Are you looking for a vegetarian meal that is simple, healthy, and above all – flavorful? Then you should check out this recipe for Mexican street corn bowls. These tasty vegetarian grain bowls are packed with creamy esquites, quinoa, kidney beans, and homemade guacamole. They feature a wide variety of healthy ingredients including onions, tomatoes, garlic, corn, quinoa, lime, avocado, and kidney beans. They are also gluten free and nut free.
What is in this Mexican street corn bowl?
- Esquites. The esquites are the star of the show in this Mexican street corn bowl. Fresh corn kernels are cooked with onion and jalapeño until they are charred then smothered with creamy mayo, salty cotija cheese, smoky paprika, and zesty lime.
- Quinoa. Quinoa is added to this Mexican street corn bowl to give it more body. We opted for quinoa rather than rice because quinoa has more protein and fiber. We use tri-colored quinoa, but regular quinoa also works just fine.
- Kidney beans. The kidney beans add even more protein to the Mexican street corn bowl. We chose to use kidney beans because of how wonderfully they go with quinoa. If you do not have kidney beans then pinto beans are also a great addition.
- Guacamole. These tasty Mexican street corn bowls are topped with zesty homemade guacamole. The guacamole is made with avocados, lime, tomatoes, and red onion.
- Tomatoes. Some tomatoes are diced and added to this Mexican street corn bowl to finish it off. The freshness of the tomatoes provides a great contrast to the creaminess of the esquites.
How to make esquites
The esquites are really the star of the show in these Mexican street corn bowls. So how do you make esquites? Here are all the steps you need to follow to make this tasty corn salad.
- Cook the corn and remove it from the cob (optional). The first step for making esquites is to cook the corn and chop it off of the cob. You should boil the corn in a pot filled with salty water for 5 – 7 minutes until it is fork tender. This step is only applicable if you are using fresh corn that has not been precooked and removed from the cob.
- Chop the veggies. The next step is to dice the red onion, jalapeños, and garlic into small pieces. Slice the green onions into thin slices. We recommend using a high quality chef’s knife (this is the one we use) so that you are able to chop your veggies in very fine pieces without grinding them into mush.
- Cook the veggies. The next step is to cook the veggies until they get a nice char on them. You should cook the red onions and jalapeños for a few minutes over medium heat then raise the heat to medium high. We recommend using a cast iron skillet that maintains heat well so that you can get a nice char on the veggies.
- Mix all of the ingredients. The last step is to mix all of the ingredients for the esquites together.
Additions for Mexican street corn salad
Are you looking for other tasty toppings that you could put on these Mexican street corn bowls? Here are some of our favorite additions for these Mexican street corn bowls.
- Homemade salsa. Homemade salsa or pico de gallo is a great addition to any Mexican-inspired grain bowl. This Mexican street corn bowl is no exception. All you need to make homemade salsa is some extra tomatoes, red onions, lime juice, garlic, and jalapeños.
- Grilled veggies. Grilled veggies are another great addition! Our favorite grilled veggies to add to these Mexican street corn bowls are onions and poblano peppers.
- Crispy tofu. Crispy tofu is a great addition to any vegetarian grain bowl. The chipotle tofu we use in this recipe for tofu burrito bowls would be a particularly welcome addition.
- Chopped lettuce. Are you looking for an easy way to add an extra serving of veggies to your Mexican street corn bowl? Shredded lettuce is always a great option!
- Cilantro. Chopped cilantro is another great addition that can add a whole lot of flavor without requiring too much work. Just make sure you don’t have the gene that makes cilantro taste like soap!
How to store Mexican street corn bowls
How do you store these Mexican street corn bowls? These Mexican street corn bowls should be stored in the refrigerator and eaten within 3 days. For best results, we recommend storing the components of the bowl that do need to be reheated such as the quinoa, esquites, and beans separately from the rest of the components. The tomatoes and guacamole do not reheat well and will become mushy if heated.
How to reheat Mexican street corn bowls
How do you reheat these Mexican street corn bowls? We recommend reheating these Mexican street corn bowls in the microwave on full power for 45 – 75 seconds. For best results, we recommend reheating only the esquites, quinoa, and beans. The tomatoes and guacamole do not need to be reheated and should be added after the rest of the ingredients have been reheated.
Mexican street corn bowl
- 1 cup dried quinoa
- 15 oz kidney beans (one standard sized can)
- 2 large tomatoes
- 2 small avocados
- 1 tbsp chopped red onion
- 1/2 large tomato
- 1 tsp lime juice
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 pinch salt
Esquites (Mexican corn salad)
- 2 cups corn kernels
- 1/2 red onion
- 1 jalapeño
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 stalks green onion
- 2 tbsp mayo
- 2 tbsp sour cream
- 2 tbsp cotija cheese
- 2 tsp lime
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- Cook the dried quinoa according to the instructions on the package.
- Chop the red onion and tomato for the guacamole and mash the avocados. Combine all of the ingredients for the easy guacamole then cover the guacamole and put it in the refrigerator until you need it.
Esquites (Mexican corn salad)
- Dice the red onion, jalapeño, and garlic for the esquites. Slice the green onion into thin slices.
- Heat a pan over medium heat and add the vegetable oil. Cook the onion and jalapeño for 5 minutes then add the corn kernels and turn the heat up to medium high. Cook the corn, onion, and jalapeño until they start to char. This should take an additional 5 - 10 minutes.
- Add the garlic just as you are about to take the pan off the heat.
- Add all of the other ingredients for the esquites and mix them together.
Assembling the Mexican street corn bowls
- Combine all of the ingredients over a bed of quinoa.
Substitutions for Mexican street corn bowls
- Kidney beans. If you do not have kidney beans then you can also use pinto beans in these Mexican street corn bowls.
- Red onions. Don’t have any red onions? You can use white onions in place of red onions if you cannot find any red onions.
- Sour cream. Don’t have any sour cream? You can omit the sour cream and add a little bit of extra mayo. We recommend using 1 – 2 tbsp of mayo to replace 2 tbsp of sour cream.
- Smoked paprika. Don’t have any smoked paprika? Try adding some regular paprika or chili powder instead. In general, we recommend using 1/4 – 1/2 tsp of regular paprika or chili powder to replace smoked paprika.
Other recipes you will love
Are you looking for new ways to use leftover esquites after making these Mexican street corn bowls? Check out our standalone recipe for esquites to hear about all of our favorite ways to eat esquites.
Are you looking for a Mexican-inspired vegetarian grain bowl that is packed with protein? Check out this recipe for tofu burrito bowls with crispy chipotle tofu, pinto beans, and homemade guacamole.
These quinoa burrito bowls are a great option for anyone who is looking for a simple but tasty vegetarian meal idea. These burrito bowls are made with quinoa, cheese, black beans, homemade salsa, and homemade guacamole.
Are you looking for another easy Mexican-inspired recipe? Check out this recipe for Mexican pizza! This Mexican pizza is made on a base of two tortillas are lightly toasted then stuck together using refried beans.