Mexican Street Corn Kale Salad

Massaged kale, fresh corn, cotija cheese, onion & avocado all tossed in a creamy cilantro lime dressing & topped with crushed tortilla chips! This Mexican street corn kale salad is always a hit & the perfect summer side dish!

A large white serving bowl filled with Mexican street corn kale salad

I don’t know what I love more about this salad. The fresh corn? All the avocado and salty cotija? Those crushed tortilla chips? Or that smoky, creamy, homemade cilantro lime dressing?? Ohhh it could be so many things! But one’s things for sure – once the weather starts warming up I always start craving this Mexican street corn kale salad! It’s full of bold Mexican flavors, bright, vibrant, incredibly refreshing and the perfect side salad for a hot summer day.

Ingredients used to make Mexican street corn kale salad

Ingredients For Mexican Street Corn Kale Salad

Kale: Any type of kale will work for this salad. (I usually use green or curly kale.)

Corn: Use fresh corn for the best results. (It has a more distinct flavor and texture than frozen or canned corn.)

Cotija cheese: An essential ingredient for any Mexican corn recipe! Not a fan of cotija? Try replacing it with feta or queso fresco instead!

Onion: Red onion works the best. It’s sweeter and tends to have less harsh “onion” taste.

Avocado: Everything’s better with avocado right?! You can use as little or as much as you want!

Tortilla chips: Optional but adds a fun crunch to your salad!

Cilantro lime dressing: A creamy tangy homemade dressing that ties it all together! It’s only 6 ingredients and easily made in the blender!

A food processor filled with cilantro lime dressing for Mexican street corn kale salad
A large clear mixing bowl filled with massaged kale, grilled corn, red onion, diced avocado and cotija cheese sitting next to a small bowl of lime wedges

How To Make Mexican Street Corn Kale Salad

1. Make the dressing. Add your dressing ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. Cover and keep it stored in the refrigerator.

2. Cook the corn. Grilling Instructions: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Then place the corn cobs directly on the grill and cook for 10-12 minutes (or until grill marks form) turning occasionally. Transfer the corn to a tray to cool then cut off the kernels.

Boiling Instructions: Bring a large pot of water to a boil on the stove. Once boiling, add your corn cobs. Then cover the pot and boil for 1-2 minutes. Transfer the corn to a tray to cool then cut off the kernels.

3. Massage the kale. Cut the kale leaves off the stem and place them in a large bowl. Then drizzle a splash of olive oil over the top and squeeze the juice from one lime over the leaves. Using both hands, gently rub the leaves together for at least 5 minutes. (The kale should soften, shrink in size and turn a bright vibrant green color.)

4. Toss! Add your massaged kale, cooked corn kernels, cotija cheese, red onion and avocado to a large bowl and pour your desired amount of dressing over the top. Toss until the salad is fully coated.

5. Serve. Sprinkled crushed tortilla chips over the top and serve immediately.

Kale salad with corn freshly tossed in a creamy cilantro lime dressing sitting in a clear bowl

Serving Suggestions

This easy kale salad is the perfect summer side dish! It’s great for dinner parties, potlucks, bbq’s – all types of fun get-togethers! Or serve it on the side at your next family taco night! Here are a few other main dishes that we love to serve it with:

A massaged kale salad made with fresh corn, red onion, cotija cheese, avocado and crushed tortilla chips tossed in a creamy cilantro lime dressing

FAQ’s

  • Can I prep any ingredients beforehand? Yes! You can cook your corn, massage the kale and make your dressing at least one day in advance.
  • I’m not a big fan of kale. Is there something else I can use? Absolutely! This salad would be amazing with romaine lettuce as the base too!
  • Do I have to massage the kale? Yes! This step is important! Massaging the kale helps break down the structure of it’s leaves making them tender and easier to eat. (Plus you’re infusing them with lots of lime flavor too!😉)
A large serving bowl filled with Mexican corn kale salad surrounded by crushed tortilla chips, chopped cilantro and fresh lime wedges

Why you love this street corn kale salad recipe!

  • Light & refreshing! Sweet corn, creamy avocado, tender massaged kale and the best cilantro lime dressing! This salad just screams summer!
  • A healthier spin on Mexican street corn! We’re using protein packed Greek yogurt to lighten up this salad, adding lots of fresh greens & healthy fats while keeping all the yummy cheese!
  • Perfect for parties! Kale salads make a great party side dish because they hold up well after being dressed. Not sure if your guests will like all the toppings? You can easily serve the cotija and tortilla chips on the side for your guests to add as they desire!

[Made one of my recipes? Make sure to tag my Instagram @kalefornia_kravings & leave a review in the comments. I love seeing what you create!]

A large white serving bowl filled with Mexican street corn kale salad
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5 from 4 votes

Mexican Street Corn Kale Salad

This Mexican street corn kale salad is the perfect summer side dish! Tender massaged kale is loaded with fresh corn, cotija cheese, onion & avocado all tossed in a creamy cilantro lime dressing & topped with crushed tortilla chips!
Prep Time15 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: corn salad, kale salad, mexican corn kale salad, salad, salad recipes, side dish, summer salad
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Caitlin

Ingredients

For the kale salad:

  • 1 bunch green kale, leaves cut off the stem and chopped
  • 2 ears of corn, shucked & silk removed
  • ½ cup cotija cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ cup red onion, chopped
  • 1-2 avocados, sliced or diced
  • Crushed tortilla chips, for garnish
  • ½ – 1 lime, juiced (for massaging the kale)
  • Olive oil (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
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp chipotle powder

Instructions

To make the dressing:

  • Add your dressing ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. Cover and keep it stored in the refrigerator.

To make the salad:

  • Cook the corn. Grilling: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Then place the corn cobs directly on the grill and cook for 10-12 minutes (or until grill marks form) turning occasionally. Transfer the corn to a tray to cool then cut off the kernels.
    Boiling: Bring a large pot of water to a boil on the stove. Once boiling, add your corn cobs. Then cover the pot and boil for 1-2 minutes. Transfer the corn to a tray to cool then cut off the kernels.
  • Massage the kale. Add the chopped kale to a large bowl and drizzle with oil and the juice from one lime. Rub the leaves together with your hands for at least 5 minutes or until the kale begins to soften and shrinks in size.
  • Toss the salad. Add your cooked corn kernels, cotija cheese, red onion and avocado to the bowl and toss with your desired amount of dressing.
  • Serve. Sprinkle crushed tortilla chips over the top and serve immediately.

More corn recipes you might like:

12 Comments

  1. My husband made this for me one evening over the summer and it is a DREAM!!! All my favorite flavors. This would be so great for a party too.

  2. Street corn is one of my favorites! I had it all the time on my trips to India and I love making both Indian street corn and Mexican street corn at home. This is a wonderful way to turn the classic snack into the perfect salad!

  3. What could I replace the cilantro with in the dressing? Not a fan of cilantro, but the salad sounds delicious!

    • Hi Alyssa! Hmm that’s a tough one. I would say fresh parsley but it will give the dressing a very different taste. You could try using 2 tablespoons of cilantro instead of a 1/4 cup though. That way you’ll still have a little cilantro flavor but it won’t be overpowering. Hopefully that helps! Let me know what you try!

  4. This is wildly good. Brought it to salad club (sub feta for cojito, added roasted pumpkin seeds) and everyone devoured it. I laughed at the bit about massaging lime juice but it totally makes sense to do it because kale can be quite strong! The lime helps alleviate that.

    • Hi there! I love your variations! (I bet this was delicious with roasted pumpkin seeds, I’ll have to try that next time!) And I definitely agree about massaging the kale too! It makes all the difference! 🙂

  5. This salad was AMAZING! We used a fire roasted frozen corn because the Midwest just isn’t ready for grilling season and it still turned out great. I cooked the corn in the morning, let it strain for a long time, and then put it in the fridge til dinner time and that helped the corn be not super soft. I would also use two bunches of kale in the future as one just wasn’t enough and I had to supplement with some butter lettuce I had in the fridge for another recipe.

    Overall, however, the recipe was GREAT and I would be proud to serve this to others! I know this will be on our rotation this summer and I cannot wait to try it with grilled corn! Yum!

    • Hi Katie! Yayy that makes me so happy! I love the idea of using fire roasted corn, that sounds delicious! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! 🙂

  6. Christine

    How long is the dressing good for? I’d Ike to prep it ahead of time.

    Thanks

  7. Loved this recipe! Just made it for the first time tonight and it was a hit with the family. I added grilled chicken and I will definitely be making this again! Thank you for the great recipe.

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