Since arriving in San Francisco in June, I've come across various renditions on one of my favorite Mexican food creations: Elote. A popular street food in Mexico, Elote is grilled corn on the cob slathered with chili powder, butter, lime juice, cotija (a salty crumbly cheese) and mayonnaise. Maybe it sounds strange, especially if you aren't familiar with Mexican food. But trust me, you'll want to try this! (Oh, and it doesn't have to be as heavy as it reads above -- see recipe below.)
Today's recipe deconstructs Elote and serves it as a one-bowl meal. A base of quinoa is topped with an Elote-style grilled corn salad, spiced tempeh crumbles, fresh tomato and avocado, cotija or feta, and a smoky lime dressing. If you cook quinoa and make the dressing ahead of time (they both store well in the fridge for days) this meal comes together fairly easily.
I've been pleasantly surprised to learn how many of my clients and friends are curious about tempeh and ways to cook it. The spiced, crumbled tempeh below is one of my favorites ways to prepare it. You simply crumble a block of tempeh with your fingers. Saute it over medium to medium-high heat until it starts to pick up some color. Then add onion and spices to flavor it up. Toss it in salads, quinoa bowls, wraps, chili, scrambled eggs, or Bolognese sauce. It's quite versatile and delicious.
It felt good re-testing and photographing this recipe because it was the first one I've done since our moving container arrived last week. After 2 1/2 months, we're finally resettled with a fully-functioning home. Thank you for your patience and understanding this summer as I've been in transition and for your continued support and enthusiasm following along.
Mexican Street Corn Bowls
Notes: If you cook quinoa and make the dressing ahead of time (they both store well in the fridge for days) this meal comes together fairly easily.
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- Grilled Corn Salad (recipe below)
- Spiced Tempeh Crumbles (recipe below)
- Smoky Lime Dressing (recipe below)
- 1 avocado, diced
- A few handfuls of cherry tomatoes, halved
- Cotija cheese or feta, crumbled
- Fresh cilantro for garnish
Grilled Corn Salad
- 4 ears of corn
- 3 Tbsp. best-quality mayonnaise (I like this brand)
- Juice from 1 lime
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- Handful cilantro & tender stems, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- 1/4 tsp. salt
Spiced Tempeh Crumbles
- 1-2 Tbsp. coconut oil (or ghee)
- 1 package (8 oz/230 gr.) tempeh
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 1 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- Heaped 1/4 tsp. salt
Smoky Lime Dressing
- Juice from 1 lime
- 3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. honey or maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- Make the corn salad: Using an outdoor grill or stovetop grill pan or cast-iron skillet over medium/medium-high heat, grill corn on the cob a few minutes on all sides, until slightly charred. (If using a stovetop skillet I like adding a bit of ghee to the pan.) In the meantime mix together remaining corn salad ingredients in a medium bowl. Cut corn off cob and transfer into bowl with mayo mixture. Stir until corn is well coated in sauce. Set aside.
- Make tempeh crumbles: Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil/ghee and crumble tempeh directly into pan. Saute for 3 minutes, until it begins to brown slightly. Add onions, spices and salt. Cook another 5 minutes until onions soften and begin to caramelize. (If pan looks dry add a few splashes of water scraping the bottom with a wooden spatula to remove brown bits and allowing water to cook off.) Remove from heat. Set aside.
- Make lime dressing: Add all ingredients to a glass jar. Screw on the lid and shake to combine.
- Assemble: Add some quinoa to the bottom of a bowl. Drizzle lightly with lime dressing. Top with corn salad, tempeh crumble, avocado, tomato and cotija cheese. Drizzle with more dressing. Enjoy immediately!