It seems like a few years ago, elote burst onto the popular food scene. Suddenly cobs of corn slathered with mayo and cheese were on restaurant menus, and elote was deconstructed into deli salads at the grocery store. But elote is hardly new. In fact, the translation is simply, “ear of corn”. But street snack vendors in Mexico dressed it up and Americans finally took notice. So as a nod to the upcoming Cinco de Mayo holiday, may I present: Lightened Up Elote Corn Dip.
First things first: I hate mayonnaise. I can sniff it out in almost anything, so potato salad, tuna and chicken salads, and even deviled eggs go uneaten as a result. Mayonnaise in chocolate cake does, however, pass my sniff test. 🙂
So as a result of hating mayo, I’ve never had what is known as elote—grilled corn on the cob topped with crema (usually mayo + sour cream), cotija cheese, lime zest, and chile powder. But I can tell you that this Lightened Up Elote Corn Dip is a delicious spin on elote—and it’s a much healthier one to boot!
I dreamed up this recipe because I wanted to sample the flavors of elote without the mayo. I also want to stick with what I’ll call a “meal plan”, but most people would call a “diet”. I just started the 80 Day Obsession program, which involves workouts and a timed meal plan. You eat certain foods at certain times of the day, and my plan basically calls for no carbs after noon. For a carb lover like me, this has been challenging! But I’m determined to stick it out, and learn some healthier eating habits along the way.
Back to the Lightened Up Elote Corn Dip! It starts with a layer of hummus. I used regular, but garlic roasted would be good, too! Then comes a swap for the Mexican crema: Greek yogurt, lime zest, and lime juice, mixed with chopped cilantro. It’s thick, creamy, and reminiscent of something a lot less healthy (ahem, mayo).
Next come the toppings! I layered them all on top of the hummus and yogurt, similar to how you’d create a layered taco dip. I found frozen fire roasted corn in the freezer aisle of my local grocery store (Mariano’s in Chicago if you’re curious—it’s Roundy’s brand). I defrosted it and added it to the dip. It adds a nice sweetness. You’ll for sure want a bite of corn in each bite!
Next I added chopped red onion, finely diced jalapeño, chopped cilantro, and cotijia cheese. I took the seeds and the membranes out of the jalapeño to make it less spicy, but keep them in if you like the heat. The cotjia cheese and Greek yogurt have a nice cooling effect on any heat still in the peppers.
I topped it all off with a sprinkle of chili powder to complete the Lightened Up Elote Corn Dip. If you’re scooping it up with tortilla chips, keep it as is and DIG IN! If you’re using mini bell peppers for dipping, give the whole thing a sprinkle of kosher salt before you serve it.
So is it as good as elote? In my uninformed opinion, it’s even better. No pesky corn kernels to get stuck in your teeth. It’s perfectly acceptable to eat with tortilla chips. And best of all, no mayo. 🙂
I served the Lightened Up Elote Corn Dip with an Easy Red Pozole and a refreshing Hibiscus Iced Tea for a Cinco de Mayo get-together with my friend Kelley of Haviland Events. She did the adorable table setting, right down to the potted succulents (from Home Depot!) with crepe paper decorations. How cute are they?
Lightened Up Elote Corn Dip
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 6–8 servings 1x
- Category: Appetizer
- Cuisine: Mexican
- 1 (6 oz) container 2% Greek yogurt
- Zest of 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 (10 oz) container plain hummus
- 1 cup frozen fire roasted corn, defrosted
- ½ cup finely chopped red onion
- 1 large jalapeño, finely diced, seeds and membranes removed if desired
- ¼ cup cilantro, divided
- ⅓ cup cotija cheese
- Chili powder
- To serve: tortilla chips, mini bell peppers
- In a small bowl, combine the Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro. Mix to combine.
- Spread the hummus evenly over a medium sized platter. Carefully spread the Greek yogurt mixture on top.
- Layer the corn, red onion, and jalapeño evenly over the top. Sprinkle the cotija cheese and remaining ¼ cup cilantro over the top. Sprinkle with chili powder to taste.
- Serve with tortilla chips and mini bell peppers for scooping up the dip.