Mexican Street Corn Kale Salad

Tender kale, fresh corn, cotija cheese and red onion are all tossed in a creamy cilantro lime dressing and topped with avocado & crushed tortilla chips! It’s everything you love about Mexican corn – just in a bowl!

Close up of Mexican street corn kale salad served in a white bowl

Does anyone else thrive on summer?! (Altough sometimes I question that ability when its get to be in the high 90’s – low 100’s like it’s been every. single. day. this week…😳 But all I can say is thank the Lord for AC!) So needless to say those fresh summer salads are always going strong in this house! And this easy Mexican street corn kale salad is one of our favorites! It’s fresh and tangy, creamy and full of bold Mexican flare!

Ingredients for Mexican street corn kale salad

Ok so some of you might be wondering, “what the heck is Mexican street corn?” Well I’m glad you asked! Mexican street corn is corn on the cob that’s been grilled then slathered with mayo and sprinkled with cotija cheese, a few Mexican spices and a good squeeze of lime over the top. (Trust me, it’s delicious!) But it can also be a little on the “not so healthier” side too. Which is why I LOVE making this salad because I still get all the flavors of this delicious dish but with healthier, better for you ingredients!

  • Kale: I used green kale for this recipe because I love the tender mild flavor it adds to your salad. (Look for kale that’s firm and not wilted for the best results.)
  • Fresh corn: I always suggest using fresh corn for this salad. Not only does it have much better flavor but it also gives a nice pop of texture too! (You can use frozen corn if needed, but it carries a ton of moisture which can water down your salad.)
  • Cotija cheese: Gives your kale salad that Mexican street corn feel! (Feta cheese or queso fresco are great substitutes too!)
  • Red onion: Adds even more texture and really brings out the flavors in your salad!
  • Avocado: Adds creaminess to help mellow out your flavors!
  • Crushed tortilla chips: Completely optional but I love the the crunch and added Mexican flare it gives your corn salad!
  • Cilantro lime dressing: Ties the whole thing together! (AND is healthier than store bought dressing too!)
Fresh corn and kale salad sered in a large white bowl with slices of avocado and crushed tortilla chips on top

How to make Mexican street corn kale salad

  1. Make the dressing. Blend all of your dressing ingredients together in a food processor or blender until smooth. Keep it stored in the fridge while you prepare the rest of our salad.
  2. Cook your corn. Bring a large pot of water to a boil on the stove and remove the husks from your corn cobs. Once the water begins to boil, add your corn, cover it and let the cobs cook for 1-2 minutes. Once done, remove the corn from the pot and discard the water. Let the corn cool completely while you prepare the rest of your ingredients. (You might want to place your corn in the fridge to help it cool down faster.)
  3. Massage your kale. Cut the kale leaves off the stem and place them in a large bowl. Then drizzle about 1 tsp of olive oil over the top and squeeze 1/2 of a lime over your kale. Using both hands, gently rub the kale leaves together for at least 5 minutes. (The kale should soften and shrink in size and turn a bright vibrant green color.)
  4. Assemble your salad. Place your massaged kale leaves in a bowl and cut the kernels off your cooled corn cobs. Then add your corn kernels, chopped red onion and cotjia cheese crumbles and pour your desired amount of dressing over the top. Toss the salad until everything is fully coated and top it with avocado and crushed tortilla chips right before serving!
A summer kale salad made with fresh corn, red onion, cotija cheese, sliced avocado and tossed in a creamy cilantro lime dressing

Why you love this Mexican street corn kale salad recipe

  • Light & refreshing! Sweet juicy corn kernels, creamy avocado and the best tangy cilantro lime dressing to tie it all together! It doesn’t get any better than this for summer!
  • Easy to prep ahead of time! You can always cook/cut the corn AND massage your kale in the morning or even the day before you’re planning to eat it too! (Sometimes I even prefer my kale salads this way because the longer your massaged kale sits to the softer and more tender it becomes!)
  • A healthier spin on Mexican street corn! Traditional Mexican street corn is usually loaded with mayo and a ton of cheese. (Which is 100% why it tastes soo good. 😉 ) BUT for those of us that are looking for something a little more “slimmed down”, this kale salad is perfect! It’s full of fresh greens, healthy fats and even a little protein too! (Psst there’s greek yogurt in the dressing! 😉 )
Mexican street corn kale salad served in a large bowl surrounded by sliced avocado, crushed tortilla chips and wooden serving utensils

What do I serve with Mexican street corn kale salad?

Glad you asked! This savory kale salad is great on it’s own for a lighter meal, but we also love serving it as a side dish too! Here are a few of our favorite “mains” that pair so well with this dish!

Headed to a potluck or summer bbq? This Mexican corn & kale salad is the perfect dish to take! Just add your kale, corn, onion and cotija to bowl and mix it with your dressing when you get there! (I’ll usually leave the avocado and tortilla chips on the side for guests to add later. 😉 )

I hope you all enjoy this salad just as much as we do! Have the very best day!

More Mexican corn recipes you might like:

[Made one of my recipes? Make sure to tag my social media @kalefornia_kravings – I love seeing what you create!]

Mexican Street Corn Kale Salad

Tender kale, fresh corn, cotija cheese and red onion all tossed in a creamy cilantro lime dressing and topped with avocado and crushed tortilla chips! It's all the flavors of Mexican street corn, just tossed in a bowl!
Prep Time15 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Easy, Mexican
Keyword: cilantro lime dressing, kale salad, mexican corn kale salad, Mexican street corn, salad, side dish
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Caitlin Monson

Ingredients

For the salad:

  • 1 bunch kale, leaves cut off the stem and cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 ears of corn
  • ½ cup cotija cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ cup red onion, chopped
  • Avocado, sliced or diced
  • Crushed tortilla chips, for garnish (optional)
  • 1 tsp avocado oil or olive oil (for massaging the kale)*
  • ½ of a lime, juiced (for massaging the kale)

For the cilantro lime dressing:

  • ½ cup plain greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped (leaves & stems are fine)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp salt
  • tsp cayenne (omit if you don't want it spicy)

Instructions

To make the dressing:

  • Place all of your ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Store it in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the salad.

To make the salad:

  • Remove the husks from your corn cobs and bring a large pot of water to a boil on the stove. Once the water begins to boil, add your corn to the pot, cover it with the lid and boil for 1-2 minutes. Remove the corn from the pot and let the cobs cool completely before cutting the kernels off.
  • Next, place the kale leaves in a large bowl and drizzle them with your avocado oil and lime juice. Rub the leaves together with your hands for at least 5 minutes or the kale until it begins to soften and turns a bright green color.
  • Add your corn kernels, red onion and cotija cheese to the kale and toss the salad with your desired amount of dressing. Top with avocado and cruched tortilla chips right before serving.

Notes

*If you like A LOT of dressing, I would suggest doubling the dressing recipe. You can also keep any leftover dressing in the fridge for at least 1 week. 

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