Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
Mexican street corn pasta salad uses lots of fresh vegetables to create a flavor profile reminiscent of elote. It’s an excellent side dish for a summer meal.

When the Mexican American Fastpitch Softball Tournament rolls into Newton every summer, Joey and I try to make it out to watch a few hours of the action.

The games are definitely entertaining, but if I’m being honest, I’m mostly there for the food. Trying to pick what to eat from the various vendors is sometimes tough to do. Everything looks and smells amazing.

A couple summers ago, I decided to get elote, which is a roasted ear of corn, slathered in seasoning and mayonnaise and crumbly cheese. Trust me. It’s delicious.

I was thinking about that elote when I ran across this week’s recipe for a Mexican street corn pasta salad. It features a lot of the same flavor profiles, but it’s a bit easier to eat without making a huge mess.

The recipe I tried comes from the blog “Female Foodie” by Tyler Anastasio. You can find the original post at I added extra jalapeno, cheese and garlic in my version and changed up the instructions just a bit.

Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad

Mexican street corn pasta salad uses lots of fresh vegetables to create a flavor profile reminiscent of elote. It’s an excellent side dish for a summer meal.
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: adobo peppers, chipotle peppers, cilantro, cojita, ditalini pasta, fresh cilantro, fresh corn, fresh garlic, frozen corn, green onions, jalapeno, lime juice, lime zest, mayonnaise, Miracle Whip, queso fresco, sour cream



  • 16 ounces ditalini pasta or another small pasta
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen corn
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 jalapeno seeds and ribs removed, diced
  • 1 bunch green onion sliced thinly
  • 1 bunch cilantro roughly chopped
  • 10 ounces queso fresco or cotija cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sour cream I used fat free
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • 2 to 3 whole chipotle peppers packed in adobo
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • zest from one lime
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain it and rinse it with cold water, and set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Once it’s hot, add the corn to the skillet and stir regularly, getting a light char on the kernels. Add the garlic into the pan and saute for just about a minute, and then remove the skillet from the heat. Set it aside to cool.
  • Prepare the jalapeno, green onion and cilantro and add it to a large serving bowl. Crumble in almost all of the cheese, keeping back a handful to top the salad when you’re done.
  • Combine all of the dressing ingredients into a blender or food processor and process until it is smooth.
  • Add the pasta, cooled corn and dressing to the serving bowl, and stir it well. Stir in any additional salt and pepper, if desired. Refrigerate the pasta salad until it’s completely chilled. Just before serving, top with the reserved cheese.

I really liked this, and even Joey, who is a notorious mayonnaise hater, liked the dressing, so you know it had to be pretty good. This will be an especially good pasta salad to put together once everyone’s gardens begin producing this summer.

And if you’re afraid of the jalapeno, you can easily leave it out. It does add a very nice crunch, though.

I’m also not going to pretend that this pasta salad is a perfect recreation of elote, but it does scratch the itch. You can bet, though, once July rolls around, I’ll be on the lookout for the real thing once again.

This piece first appeared in print on May 23, 2024.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.