Mexican Corn and Quinoa Salad


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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
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  • 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. Marie @ Little Kitchie

    Love everything about this! I grew up in San Antonio, and we ate that type of corn ALL the time, but we called it elotes. I love that you used avocado instead here, though – yum, yum, yum!

  2. Monika

    This sounds like a wonderful combination. Bring on summer! This will be my new dish to bring and share. So tasty and easy.

  3. Julie @ Table for Two

    haha! you should totally clean out a can of crisco or something and put your future meals in there – i doubt Thomas would open that 😉 i’d LOVE this salad for lunch right now!!

  4. Debi Suseland

    This sounds excellent! I’m making it this week. Wouldn’t just a little bit of red onion be good in this salad? Just a thought. It would be terrific without it too.

  5. LeAndra

    I haven’t had the opportunity to spend much time on the west coast, so Esquites is new to me. I am not a huge quinoa fan, and since that makes me feel like something might be wrong with me, I keep trying different ways to prepare it. I am definitely looking forward to trying this dish. Looks and sounds delicious, as do all of your recipes.

  6. Marie @ Little Kitchie

    Gaby! I am eating this right now and it is absolutely to DIE for! I am obsessed! I subbed Greek yogurt for the avocado because I didn’t have enough avocado left… but did have enough to cube some on top! Also added some tequila-lime chicken. Delish!!

  7. Boo

    Finally got a chance to make this. I can’t stop eating! I was forced to make a few changes, but it still the basic recipe. Like didn’t have cotitja or feta so used some gorgenzola. Also added some seeded roma tomatoes. This is perfect for lunch or dinner in the summer. Tonight it is my main meal and I couldn’t be happier. Oh, also I did slightly brown my corn in broiler, but that how I like it. Thanks Gaby, I will be back!

  8. michelle

    Words cannot describe my absolute love for this dish…. tried it for the first time pretty much the day it was posted and have made it for different folks a few times since. Like others I use the avocado puree and then cube some in the salad as well because you can never ever have too much avocado. Will be my go-to dish from now on for dinner parties!

  9. Dax

    Made this for dinner tonight. What a fabulous, delicious salad. Thank you!!

  10. Monika

    I love the avocado idea. I am so doing this for dinner this week!!

  11. Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch

    Yum! Perfect salad for Spring! And I understand hiding in the back of the fridge too! xo

  12. Mitch

    What a great salad for Spring! I have made this during last weekend and I can’t stop eating! I love the avocado till the max! Thanks for sharing this!

  13. Lori @ RecipeGirl

    Adding this to the must- try list! So bright and fresh for spring!

  14. Margie W.

    Sounds amazing but I’m not an avocado fan. How much mayo should I use in its place?

  15. Allison // Always Eat Dessert

    Just ate this for lunch and it was SO GOOD! The perfect ‘make ahead and take to work’ lunch! Thanks for the awesome recipe!

    xx Allison @

  16. Chandler Wallace

    Gaby, I love following you on Snapchat and getting your emails. When I saw this recipe, I knew it was a winner. I have made it multiple times and it is a HIT every time! Recently used it for a dinner party and everyone asked for the recipe 🙂

  17. Suzanne

    This looks amazing! Sadly, my husband is allergic to avocado. Any idea how much mayo would be used to substitute it?