¡Esquites! Healthy Mexican Street Corn Salad

I could eat a different corn salad every night (corn is the perfect hearty addition to summertime salads!), but my obsession started with esquites, the queen of creamy roasted corn salads, and I really wanted to create a vegan version of this Mexican dish.

Unlike many corn salads, this is best eaten when the corn is still warm from roasting, so prep all of the veggies and the dressing first, so all that’s required is the toasted hot corn for a mouthwatering Mexican treat.

Roasted Corn Salad with Avocado

Seves 4

Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients for the Creamy Lime Dressing

  • 1/2 cup un-roasted cashews
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tsp. olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 2 tsp. white (shiro) miso

Ingredients for the Corn Salad

  • 4 ears of corn, husks and corn silk removed
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed, chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 scallions, green part only, thinly sliced
  • 1 green or red jalapeño pepper, roasted or fresh, seeded and minced
  • 1 ripe avocado, diced
  • 1 big red ripe tomato, cored
  • and diced
  • 2 tsp. chili powder (preferably Mexican, such as ancho or chipotle)
  • Lime wedges, for garnish

Make the dressing first! Soak the cashews in the hot water for 30 minutes, then pulse the cashews and soaking water in a blender until smooth. Add the remaining dressing ingredients and pulse until silky, then chill until ready to use.

Preheat a cast-iron grill pan over medium-high heat. Rub the ears of corn with some olive or coconut oil and grill each ear until the kernels are lightly charred, turning the cobs occasionally, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer from the pan to a cutting board and cool just enough to handle. Use a sharp knife with a thin blade to slice the corn kernels from the cob. For best results (and to prevent kernels from taking flight), slice a few rows off an ear, lay it flat on the cutting board, then slice off the remaining corn. Always keep one side of the ear flat on the cutting board.

Transfer the corn to a big mixing bowl. Add the cilantro, scallions, and jalapeño. Drizzle on the dressing and toss to combine. Transfer the salad to serving dishes. Top each serving with diced avocado and tomato and sprinkle each serving with chili powder. Serve immediately with lime wedges for squeezing over the salad while the corn is still warm!

Reprinted from Salad Samurai: 100 Cutting-Edge, Ultra-Hearty, Easy-to-Make Salads You Don’t Have to Be Vegan to Love by Terry Hope Romero. Courtesy of Da Capo Lifelong Books.

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