Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad

This is one of the best side dishes I have made in a long time. Well, this, and the roasted potato "salad" that's going to be coming your way next. This is the summer of great sides! 

I made this wonderful salad for our July 4 weekend, and it won rave reviews. My pre-teen nephew gushed, "this tastes just like Chipotle!" If you have pre-teens, you know this is high praise. In fact, that whole dinner that night, which included grilled rubbed pork, garlic green beans, and fruit salad, left us with these empty dishes. 

That's a ringing endorsement!

Another endorsement came from our son, who ate several helpings on his birthday later in July, and who immediately asked for the recipe. So, that should be enough encouragement to get you to make this salad, already!

Corn, pasta, bacon, avocado, black beans, and a creamy, slightly kicky dressing - they all add up to more than the sum of its parts. It is SO good. Cook the bacon, then saute the corn in a dry skillet so that you get it partly "charred." (You could probably also saute it some bacon grease! ooh! up the ante!)

I've only used frozen corn, which is what I'm calling for in the recipe, because it's so convenient, but I bet the flavor factor would be even better if you used corn on the cob, and grilled it first... but even if you go the convenient route like I do, you will be overcome and overwhelmed by how good this is.

While the pasta cooks, chop up all your "greens" - green onion, cilantro, jalapeno.

When the pasta is done, drain it well and add it to a big bowl, then add the corn, bacon, black beans, and your greens.

Stir up the dressing ingredients and add about 3/4 of it to the salad.

Then add the chopped avocado and the rest of the dressing, and lightly stir it to combine.

Top with some queso fresca (Mexican cheese) or even feta, and be prepared to delight yourself and everyone who eats this!

Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad

2 cups farfalle, campanelle, or other medium sized pasta shape (dry)
3 cups frozen corn (or freshly cut off the cob)
1/3 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1-2 Tbsp. diced jalapeno pepper
6 sliced bacon, cooked and chopped
1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
1 avocado, chopped
1/2 cup queso fresco or feta

1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. sriracha or chili garlic sauce
salt and pepper

For the dressing, combine the mayo, lime juice, cumin, paprika, chili powder, and hot sauce in a small bowl or medium measuring cup. Stir well, then add salt and pepper to taste. Adjust hot sauce as well to your preference.

For the salad, cook the pasta in salted boiling water til al dente. Drain completely.

Meanwhile, saute the corn in a dry skillet over medium high heat. Put the corn in the skillet, then let it sit for a few minutes to develop a "char" before stirring. Cook for just a minute or so after the char develops. 

When the pasta is done, transfer it to a large bowl, then add the corn, green onions, cilantro, jalapeno, bacon, and black beans. Add about 3/4 of the dressing, then stir well to combine. Add the avocado and the rest of the dressing, then fold together til everything is evenly distributed. Top with the queso fresco or feta, and serve! Makes 6-8 side dish servings.

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