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This easy Mexican street corn pasta salad is the perfect vegetarian grilled corn recipe to serve at summer BBQs, parties, or potlucks. The spicy chipotle lime dressing comes together fast, and eating the corn off the cob makes this authentic dish so much easier for a crowd to enjoy.
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Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad

This Mexican street corn pasta salad recipe is a fantastic way to enjoy grilled corn all summer long! You will love the zesty chipotle lime dressing!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Mexican street corn pasta salad, pasta salad recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 3 cups uncooked penne pasta
  • 4 cobs of corn husks & silk removed
  • Olive oil for coating corn
  • 1 cup Cotija cheese (or use finely grated Parmesan or feta)
  • 1/2 medium red onion chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro chopped 
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, Greek yogurt, or Mexican crema
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili pepper (or to taste)
  • Juice + zest of 1/2 lime
  • Salt & pepper to taste 

Instructions

  • Boil a large, salted pot of water for the pasta and cook it al dente according to package directions. Once it's cooked, rinse with cold water and set aside to cool (drain well).
  • Oil your BBQ/grill's grate and preheat it to high.
  • Coat your cobs of corn with olive oil, then grill it for about 10-12 minutes, turning every few minutes until you've got nice char marks (I used a gas BBQ with the lid down). Let the corn cool until it's easy to handle.
  • Meanwhile, prep your other pasta salad ingredients and add them to a large bowl. Mix the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.
  • Using a sharp knife, carefully cut the kernels off the corn cobs once they're cool enough to handle. Add the corn to the salad bowl.
  • Toss until everything is combined. Add salt & pepper as needed (you'll likely need a fair amount with so much pasta, but the cheese can be salty so make sure to taste as you go along). Serve immediately or chill first (but make sure bowl is tightly covered so dressing doesn't dry out). 

Notes

  • As always, adjust dressing ingredients to your tastes as needed (e.g. use more lime, more lime zest, more spice, etc). The dressing is a bit spicy, so I recommend halving the chipotle chili pepper if you want it milder. You definitely want to use some spice, however, because it gives the dressing its signature smoky flavor.
  • Every BBQ/grill/grill pan varies, so using my corn cooking time as a guideline and adjust as needed.
  • I think this recipe is best fresh or made a few hours ahead, but you can certainly enjoy the leftovers too. 
  • This is the handy tool I use to zest the lime for this recipe.
  • Serves 4-6 depending on how much people eat.