Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad

Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad - charred sweet corn, pasta, peppers, tomatoes, black beans + bacon and a delicious creamy, tangy, slightly spicy dressing.

Side Dish | July 21, 2017 | By

Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad ~ an easy summer side you won’t find at every picnic. Fresh sweet corn sautéed in bacon drippings blended with pasta, peppers, tomatoes, black beans and of course  crispy bacon tossed in a delicious creamy, tangy slightly spicy dressing.

Dannnng! I’m late to the table again and just when I ditched my 8-track for a Walkman. Kidding of course, but this time it’s Mexican Street Corn ~ would you believe I just tried it? 

My daughter has mentioned 2 or 10 times “we” should try making it. I know that’s code for “Mom, make this next time I’m over”.  The truth is I drug my feet because it just didn’t sound appealing. Mayonnaise slathered on beautiful, fresh, sweeter than sweet summer corn is almost sacrilegious.

But practically every time I went on Pinterest I saw so many recipes for Mexican Street Corn I figured I could sacrifice a single ear of corn to try it. The only thing was, my daughter wasn’t over that day. Oops ~ but OMG the flavor had me wishing for a whole bushel of it ~ and not just Mexican Street Corn, but Mexican Street Corn ~ everything.

This Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad is like pasta salad and Mexican Street Corn had a baby. I’ll leave you with that.

Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad - charred sweet corn, pasta, peppers, tomatoes, black beans + bacon and a delicious creamy, tangy, slightly spicy dressing.

I love this season of outdoor eating, barbecues, farmers markets and roadside stands. Once the corn season hits, corn on the cob is everywhere at amazing deals ~ I just bought 5 ears for $1.00 ~ perfect not only for this Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad, but Corn Chowder, too! Update: I went back for more 5 ears were now $2.00. Hmmm. .  .

Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad - charred sweet corn, pasta, peppers, tomatoes, black beans + bacon and a delicious creamy, tangy, slightly spicy dressing.

In Mexico, Mexican Street Corn is classic street food called Elotes ~ whole ears of corn grilled then dressed in a combination of mayonnaise, lime, chilies and grated cheese.

Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad starts with corn combined with other pasta salad favorites like elbow macaroni, onion, bell peppers, tomatoes as well as black beans and because crispy, salty bacon adds such amazing flavor to any dish, I included that too ~ and besides I just needed to sauté the corn in some bacon drippings.

That’s not a typo. I needed to.

Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad - charred sweet corn, pasta, peppers, tomatoes, black beans + bacon and a delicious creamy, tangy, slightly spicy dressing.

The corn remains the star of this Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad with less pasta and the dressing is a delicious blend of mayonnaise, plain Greek yogurt, lime juice and zest, some spices from the pantry and fresh finely minced fresh cilantro.

Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad:

  • 1 cup of dry elbow macaroni
  • 4 slices of applewood (or your favorite) bacon
  • 4-5 ears of corn (depending on size)
  • 1/3 cup of red onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup of black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 1/2 cups of grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/3 cup of cojita cheese + more for garnish

Tip: If you can’t find cojita cheese, parmesan is a good substitute with similar taste.

Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad - charred sweet corn, pasta, peppers, tomatoes, black beans + bacon and a delicious creamy, tangy, slightly spicy dressing.

Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ to 1 lime (zested and juiced) – according to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the macaroni according to package directions giving the water a good seasoning of salt.

While the macaroni is cooking, fry the bacon until it’s lightly crisp then remove it from the skillet and reserve, leaving the bacon drippings in the skillet. Once the bacon cools, crumble it (we’ll be adding it to the salad later).

Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad - charred sweet corn, pasta, peppers, tomatoes, black beans + bacon and a delicious creamy, tangy, slightly spicy dressing.

Slice the corn off the cob add it to the warm drippings in the skillet and sauté over medium-high heat 2-3 minutes without over-stirring so some of the kernels can brown/caramelize.

Note: some of the corn may pop right out of the skillet, similar to popcorn. This is normal.

Reduce the heat to medium, drop in the bell pepper and onion and continue cooking about another minute until the onions are soft and translucent.

Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad - charred sweet corn, pasta, peppers, tomatoes, black beans + bacon and a delicious creamy, tangy, slightly spicy dressing.

Add the corn, vegetables and macaroni to a large bowl and allow them to cool while you make the dressing.

Q: Greek yogurt or sour cream?

A: Either will be delicious. Use whichever you normally buy (I use Greek yogurt) but if you’re going with Greek yogurt, make sure it’s plain, not flavored.

In a separate bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt (or sour cream) juice and zest from half of one lime, cayenne pepper, chili powder, garlic powder and finely chopped cilantro.

Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad - charred sweet corn, pasta, peppers, tomatoes, black beans + bacon and a delicious creamy, tangy, slightly spicy dressing.

Season the dressing with salt and pepper and if you’d like, add more lime juice then fold in the black beans, tomatoes, dressing, cojita cheese and half of the crumbled bacon into the pasta salad blending thoroughly.

Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad - charred sweet corn, pasta, peppers, tomatoes, black beans + bacon and a delicious creamy, tangy, slightly spicy dressing.

Crumble the rest of the bacon and a little more cojita cheese over the top then cover and refrigerate a couple of hours before serving.

Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad - charred sweet corn, pasta, peppers, tomatoes, black beans + bacon and a delicious creamy, tangy, slightly spicy dressing.

Print
Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
Ingredients
  • 1 cup elbow macaroni
  • 4 slices applewood smoked bacon or your favorite kind
  • 4-5 ears of corn depending on size
  • 1/3 cup red onion chopped
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 1/3 cups grape tomatoes cut in half
  • 1/2 cup cojita cheese + more for garnish
Dressing:
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ to 1 lime zested and juiced – according to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook the macaroni according to package directions giving the water a good seasoning of salt.

  2. While the pasta is cooking, cook the bacon until it’s lightly crisp then remove it from the skillet and reserve it, leaving the bacon drippings in the skillet. Once the bacon cools, crumble it.

  3. Slice the corn off the cob and add it to the warm drippings in the skillet the sauté over medium-high heat 2-3 minutes without over-stirring so the corn can to brown/caramelize.

  4. Reduce the heat to medium and drop in the bell pepper and onion and continue cooking 1-2 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent.

  5. Add the corn, vegetables and elbow macaroni to a large bowl and allow them to cool while you make the dressing.

  6. In a separate bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt (or sour cream) juice and zest from half of one lime, cayenne pepper, chili powder, garlic powder and finely chopped cilantro.

  7. Season the dressing with salt and pepper and if you’d like, add more lime juice then fold the dressing, black beans, tomatoes, cojita cheese and half of the bacon into the pasta salad blending thoroughly. Crumble the reserved bacon on the top along with a little more cojita cheese.

  8. Refrigerate at least a couple of hours before serving.

  1. Mary
    July 22, 2017

    This is a perfect salad for summertime. Mama always fried her fresh corn in bacon grease….gives it a wonderful flavor. This will definitely be seen on our table next week. Pinned. Happy weekend, my friend.

    • Bernie
      July 24, 2017

      Good Monday morning Mary! That bacon grease sure does give anything great flavor. My husband likes to say it could make a paper bag taste good — of course he’s kidding we’ve never tried it! 🙂 You must have picked up a lot of tips from your mom. She sounds like a great cook and she obviously raised a kind and good woman. Enjoy the week!