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)

5 from 25 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Salad, Dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 people


  • 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.

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

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Recipe Rating


    • Jennifer

      5 stars
      I made it with Trader Joe’s Roasted Corn and Good Food mashes avocado and ate it on a salad. It was so good!!!’

    • Lisa

      This sounds soooo good. But you mention keeping it in the fridge. Doesn’t the avocado turn brown? Seems like it would need to be eaten immediately and wouldn’t be good for meal prep or even leftovers.

  1. marjanne

    5 stars
    I love the texture of this salad! Crunchy, fresh, and delicious.

  2. Heather

    This may be a silly question, but do the ears of corn need to be cooked?

  3. Melissa

    I can’t stand quinoa but this sounds delish , do you have a substitute recommendation?

  4. Robin

    Do you allow the quinoa to cool before adding other ingredidants? Is this a warm or cold salad or both?

  5. D Lachner

    5 stars
    Just made this tonight! I am not a huge quinoa fan but wanted a meatless meal. This was beyond delicious. The flavors all came together for such an amazing and satisfying meal! I ate two huge bowls!! Fantastic!

  6. Caitlin

    5 stars
    Delish! Added a little apple cider vinegar to the avacado mixture. Can’t wait for leftovers !!

  7. Michelle

    5 stars
    I literally just made this and it was delicious! The only thing I’d change next time, is double it. I wanted to eat the whole bowl myself.

  8. Stephanie Donovan

    Is there a substitute for cilantro or can I just leave it out – my SIL is allergic.


  9. Sara

    Made this with lemon pepper chicken breasts – my husband said it was one of the best meals he’s had this summer. Sooo delicious!

  10. Tracy McReynolds

    I am (sadly) allergic to avocados. Would you just add the mayo instead? Or sub something else?

  11. Erica

    Hi Gaby – is this one cup of cooked quinoa? 1 cup raw = 3 cups cooked, so just want to double check. Thanks!

  12. Nicole

    Would thawed frozen corn work ok? I have all the other ingredients just not freshly cut raw corn.

  13. B Westie

    Hi Gaby, if I meal prep this on Sunday for a few lunches throughout the week, will the avo dressing turn brown?

    • Gaby

      it will get a little brown but the acid in it will help it from turning like BROWN BROWN

  14. Lara

    I know it’s not as delicious, but how important is the jack cheese? Trying..

  15. Liz

    5 stars
    Anther great WGC find. My husband and I adore this salad, fresh, filling with a sweet crunch from the corn. Highly recommend you make this salad. Thanks Gaby!

  16. Hannah

    Can you recommend a good flavor sub for jalapeño for those of us who are babies and can’t handle them? Lol

  17. Katie

    Can this be made ahead of time (like 1-2 hours)? Wondering if I can make before kids swim lessons for a quick dinner after or would the Avacado get yucky.

    • Gaby

      I would opt for frozen corn if you dont have fresh yet!

  18. Lynde Paule

    5 stars
    I made this w/o cheese and just diced the avocado and the heat of the quinoa “melted” the avocado. It was fabulous. I could eat this everyday!

  19. Christine

    5 stars
    I saw this on your insta live and knew this would be good but it exceeded expectations. Such an amazing and refreshing, light summer side dish.

  20. Danita

    5 stars
    Made a double batch for a Texas style BBQ Birthday party. It was very popular. I forgot to buy a jalapeno but had a half of a poblano pepper on hand and that worked great.

  21. Sydney

    5 stars
    This recipe is incredible!! Such a great summer dish. I chose to grill the corn just for personal preference, but love it raw too!

  22. Barbi

    5 stars
    Loved it…my hubby is not a quinoa fan but he really liked it. Thanks for another amazing recipe!

  23. Craig

    5 stars
    Amazing recipe and perfect for summer! I did 3 things slightly differently:
    1. I smoked the corn in a pellet smoker for an hour.
    2. No Monterrey jack, just more cotija. I did 4 tbsp total.
    3. This was subjective, but I liked it more without the quinoa. My wife liked it more with. So we did a ‘pick your poison’ where you could choose to top it or not.

  24. Laura

    5 stars
    I made this for lunch today and the household literally cannot stop eating it. Every time I walk past the fridge I have to take a bite. It is crisp and a little spicy — I like spice and added way more chile powder and a whole jalapeno — and it’s totally addictive. It is great with some quick-pickled red onions on top.

  25. Pascale

    This sounds so good that I am revamping what I had planned to make for dinner tonight to fit this in.

  26. Priscilla McInnis

    5 stars
    I have made this so many times, but mostly with frozen organic corn. I absolutely love fresh corn, but the silk, not so much! The frozen corn removes that work and tastes fabulous! Everything else about this recipe is so good, my daughter and I make it when she is here, and I make it all the time for my husband and me. He was not a fan of quinoa before this recipe. Really appreciate all the hard work that went into your “overnight” success! Enjoy! Priscilla

  27. nancy

    i think you mean avocado is a sub for mayo/mayo can be subbed by avocado? the recipe says it the other way around.

  28. Robin Pepper

    5 stars
    This is delicious! I grilled the corn and it was amazing! Best quinoa dish I’ve ever made

  29. Jennay

    5 stars
    This is delicious, honestly the only thing I’m going to eat till it’s gone. I’m in love, thank you!!!