Mexican Corn and Quinoa Salad

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Let me preface this by saying when I make Mexican Corn and Quinoa Salad at home, I have 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 or Poppy) 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.

Mexican Corn and Quinoa Salad from (@whatsgabycookin)

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.

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

Mexican Corn and Quinoa Salad from (@whatsgabycookin)

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

Mexican Corn and Quinoa Salad from (@whatsgabycookin)

Mexican Corn and Quinoa Salad (aka Esquites with Quinoa)

5 from 31 votes
If you've ever had Esquites or Elote and you're a fan… imagine it with quinoa and then prepare to make this your new fav lunch. It's true perfection.
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


  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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!


  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

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

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

  11. 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!

  12. 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!

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

  14. 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!

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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!

  18. 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?

  19. 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)

    1. 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!!!’

    2. 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.

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

  21. 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!

  22. 5 stars
    Delish! Added a little apple cider vinegar to the avacado mixture. Can’t wait for leftovers !!

  23. 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.

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


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

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

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

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