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

  2. 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!!!

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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

    1. 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.

  6. 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…


  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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!


  14. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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!

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

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

  20. 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!

  21. 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!

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

  23. 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!

  24. 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

  25. 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.

  26. 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!

  27. 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?

  28. 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)

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