Esquites-Inspired Pasta Salad (Mexican Corn Salad-Inspired)

August 15, 2022

Appetizers and Sides

By: Chris Petrellese 

mexican street corn pasta salad in two bowls with garnishes and forks

In less than 15 minutes, you can enjoy this simple and delicious vegan esquites-inspired pasta salad. Loaded with freshly roasted corn, cilantro, a spice-packed creamy dressing, and hearty pasta, it’s the perfect budget-friendly side to bring to picnics all summer long!

Vegetable ingredients for street corn pasta on a marble board.

What are esquites?

Esquites are a popular Mexican street food that consists of corn kernels off the cob, mayonnaise, lime, crema, and chili powder. They’re very similar to another dish, elotes, with the main difference being that elotes are served on the cob. 

My favorite thing about this recipe is the simplicity of both its ingredients and the process. If you are using pre-roasted corn, this recipe can be made in less than 15 minutes!

Close up shot of street corn pasta salad in a ceramic bowl with vegan parmesan cheese and spiral noodles

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Pasta: We used fusilli, but any small pasta of your choice should work. To make this recipe gluten-free, opt for gluten-free pasta. 
  • Corn kernels: You can use fresh corn and roast it yourself, or opt to use frozen already roasted corn for this recipe.
  • Vegan mayonnaise: We like the brand Best Foods but Follow Your Heart also has a great vegan mayo as well.
  • Fresh lime: To brighten up the recipe, add the zest from 1/2 of the lime. 
  • Vegan parmesan cheese: Both parmesan shreds and powder will work in this recipe.
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
  • Spices: We used chili powder, ground cumin, black pepper, and salt. If you want to add an extra kick to this recipe, we recommend adding some cayenne pepper.
  • Garlic: Either fresh or powdered will work in this recipe.
  • Jalapeño: For a spicier salad, don’t remove the jalapeño seeds.
  • Red bell pepper
  • Red onion: We prefer red onion when serving it raw, but white would also work if that is all you have.
Macro shot of vegan spiral pasta with mexican street corn inspiration and parmesan cheese.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might also want to try:

If you make this recipe, let us know what you think in the comments below! + If you post any photos on Instagram, make sure you tag us @sweetsimplevegan and @consciouschris so that we don’t miss it; we love seeing your photos!

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Esquites-Inspired Pasta Salad (Mexican Street Corn-Inspired)


  • Author: Chris @ Sweet Simple Vegan
  • Total Time: 13 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings

Description

In less than 15 minutes, you can enjoy this simple and delicious vegan esquites-inspired pasta salad. Loaded with freshly roasted corn, cilantro, a spice-packed creamy dressing, and hearty pasta, it’s the perfect budget-friendly side to bring to picnics all summer long!


Ingredients

  • 16 ounces of fusilli pasta
  • 3 1/2 cups roasted/charred corn kernels
  • 1 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons vegan Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • Salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and cool.
  2. For the corn, you can either use frozen roasted corn or roast it yourself. To prepare fresh corn: Husk the corn. Using a knife, cut the corn kernels off the cobs. The neatest way to do this is by placing a small bowl upside down in a large bowl and balancing the cob vertically on the small bowl so the kernels fall in the large bowl. 
  3. Roasting on the stovetop: Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or vegan butter) and the corn kernels. Cook, occasionally stirring, until the kernels are lightly charred, 8-10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then set aside to cool.
  4. Roasting in the oven: To roast corn in the oven, brush olive oil on each ear of corn and season with salt and pepper. Wrap ears individually in aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes, flipping halfway. Open the foil and broil until charred as desired.
  5. Mix vegan mayonnaise, lime juice, vegan parmesan cheese, fresh cilantro, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, garlic in a large bowl.
  6. Add the cooked pasta, jalapeños, bell pepper, and red onion, and stir to coat thoroughly. Season with salt to taste.
  7. Garnish with additional vegan parmesan, corn kernels, and fresh cilantro. 
  8. Optional: Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy! 

Notes

  • You can use fresh corn and roast it yourself, or opt to use frozen already roasted corn for this recipe.
  • For a spicier salad, don’t remove the jalapeño seeds.
  • Vegan sour cream would also work great in this recipe. 
  • If you want to add an extra kick to this recipe, we recommend adding some cayenne pepper.
  • Add the zest from 1/2 of the lime to brighten up the recipe. 
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about a week.
  • To make this recipe gluten-free, opt for gluten-free pasta.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Category: Pasta, Salad
  • Cuisine: Vegan

Keywords: Appetizers, Salad, Sides, Entree, Pasta, Vegan Party, Corn, Summer, Roasted

Disclaimer: This page may contain affiliate links, meaning that we earn a commission if you purchase through those links, but your price remains the same. Thank you for supporting Sweet Simple Vegan!

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Recipe rating

  1. Zayn says:

    Looks so yummy!!! I will be making this for dinner tomorrow.Please, check out my blog at

    http://www.mylifeingreens.com

  2. Robin Fusiak says:

    This is an awesome pasta salad. Easy to make. I did not use yogurt and just added a bit more mayonaise. These taste is spicey but not overly. Very different from the same old pasta salad.

  3. […] Vegan Street Corn Pasta Salad (Ready in 15 Minutes) – Sweet Simple Vegan […]

  4. […] Vegan Street Corn Pasta Salad from Sweet Simple Vegan […]

  5. Pamela Perras Ramirez says:

    So easy to make & soooo good@

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