Mexican Street Corn Salad with Pearl Couscous

Overhead shot of Mexican Street Corn Salad

Mexican Street Corn Salad with Pearl Couscous puts a fun twist on elotes. Smoky grilled corn, a creamy cumin-lime dressing, and pearl couscous combine to create this delicious salad.

You guys probably don’t know this, but most of the recipes I make for this blog are made and photographed 1-2 months before they actually are published… Sometimes it can get quite odd, making a full on turkey dinner in September (to prep for Thanksgiving) or fixing a corned beef for New Years, just so that I can have the recipe ready to go live in March for St. Patrick’s Day. But with this post, that’s just not the case.

I was so excited to share this Mexican Street Corn Salad recipe with you that I could even wait a week! I fixed this salad, along with this Israeli Couscous Tabbouleh Salad for a Memorial Day BBQ with friends, and right now, I’m really wishing that we had leftovers because I’m totally craving this salad again!

This salad is based off of  traditional Mexican Street Corn (or Elotes) –  Grilled corn that’s slathered in a tangy cream sauce and sprinkled with chili powder, cotija cheese and fresh cilantro. Traditionally the husks are tied up, making a handle of sorts, so that it can be enjoyed on the go. It’s my favorite way to eat corn nowadays and I basically never eat corn on the cob unless it’s dressed up with all those fixings now. I love it so much that I even made it into these Mexican Street Corn Chicken Tacos.

And now, enter this Mexican Street Corn Salad with Couscous.

The smoky corn, the tang of the lime, that creamy sauce, and the surprise pops of pearl couscous – This is not your traditional, boring salad. Nope. You will be hooked on it – Promise.

Dressing being poured into salad.

Is Mexican Street Corn Salad spicy? 

  • As the recipe is written, is does pack some heat. You can tame down the heat by removing the ribs and seeds from your jalapeno. Or, for an even milder version, you can leave the jalapeno out altogether.

Can you make Mexican Street Corn Salad with frozen corn?

  • Yes, you can use frozen corn in this recipe. There’s no need to defrost it. Just heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over high heat and add 3 cups of frozen corn. Cook until it gets a nice char, about 5-7 minutes.

I want to make this Mexican Street Corn Salad for a potluck. Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

  • Yes, you can make this salad ahead of time. I will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

What’s the best way to get the corn kernels off the cob?

  • Place the grilled corn, stalk side down into the hole of a bundt pan and then cut around the cob. The kernels will fall right down into the pan and will make for much easier cleanup – You won’t be chasing those kernels all over the place.

Salad next to container of dressing.

Mexican Street Corn Salad in bowl with wedges of lime.

I hope you love this Mexican Street Corn Salad with Couscous as much as I did! It will be perfect for summer grilling parties, but it’s also perfect for meal prep because you can make the salad up to three days ahead of time and pack it for lunch.

Be sure to leave me a comment and let me know what you thought of this recipe. I love your feedback!

Mexican Street Corn Salad in bowl with wedges of lime.

Mexican Street Corn Salad with Pearl Couscous

Course: Salad
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: elotes, mexican street corn salad, street corn salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 295 kcal
Author: Erin

Mexican Street Corn Salad with Couscous puts a fun twist on elotes. Smoky grilled corn, a creamy cumin-lime dressing, and pearl couscous combine to create this delicious salad.

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Ingredients

  • 4 ears of corn husked
  • 1 1/2 cups pearl couscous
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice divided (about 4 limes)
  • 2 teaspoons salt divided
  • 1/2 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • 5 green onions chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper diced (and seeded if less heat desired)
  • 2 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup cotija cheese or feta, crumbled

Instructions

  1. Prepare grill for medium heat. Grill corn, turning occasionally, until tender and charred, 8–10 minutes; let cool slightly. Cut kernels from cobs and transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the couscous. In a saucepan combine the broth, water, 1/4 cup lime juice and 1 ½ teaspoons salt, bring the mixture to a boil, and stir in the couscous. Cover the pan, and let the couscous simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the lid, fluff the couscous with a fork and let it cool in the pan.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ¼ cup lime juice, sour cream, mayonnaise, paprika, cumin, black pepper and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Set aside.
  4. To the bowl with the corn, add the cooled couscous, bell pepper, onion, cilantro, green onions, and jalapeno. Stir to combine. Drizzle on the dressing, and the cheese and toss gently to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.

Recipe Notes

  • DO AHEAD: Dressing can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill. Corn can be grilled and cut from cobs 1 hour ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
  • You can also use frozen corn. There’s no need to defrost it. Just heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over high heat and add 3 cups of frozen corn. Cook until it gets a nice char, about 5-7 minutes.
Nutrition Facts
Mexican Street Corn Salad with Pearl Couscous
Amount Per Serving
Calories 295 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 15mg5%
Sodium 1108mg48%
Potassium 327mg9%
Carbohydrates 46g15%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 9g18%
Vitamin A 795IU16%
Vitamin C 24.5mg30%
Calcium 86mg9%
Iron 1.3mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

If you loved this Mexican Street Corn Salad with Pearl Couscous I would appreciate it so much if you would give this recipe a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.

Wine Pairings for Mexican Street Corn Salad with Pearl Couscous:

  • Try pairing this salad with a creamy, fruit forward Viognier or an unoaked Chardonnay. Fruit-forward, with a bit of body to them, they stand up nicely to the spiciness of this dish.

 

Bowl of Mexican Street Corn Salad next to lime and blooming chives

Looking for more salad recipes? Be sure to try these too: 

Israeli Couscous Tabbouleh Salad

This Israeli Couscous Tabbouleh Salad recipe combines pearl couscous with tomatoes, cucumber, fresh herbs and a light citrus dressing. It's a perfect make-ahead salad recipe! | platingsandpairings.com

30-Minute Thai Beef Salad

Thai beef salad overhead shot with toasted rice powder on the side.

Mediterranean Chickpea & Tuna Salad

Mediterranean Chickpea Tuna Salad

Turkey Meatball Salad with Slaw Dressing

This Turkey Meatball Chopped Salad is loaded with veggies and topped with grilled fresh blackberries, blueberries, avocado and goat cheese. | platingsandpairings.com

10 comments

  1. Marlynn | Urban Bliss Life

    5 stars
    Oh I love Mexican Street Corn so much! Love your version of it here with couscous. Looks like the perfect dish to bring to summer potlucks and parties!

    Reply

  2. Kelsey

    This looks so delicious, I love these flavors.

    Reply

  3. Lauraine

    5 stars
    This is soooo good! I made some honey lime grilled chicken with it and it was a hit!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      That sounds like an amazing dinner Lauraine!

      Reply

  4. Mary Jo

    Looks delish! Served cold or better at room temp?

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Thank you! You could serve it cold or at room temp. I prefer it room temp, but either works!

      Reply

  5. MG Carlos

    5 stars
    Thanks for this recipe Erin. I’m gonna try it soon, but I wanted to pair it with a protein. The lime chicken sounds good, but we kinda sorta use chicken a lot already. Do you have any other protein recommendations for it like a beef, pork, fish or other?

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Hi MG – Some grilled swordfish or tuna would probably be amazing in there. Or some grilled flank steak?

      Reply

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