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)

4.9 from 32 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.


You can grill your corn, but I’m a huge fan of raw corn when it’s perfectly in season!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 431kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 200mg | Potassium: 795mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 682IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 187mg | Iron: 3mg

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


  1. 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!

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 5 stars
    Loved it…my hubby is not a quinoa fan but he really liked it. Thanks for another amazing recipe!

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

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

  13. 5 stars
    This is delicious, honestly the only thing I’m going to eat till it’s gone. I’m in love, thank you!!!

  14. 5 stars
    Well this was delish! I didn’t have avocados so I threw in some spicy guac and watered it down a bit. The corn is the best part!!

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