MEXICAN CORN PASTA SALAD

Did you know that corn is used in many food items such cereals, peanut butter, potato chips, soups, marshmallows, ice cream, baby food, cooking oil and salad dressings? It's an amazingly versatile vegetable if you ask us! In fact, there are over 3,500 uses for corn. 

Now, nothing sound more like summer than a delicious pasta salad that you can make ahead and bring with you to a cookout, the beach or even just right outside into your backyard. So when we found a recipe where corn was the star ingredient to the pasta salad, we knew we just had to share this seasonal dish with you all.

A few things to note about this salad to make sure that you get the best possible flavors out of it. First - let's talk about cheese. Since this dish is speaking from Mexican routes, the best cheese to get is Cotija. It's a little salty while completely melting in your mouth. You can normally find this at a larger grocery store near the specialty cheese section. If you can't find it or don't have time (which is completely understandable - we are all super buys bees!), you can use Queso Fresco or even Feta as a last resort. 

Next, and probably most important - THE CORN. You absolutely must roast the corn. There's many different ways to do this. If you have a grill and a little extra time, you can simply roast the corn straight on your grill. If you don't though, you can use a can of corn any simply roast it on the stovetop once drained. Lastly, and this is how we made it, you can lightly roast fresh ears of corn in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Once that is done, simply char the ears of corn in a skillet for about 10 minutes to get that roasted look and taste. And don't ever worry when shopping for corn because all of our ears of corn are non-GMO and organically grown. You can't beat that!

This Mexican Corn Pasta Salad is seriously one of the most mouth-watering dishes we've made so far. Give it a try and make sure to let us know what you think

Ingredients

2 cups miniature pasta (your choice!), uncooked

3 cups either 2 (15-ounce) cans, or 2-3 corns on the cob

1 large avocado

3 green onions

1 tbsp. finely chopped jalapeno

6-8 strips hardwood smoked bacon

1/2 cup Cotija cheese (or queso fresco or feta)

1/2 canned cup black beans, cooked and drained

Dressing - 

1/2 cup mayo, or vegan mayo

3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice and 1/4 teaspoon lime zest

1/8 tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. hot sauce

 

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Make sure the pasta is completely dry.
  2. Corn - if using corn on the cob: Heat the grill to medium. Pull back the husks to the base and take off all the silk from each ear of corn. Fold back the husks into place. Place the ears of corn in a large bowl of water with 1 tablespoon of salt for 10 minutes and then remove from water and shake to dry. Place the corn on the grill, cover the grill, and cook for 15-20 minutes turning the corn every 5 minutes. You'll know the corn is done when the kernels are tender and easily pierced with a fork.
    1. Alternative: use regular canned corn: heat a large cast iron skillet on medium high heat for 3-4 minutes or until very hot. Drain corn and place in a single layer and cook for about 5 minutes stirring once in between or until browned. Avoid stirring too often as this will keep the corn from getting a good roast.
  3. Prep all of your veggies: chop the avocado into small pieces, chop the green onions, coarsely chop the cilantro, very finely chop the jalapeno, and cook then crumble the bacon. Crumble the cheese. Add black beans if desired.
  4. In a large bowl combine the completely dry and cooled pasta, cooled corn, avocado, onions, cilantro, jalapeno, bacon, and cheese. **If you don't plan on eating this in one sitting and immediately after making, don't add the bacon, cheese, or avocado. Add those in separately right before enjoying.**
  5. Toss together. In a small bowl combine all of the dressing ingredients and whisk together until completely combined. Toss with the salad and enjoy!

Recipe via Chelsea's Messy Apron