Dairy Free Mexican Street Corn Salad (Esquites)

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This take on Mexican street corn salad is made easily dairy free but with all the classic spicy, tangy & creamy flavors that make the dish so delicious!

If you hadn’t already noticed, then perhaps this Mexican street corn salad will be the first clue that things have been changing around here.

I made a decision a while ago to start broadening out the range of recipes that I share, both to free up some creativity and to better reflect the way that I’ve been able to expand my own diet successfully.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been posting some recipes that use non AIP ingredients, like nuts, seeds, and small amounts of nightshades. And after all my worrying about whether or not people would be upset or disappointed that I’m no longer sharing just elimination phase recipes, I’m not sure anybody noticed until last week’s recipe that featured harissa.

That person was wondering how those ingredients fit into AIP. And the answer is that they don’t, other than the fact that they have been successful re-introductions for me personally, after many years of adapting, tweaking and figuring out my own dietary needs.

I’m at a point now – I wrote my AIP cookbook five years ago! – where I don’t need to hold myself to the elimination phase as a constant. I’ve found the balance that works for me and now that I have that degree of knowledge and health, it’s time for me to start reflecting it here. After all, successful re-introductions are kind of the point of AIP! The elimination phase isn’t supposed to last forever.

This take on Mexican street corn salad is made easily dairy free but with all the classic spicy, tangy & creamy flavors that make the dish so delicious!

So here I am. Not starting over, just opening up this space to some new ingredients, flavors and influences. It will be fun! And always gluten & dairy free, for the record.

This week’s recipe for Mexican street corn salad is a good one! If you’ve ever enjoyed Mexican street corn or elotes, you’ll be familiar with the layers of flavor at play here.

That dish takes deliciously charred corn on a handy dandy street-eating stick and slathers it in creamy mayo, salty cotija cheese and spicy chile. Its sister dish, esquites, is the even easier to eat version: instead of being served still on the cob, the kernels are sliced away and all of those creamy, spicy, addictive seasonings and mixed up and served in a cup.

Esquites is the inspiration for my dairy free take on this Mexican street corn salad.

This take on Mexican street corn salad is made easily dairy free but with all the classic spicy, tangy & creamy flavors that make the dish so delicious!

You can cook up the corn however you like. Grill, broil or stove top, it’s all good and it’s even better if you get some nice blackened bits for extra flavor.

I’ve not got any surprises here in that the chile powder brings the heat, smoked paprika brings the, well, smokiness that makes this crave-able, lime juice makes an appearance for zing. But instead of a typical mayo, sour cream or Mexican crema, I’ve mixed up an avocado cream that keeps everything all together in that way that only something deliciously unctuous can do.

And while I’m never gonna claim that my umami sprinkles on top are the same as cotija – they’re not – they do bring a delicious savory, salted flavor punch to finish the dish.

So what are you waiting for? This Mexican street corn salad is a must for these last few weeks of summer!

PS – don’t forget that you can always use my Recipe Index to search for recipes that suit you by diet, ingredient & more!

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Dairy Free Mexican Street Corn Salad (Esquites)

This take on Mexican street corn salad is made easily dairy free but with all the classic spicy, tangy & creamy flavors that make the dish so delicious!

This take on Mexican street corn salad is made easily dairy free but with all the classic spicy, tangy & creamy flavors that make the dish so delicious!

  • Author: Rachael Bryant / Meatified
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 - 8 1x
  • Category: sides, salad
Scale

Ingredients

For the Mexican street corn salad:

  • 5 or 6 ears of corn, to yield approximately 4 cups / 600 g kernels
  • 3 tbsp / 45 ml avocado oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup / 60 ml fresh lime juice, divided
  • 1 tsp ancho chile powder, I like this one
  • 3/4 tsp smoked paprika, I like this one
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp coarse ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup / 60 ml dairy free yogurt, see notes
  • 1/2 a small avocado, about 3 tbsp / 45 g
  • 2 tbsp / 30 ml cold water
  • 3/4 cup fresh cilantro, divided
  • 4 green onions, sliced finely

For the optional umami sprinkle:

Instructions

CHAR: Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Remove and discard the corn husks and silks, then slice the corn from the cobs and discard those, too. Add 1 tablespoon / 15 ml of avocado oil to the skillet and heat it until it begins to shimmer. Slide the corn into the skillet and season with a little salt to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn is bright in color and charred in spots, about 5 minutes or so.

BLOOM: Transfer the charred corn to a mixing bowl. Drizzle the corn with the remaining 2 tablespoons / 30 milliliters of avocado oil & 3 tablespoons / 45 milliliters of the lime juice, then sprinkle with the chile powder, smoked paprika, salt, cumin and pepper. Toss to coat and let marinate together.

BLEND: Scoop the dairy free yogurt and avocado into the bowl of a mini food processor or blender pitcher. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon / 15 milliliters of lime juice and about 1/4 cup of the cilantro. Blend until smooth, then add water a tablespoon at a time and blend again until thinned to a creamy, sauce-like consistency.

MIX: Add the avocado cream to the bowl with the marinated corn a little at a time, stirring to coat, until the consistency is the texture you prefer, see notes below. Roughly chop the remaining cilantro and add it to the Mexican street corn salad, along with the finely sliced green onions and mix until combined. Taste and adjust seasonings as you prefer.

SERVE: Serve the Mexican street corn salad straight away, or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If you like, serve with extra chile powder and the optional umami sprinkle in place of cotija, recipe below.

BLITZ: To make the dairy free cotija substitute, add all the ingredients to a mini food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are broken down and come together, but not starting to stick together. The finished sprinkles should still be dry enough to form a grated parmesan-like texture, so don’t over process.

Notes

  • I like to use a little yogurt for the tang that it brings, but you can swap the yogurt for additional avocado if you like, then thin with water to your liking.
  • 2 tablespoons / 30 milliliters of the avocado cream gives you a lightly dressed salad, 1/4 cup / 60 milliliters is velvety, 6 tablespoons / 90 milliliters is richly dressed and the whole batch would only be used if you like a very “mayo” heavy texture.
  • I used non fortified nutritional yeast like this since it is much paler than the bright yellow tinge of fortified nutritional yeast. Either will work from a flavor perspective, but the non-fortified version looks more like a cotija style cheese.
  • For a nut free alternative, try using my Nut Free Vegan Parmesan Sprinkles, instead.

 

This take on Mexican street corn salad is made easily dairy free but with all the classic spicy, tangy & creamy flavors that make the dish so delicious!

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