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!
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 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!
How To Make Mexican Street Corn Kale Salad
- Make the dressing. Blend all your dressing ingredients together in a food processor then keep it stored in the fridge while you prepare the rest of your salad.
- Cook your corn. Bring a 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 before cutting off the kernels. (You might need to place your corn in the fridge to help it cool down faster.)
- Massage your kale. Cut the kale leaves off the stem and place them in a large bowl. Then drizzle 1 tsp of olive oil over the top and squeeze ½ a 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.)
- Assemble your salad. Add your massaged kale, cooled corn kernels, red onion, cotija cheese and avocado to a large bowl and pour your desired amount of dressing over the top. Toss the salad until it’s fully coated and top it with your crushed tortilla chips right before serving!
Try grilling your corn for an even tastier salad! A little char goes a long way!😉
What do I serve with Mexican street corn kale salad?
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 even 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:
- Carne asada/pollo asada
- Grilled or roasted chicken (Try it with my Peruvian chicken thighs or cilantro lime chicken wings!)
- Grilled or sauteed shrimp
- Grilled steak
- 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!😉)
- Is there a different way to cook the corn? Try grilling your corn! That little bit of char makes a world of difference!
Why you love this Mexican 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 & 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!
More corn recipes you might like:
- Summer Corn Salad with Avocado
- Easy Mexican Street Corn Dip
- Black Bean Corn & Avocado Salsa
- Summer Peach Corn & Halloumi Salad
[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!]
Mexican Street Corn Kale Salad
For the salad:
- 1 bunch green 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
- 1-2 avocados, 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
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ancho chipotle powder (omit if you don't want it spicy)
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:
- Bring a 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 to the pot, cover it and boil for 1-2 minutes. Remove the corn from the pot and let the cobs cool completely before cutting off the kernels.
- Next, place the kale leaves in a large bowl and drizzle them with your oil and lime juice. Rub the leaves together with your hands for at least 5 minutes or until the kale begins to soften and shrinks in size.
- Then add your corn kernels, red onion, cotija cheese and avocado to the bowl and toss with your desired amount of dressing.
- Top with crushed tortilla chips right before serving and enjoy!
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.
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!
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!
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! 🙂
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! 🙂