This Mexican Corn Quinoa Salad is a festive warm weather salad, perfect for a crowd. I love fresh corn, and although I enjoy it on the cob, I find it makes a great side dish when used in salads.
I think warm weather is finally here to stay, so I have been trying to take long walks outside, and visiting our local farmer’s market as much as possible.
I made this Mexican Corn Quinoa Salad for a large gathering of women for one of our Bible study celebrations. I’m always trying to concoct something new for this group of ladies, while keeping it on the healthier side.
The idea behind this salad comes from the Mexican street food called Esquites, which is served in little cups. It’s a mixture of boiled or sautéed corn, mayonnaise, Cojita cheese, cilantro and chili powder. Sometimes jalapeño peppers are added too. What I love about Esquites is the combination of sweet (from the corn), spicy (chili powder), and salty (Cojita cheese).
I find pan roasting the corn brings out the natural sugars and makes it taste even sweeter.
Let’s talk a little about the health benefits of corn – whole corn that is, not processed. I have to be honest – for years, I didn’t consider corn a healthy vegetable. It wasn’t until I picked up a copy of The World’s Healthiest Foods a few years ago, that I started paying more attention to the unique nutritional profile that different fruits and vegetables have.
Here are a couple of fun facts about corn you might be interested in:
- Corn is high in both soluble and insoluble fiber. We need both kinds of fiber in our diets. Dietary fiber helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower our risk of heart disease.
- Corn contains two important carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin), which are relatives of vitamin A that support eye health and may have other disease-preventing properties.
- Corn is a good source of B vitamins (folate, B1, B3, B5, B6) which are essential for energy production and making red blood cells
The important thing to remember here is to eat corn in its whole form.
Mexican Corn Quinoa Salad
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3 cups corn
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 4 cups cooked quinoa
- 2 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
- 1 cup cojita cheese feta or romano cheese would also work, crumbled
- 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro minced
- 3 tablespoons scallions minced
- 2 limes juiced
- 1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- a few dashes of cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt to taste
- fresh ground pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Saute corn and garlic until corn has some brown spots (that's the caramelization that makes the corn even sweeter). Transfer to a large bowl and toss in the rest of the ingredients. Season to your liking with additional chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.
Cut recipe in half for a smaller group.
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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by Kitchen PLAY in partnership with the Florida Sweet Corn Exchange for their “Put a Little Sweet in Your Step” event.