add the dressing day by day

  19. Laura

    This looks amazing! Do you have the nutritional breakdown of these recipes?

  20. Sandra Lea

    I made a double batch of this last night to take to a party and it was a big hit. With fresh corn not available this time of year I used a frozen organic corn and otherwise followed the recipe exactly. This recipe is a keeper; healthy, simple and delicious.

  21. Stefanie Cash

    I just made this and omg. Delicious. Super easy and fast. I love it!

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    […] are my everything. You’ve probably noticed that by now considering we’ve done this and this and this and this and this. They make me happy and I especially LOVE them when they are […]

  23. Angela

    This was delicious! Very easy, and will be great for the summer nights. Thank you for sharing!

  24. 80+ Delicious Recipes for a Mexican Fiesta – Mary Carver

    […] Mexican Corn & Quinoa Salad – What’s Gaby Cooking? […]

  25. Cal

    I’ve made this a bunch of times. Depending on the season I might use frozen corn or add cherry tomatoes. It’s always a hit. But yesterday I made it with extra cheese & used it to stuff poblano peppers. They were awesome! A great summer meal was enjoyed by all!

  26. Sarah

    Hello Gaby!

    This looks like something that would be delicious for meal prepping for lunches. How long do you think would the avocado mixture keep in the fridge? Since it’s just for me I wouldn’t care if it turns brown.

  27. Jennifer

    So so good. I’ve made this a few times but today I threw in some diced chicken to make it more of a meal and it turned out perfect. Thank you for opening my eyes to fresh corn! I haven’t been able to find cojita so I imagine it will be even more amazing once I do!

  28. Elizabeth Lansing

    All of my 3 teens had second helpings! Mom win!! So good and easy to make. Thanks so much.

  29. Gail

    I’m adding black beans to this to make it a meatless main!

  30. Chelsea

    This was such a huge hit, even with my young kids! Seriously, every recipe of yours I’ve tried has been stellar!

  31. Eating Lately Via My iPhone – CommuniKait

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  32. tt

    I’m allergic to avocado 🙁 – any recommendations for what I can swap it out with?

  33. Caresse

    Delicious!! Excellent topped with a little green choula hot sauce.

  34. Leigh

    Hi, should you use mayo if allergic to avocado? I want to try it because I love all the ingredients. And how much mayo if so? Thanks so much!

  35. Amelia Laws

    Wow, is this ever good! So good that I’ve made it two weeks in a row! The only thing I changed the second time around was adding some very finely diced red onion because I had it laying around and it added a little extra bite. Wonderful recipe! Thank you!

  36. Shelly C

    This is sooo good! I added black beans and lime zest to the recipe to kick it up a notch, very good.

  37. Melissa Brooker

    I love raw corn! I have a deep hatred of quinoa so I would sub that for some other grain, but I will definitely make this!

  38. Catherine

    First Gaby recipe made & it was a homerun! Made for dinner but would be a great make-ahead for lunches. I used TJ’s frozen roasted corn, and added 1/2 a diced zucchini, & couple handfuls of chopped kale. Topped with shrimp sautéed with a little cumin & chipotle powder bc the hubs needs protein but would be great as is. Didn’t have mozz cheese and didn’t miss it one bit. Everyone was raving about this- total keeper. Oh-Also added a little garlic clove to the avocado dressing. SO GOOD!! Thanks Gaby

  39. Tonya Perry

    I made this last night. I left out the onions, since I hate them, but I used trader Joe’s frozen grilled corn. I added more lime juice than suggested. It was absolutely delicious. My roommates were impressed as well as my boyfriend. It went well with Salsa Verde Chicken soft tacos, yellow rice with veggies and black beans.

    I highly recommend this recipe.

  40. Jaimie

    We just had this at a get together last weekend, and my husband made an absolute pig out of himself! He ate 4 bowls of it!! I had to get the recipe. Needless to say, this will be the most popular dish I make from now on! I have never had raw corn, it was so good! I might try roasted too if I’m grilling, but this recipe is insanely good! GREAT JOB! Thanks for a great tasting, healthy recipe!

  41. Sara J

    Does this keep well in the fridge? Curious since it has the avocado dressing…does it turn brown?

    • Gaby

      with the lime juice – it’s okay for a few days!

  42. Ella

    This looks amazing! Despite multiple washings of quinoa, I just can’t eat it without getting a lot of stomach pain. What would you recommend for replacing quinoa? Brown rice? Couscous? Farro? Bulgur?

  43. MichiR

    5 stars
    I made so much thinking I would have it for lunches all week, but then for the 18 hours following making it, I kept going back to the fridge to sneak more bites. Literally didn’t last me 2 days.

    So so easy, and very light but flavourful. Definitely recommend. Also great to bring to a potluck lunch! (If you don’t eat it all beforehand)

  44. rebecca

    How many servings does this make? It sounds delicious and I can’t wait to try it!