Mexican Corn Elote Grain Bowl

Grain bowls are usually my go-to weeknight dinner meals, everything can be prepped ahead of time and then tossed together just before serving. Based off of one of my favorite sides – the classic Mexican street food, corn elote - this grain bowl includes quinoa, chicken thighs, arugula, cabbage, corn, queso fresco and roasted red pepper, all tossed with a cilantro-chili dressing. Typically, elote is served still on the cob, grilled, brushed with mayonnaise, cayenne, queso fresco and lime – perfect for summer days. Instead, this version uses raw corn for an added crunch (and this way it’s one less step for you to do).

 

Ingredients:

For the dressing:

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

¼ teaspoon chili powder

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 

For the grain bowl:

1 pound chicken thighs

2 tablespoons, plus one teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 medium red pepper, seeded and halved, lengthwise

2 cups cooked quinoa

8 ounces wild arugula

1 cup finely shredded red cabbage

2 medium ears of corn, kernels cut off the cob

½ cup chopped cilantro

2 medium avocados, peeled, pitted and diced

½ cup crumbled queso fresco

2 tablespoons raw sunflower kernels

1 medium lime, cut into wedges

 

Instructions:

For the dressing:

In a medium-mixing bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients and set aside.

 

For the grain bowl:

Preheat the oven to 400º. Rub the chicken thighs with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with kosher salt and pepper then arrange in a single layer on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until cooked through, about 25 minutes. Remove and chop the chicken into 1” cubes then set aside.

Heat the oven to broil. Rub the red pepper with the remaining olive oil then lay skin side up on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Broil until the skin is browned and bubbling, about 5 minutes. Flip the red pepper over and continue to broil until lightly browned in patches, about an additional 3 minutes. Remove and dice the red pepper then set aside.

In a large mixing bowl toss the quinoa, arugula, cabbage, chicken, red pepper, cilantro, corn and avocado and toss to combine. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Divide the salad among bowls and top with the queso fresco and sunflower seeds. Serve with lime wedges on the side.

 

Serves 4.

 
 

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