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Light Mexican Corn Salad Recipe (Esquites)

by Jeanette on July 3, 2013 ·
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This Mexican Corn Salad or Esquites recipe is a lightened version of a common street food. Spiked with lime juice, chili powder, and pillowey cilantro leaves, it’s a party in your mouth.
Mexican Corn Salad (Esquites) © Jeanette's Healthy Living
I always look forward to summer corn and although our local corn harvest has yet to ripen, I’ve been picking up some fresh Florida corn from our supermarket lately. I can’t wait until our farmer’s market starts carrying fresh corn, but in the meanwhile, I’m thankful that we have access to fresh corn.

Although I love just steaming corn or throwing it on the grill, I thought I’d have some fun with this Mexican Corn Salad or Esquites as it’s called. Esquites is actually a street food, commonly found in Mexico, which is simply corn served with mayonnaise, Cojita cheese, cilantro and chili powder. The combination might sound a bit strange if you’ve never tried it before, but it actually works.
Mexican Corn Salad Esquites © Jeanette's Healthy Living
To lighten up the Esquites a bit, I substituted non-fat Greek yogurt for the mayonnaise. Traditionally Cojita cheese is used (I found this in the Latin American section of the dairy aisle), but if you can’t find it, try substituting Romano cheese.

This is a creamy sort of salad that is kid-friendly, and a nice way to switch things up for your family or for entertaining this summer. I was a bit worried when I served this unusual salad to my kids as I’ve never mixed corn with cheese before, but they really liked this combination.
Mexican Corn Salad (Esquites) © Jeanette's Healthy Living
Scallions or cilantro make great garnishes that can be tossed in just before serving. Although best served warm, I’ve eaten leftovers cold as a topping for salads, and it’s still really good.

Today, I’m participating in Food Networks’s SummerFest event where corn is being featured. Please be sure to check out what my fellow foodies made this week!

Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Mexican Corn Salad “Esquites”
Virtually Homemade: Grilled Corn with Ancho Chili Butter and Fresh Lime
Domesticate Me: Campfire Chicken Packets with Zucchini, Corn and Cherry Tomatoes
Dishin & Dishes: Elote (Mexican Grilled Corn) Three Ways
Feed Me Phoebe: Corn on the Cob with Sriracha Lime Butter
Taste With The Eyes: Hello Summer Salad
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Fresh Corn, Roasted Tomato and Pickled Garlic Pizza with Cornmeal Crust
Red or Green?: Corn & Green Chile Corn Muffins
Made by Michelle: Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salsa
Blue Apron Blog: Summer Succotash with Cod and Pickled Grapes
Devour: Four Grilled Corn Favorites
The Heritage Cook: Fresh Corn and Tomato Salad
The Sensitive Epicure: Cilantro Rice with Corn, Black Beans and Avocados
Pinch My Salt: Grilled Corn Guacamole
Daily*Dishin: Manchego Lime Roasted Corn
Weelicious: Corn Salsa
FN Dish: Off the Cob Salads

Light Mexican Corn Salad – Esquites

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 18 minutes

Yield: 6

If you can't find cojita cheese, try substituing Romano cheese.


  • 4 ears fresh corn, shucked
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons cotija cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup minced scallions
  • 1/2 cup minced cilantro
  • 1/2-1 fresh jalapeno, seeded, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • chili powder, optional


  1. Lightly brush corn with olive oil; grill for 7-8 minutes until brown in spots. Cut corn off cob into a bowl. Add yogurt, cheese, scallions, cilantro, jalapeno, garlic and lime juice. Toss well. Add chili powder if desired.

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  1. I’ve made something similar to this, on cob, and it really is delicious. Great recipe Jeanette, and I can’t wait to make it!

  2. What a great looking salad! I love all the vibrant, summery flavors and how colorful it is. I’d eat it as-is or spoon it over some grilled meats! Thanks for sharing, Jeanette.

    • Jeanette Jeanette says:

      Thanks Georgia – I love summer veggies, and I think this would be terrific over anything grilled!

  3. This salad looks wonderful! I really like that you lightened it up by using non-fat Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise. My hubby and son live off corn all summer so this recipe sounds great :)

    • Jeanette Jeanette says:

      Thanks Kelly – non-fat Greek yogurt has become my go-to substitute for mayonnaise and sour cream. I love that it is packed with protein. I couldn’t agree more – corn is something I look forward to each summer!

  4. sounds delicious jeanette!

  5. Oh! I’ve been searching and searching for a way to lighten my fave corn on the cob version from a fabulous Mexican place near our old home. NOW I can make it at our new house… and lightened! Yay! Thanks! Pinning now!

    • Jeanette Jeanette says:

      Serena – Greek yogurt is an easy way to lighten up so many recipes – hope you enjoy this as much as my family has!

  6. Great minds think aike! Can’t believe we both ,are Esquites! Isn’t it wonderful!?

  7. I’ve seen this Mexican corn but have never tasted it before. I should make this as we love grilled corn, especially kids. Love all the ingredients for the post – light and perfect for summer!

    • Jeanette Jeanette says:

      Nami – I’d seen this corn salad around too and finally got around to trying it. The only thing was I wanted to eliminate the mayonnaise and butter to make it healthier. My kids really enjoyed it – it’s a nice way to mix things up.

  8. You’re a wonderful amazing chef, I kept your recipes, they just sound fantastic Mrs. Chen thank for all your sharing as always, I admire your art. Thank you harry truelove google+ oh by the way those dishes sound great for diabetics.

    • Thanks Harry – I appreciate your feedback. Yes, many of my recipes would be fine for those with diabetes.

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