This Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad is PACKED with sweet corn and tossed in a creamy chili lime dressing. With plenty of queso fresco, bacon, jalapeño, and green onions, this flavor-packed recipe is perfect for a potluck! Can be made with frozen, fresh, or canned corn. Plus, no grilling required! For extra smoky and charred flavor without grilling, the corn is sautéed in bacon fat.
4cupscorn frozen and thawed, fresh removed from cob, or canned and drained
1jalapeño pepperseeded and diced finely
4green onionsgreen parts only, thinly sliced
4oz.queso fresco crumbled, or cotija cheese, plus more for garnish
1/4cupfresh cilantrochopped, plus more for garnish
Mix all ingredients for dressing in a large bowl. Set aside.
Cook pasta according to directions in heavily salted water. Drain and rinse with cold water until completely cool. Shake off as much excess water as possible.
Meanwhile, cook the four slices of bacon in a heavy skillet, such as cast iron, until crispy. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and allow to cool. Crumble when cool. Drain all but one tablespoon of bacon grease from the skillet (enough to coat the bottom).
Heat the skillet with the remaining bacon grease and add the 4 cups of corn kernels. Cook over medium-high heat until starting to brown- don't stir too often. You should get nice dark color on some pieces.
Add the cooked and cooled pasta, crumbled bacon, corn, jalapeño pepper, green onions, queso fresco, and cilantro to the large bowl with the dressing. Stir to combine.
Serve garnished with extra cheese, cilantro, and a little bit more chili powder, if desired.
Make Ahead: You can make this up to two days in advance and refrigerate until you are ready to serve. Reserve half the dressing to toss with just before serving. Can be served cold.
As an alternative to sautéing the corn in the bacon fat, you can grill corn on the cob, which is more traditional. This is great if you're already firing up the grill for other things! Just remove the kernels from the cobs after grilling (about 5 of them) and add to the pasta salad as instructed.
The provided nutrition information does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. Feel free to calculate it yourself using this calculator or by adding the recipe to Yummly.