(Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad recipe is inspired by the site Chelsea’s Messy Apron, so check that out here.)
Step by Step Instructions:
Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad has a few components, and here’s what you’ll need for the salad part: 1 box of your favorite Pasta (I went with Ancient Harvest Shells), 1 can of Black Beans (you’ll need 1/2 cup), 2 cans of Corn, 1 pound of Large Shrimp (raw, peeled, and deveined), Bacon (5-6 slices), 3 Green Onions, 1 Jalapeño, 1 Avocado, and Cilantro. Then I added Grape Tomatoes, Salt & Pepper, Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, and Sriracha, which aren’t pictured.
For the sauce that goes on the Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad, you can make it in advance and here’s what you’ll need: Salt, 1 1/2 cups of raw Cashews, Coconut Water, 1 Lime, 1 Garlic Clove, Ground Cumin, Smoked Paprika, Sriracha, Cayenne Pepper, Pepper, and Jalapeño Tabasco sauce (not pictured). I used my Mexican Lime Crema recipe as inspiration.
To make the sauce in advance, first zest the lime, because you’ll need that before you juice it.
Then in a blender add 1 cup of coconut water, 1 1/2 cups of raw cashews, 1 garlic clove you’ve removed the skin on, and 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice. Blend on high until the sauce is thick and creamy, so that the cashews are completely blended.
It’s so awesome to see how those simple ingredients form this thick sauce, so be sure to taste it to make sure the cashews are fully blended.
Transfer the sauce to a bowl and then add 1 tablespoon of lime zest, 1 tablespoon of Sriracha, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper to taste.
Then combine the mixture, and add at least a tablespoon of jalapeño Tabasco to cut the sweetness of the cashews plus more Sriracha and cayenne if needed. Taste and then continue adjusting spices until it’s at your preferred level of spiciness.
We like it spicy in my house, so here’s the finished sauce with plenty of Sriracha and cayenne and Tabasco sauce.
The bacon is another great component of the Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad to cook ahead, and just use your preferred cooking method. My favorite way to cook bacon is on the NuWave oven (8 minutes on one side then 3-4 minutes on the other side). Then just transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and let it cool completely. Chop into bite-sized pieces and set to the side until you need it.
There are several parts of the Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad that can be made in advance, which is great for saving time. So I roasted the corn first, so just drain and rinse the 2 cans of corn.
Then while the corn drains, wipe the inside of the pan with some oil and heat over medium-high heat.
Once the pan is hot, then add the corn and spread it in a single layer. Then cook it for 5 minutes stirring once halfway through.
Here’s the corn after 5 minutes being stirred once, so you’ll see the corn has great color on it making it super flavorful.
You can prep the veggies in advance as well like the green onions, so just wash them and slice them up and set them to the side.
Another veggie I prepped ahead of time was the jalapeño, and you just want 1 tablespoon finely diced. So I found that it was about 1/2 of the jalapeño.
Once you’re ready to put the Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad together, cook the pasta and shrimp. One thing I forgot to do was photograph the pasta, so at this point, go ahead and bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook your pasta according to the package instructions. Then drain and rinse the pasta with cold water. Now onto the shrimp, so add about 1 teaspoon of salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (respectively) to the shrimp that you’ve patted dry with a paper towel. Then stir until the shrimp is well mixed.
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and then add about a tablespoon of grapeseed oil (or favorite cooking oil) to the pan. Once it’s hot, then add the shrimp and let them cook on one side for about 2 minutes then flip and cook another 2 minutes. The shrimp should be pink and cooked through, so that’s your end goal when cooking it. Note that you may need to do them in batches, because the pan might not hold all of the shrimp.
While the shrimp cooks, drain the can of black beans and then rinse with cold water.
Finally chop up an avocado into bite-sized pieces, and now it’s time to put the Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad together. Grab a large bowl and then add the corn, pasta, 1/2 cup of black beans, shrimp, bacon, avocado, green onions, and jalapeños to the bowl.
Then add about 1/2 cup of the spicy sauce to start along with chopped cilantro (about a cup).
Then stir with a wooden spoon gently until all of the ingredients are coated with sauce. Be sure to taste it, because you can add more sauce if desired. Serve it right away, and then add fresh grape tomatoes and a drizzle of Sriracha over the top, because it’s the right thing to do, and then happy healthy eating!
Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
Yield 6 servings
When you want a dish filled with flavor, and it's also gluten and dairy free (not that you'd notice), this is the perfect meal!
- Box of Gluten Free Pasta (I used the Ancient Harvest shells)
- 1/2 cup Black Beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cans of Whole Kernel Corn, drained and rinsed
- 1 pound Large, Raw Shrimp (thawed)
- Fresh Cilantro, about half a bunch or a cup
- 1 Avocado
- 1 Jalapeno
- 3 Green Onions
- 5-6 slices of Bacon
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- Salt & Pepper
- Fresh Grape Tomatoes, sliced lengthwise (optional for serving)
- Sriracha (optional for serving)
Spicy Mexican Sauce Ingredients:
- 1 1/2 cups Raw, Unsalted Cashews
- 1 cup Coconut Water
- Juice of half a lime
- 1 T. Lime Zest
- 1 Garlic Clove
- 1/2 t. Cumin
- 1 1/2 t. Smoked Paprika
- 1 t. Cayenne Pepper
- 1-2 T. Sriracha
- 1 T. Jalapeno Tabasco
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Sauce: You can make the sauce in advance. Simply blend together the coconut water, cashews, lime juice and garlic in a high speed blender until it’s creamy and thick. If you don’t have a really good blender, then soak the cashews in water for about 20 minutes and drain and then blend them so they are more tender. Then transfer the sauce to a mixing bowl and add the seasonings including cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, sriracha, jalapeño Tabasco sauce, and salt and pepper. Taste the sauce as you mix in the ingredients and add more heat if you’d like. Store in the fridge if you make it in advance.
- Bacon: Cook the bacon using your preferred method, cool and then chop into bite-sized pieces. You can cook the bacon ahead of time if you want to save time.
- Corn: You can also make the roasted corn in advance, so to make this easy for any time of year, I used canned corn. So if you use this method, simply drain and rinse the corn. Then heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat and add the corn cooking for 5 minutes stirring once halfway through to ensure the corn gets nicely roasted. You can also grill fresh corn if you’d prefer.
- Pasta: Cook your pasta according to package instructions, then drain and rinse with cold water. You’ll want the pasta fairly dry so that it will allow the sauce to coat it later.
- Shrimp: I use frozen shrimp, so I’ll thaw it using the package instructions (usually in a bowl of cold water). Then drain and pat the shrimp dry. Season with salt and pepper along with some red pepper flakes. Then heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat adding about a tablespoon of grapeseed oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot, cook the shrimp about 2 minutes per side or until it’s pink and cooked through. You may need to do this in batches if your pan isn’t very large. Then set the shrimp aside until you’re ready for it.
- Finally in a large bowl add the pasta, 1/2 cup of black beans, shrimp, bacon, green onions, jalapeño, avocado, cilantro, and about 1/2 cup of the spicy Mexican sauce. Stir until all of the food is coated, and then add more sauce as desired. Serve right away and top with fresh sliced grape tomatoes and a drizzle of Sriracha for more heat. Enjoy!
Quick Tip #1: Definitely look at making the sauce, bacon, and corn in advance to save you time (and dishes).
Quick Tip #2: I wouldn't skip the tomatoes at the end as they add a nice freshness to the dish. Yum!
Serving Size 1/6 of dish
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value
Total Fat 15 g
Saturated Fat 3 g
Unsaturated Fat 10 g
Cholesterol 101 mg
Sodium 689 mg
Total Carbohydrates 53 g
Dietary Fiber 8 g
Sugars 6 g
Protein 23 g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.