This vegan Elote also known as Mexican Street Corn is so flavorful! You are going to love this grilled corn topped with vegan parmesan and vegan sour cream. It's easy to make and perfect for grilling season or serving up on Cinco de Mayo and is ready in less than 30 minutes!
Get your taste buds in party mode as we journey through the flavor-packed wonderland of vegan elote! Brace yourself for a mind-blowing experience that will teleport you straight to the vibrant streets of Mexico (well, in spirit, at least).
At the heart of this delicious dish lies the humble yet mighty corn, an essential ingredient deeply ingrained in Mexican cuisine. Known as a sacred crop to the indigenous peoples of Mexico, corn holds cultural significance and symbolizes sustenance and tradition. Its versatility shines through in a myriad of Mexican dishes, such as this roasted chili corn salsa.
By harnessing the innate natural sweetness of corn kernels, not only does it elevate any dish, but we also benefit from its rich dietary fiber content. Get ready to embark on a culinary adventure that showcases the true magic of corn in the irresistible realm of vegan elote!
Why this recipe works
If you've never had elote, you're in for a treat!
Elote is a popular dish in Mexico that you can find on most street corners and it's pretty much a staple at every festival.
It's grilled corn smothered in either mayonnaise or sour cream, sprinkled with parmesan or cotija cheese and chili powder and served with limes and cilantro.
It's so creamy and delicious, but not very vegan friendly. I decided it was time I finally veganize this classic with some simple swaps.
This vegan version is full of all the creamy, smoky, sweet, spicy and citrusy flavors, but completely dairy-free!
The vegan parmesan and vegan sour cream have very similar base ingredients, making this recipe simple and a no-brainer and will have you reaching for seconds!
You only need a few simple ingredients for this vegan elote recipe. Exact measurements can be found in the printable recipe card below.
Raw cashews—I've also used roasted cashews when I can't find any raw. Since roasted ones typically come with salt I just reduce or omit the salt in the recipe to compensate.
Non-dairy yogurt—I used unsweetened soy yogurt but any unsweetened non-dairy yogurt will work.
Nutritional yeast—gives the parmesan a cheesy flavor. I find it in the baking aisle of my local grocery store but you can also find it online.
Ears of corn—I used sweet corn that came with the husks removed to save time. You could even use canned corn and make it Esquites-style which is essentially Elote with the corn removed from the cob to make a Mexican corn salad.
How to make
This step-by-step tutorial shows the process of making this vegan elote recipe. For exact times and temperatures, reference the recipe card at the bottom.
1. Start by making the vegan parmesan. Add all of the ingredients to a small food processor and pulse to combine until it resembles grated parmesan.
2. Next, make the vegan sour cream. Soak the cashews in hot water for at least 15 minutes to soften, then drain and add to a blender along with the rest of ingredients. Blend until smooth. Thin with a little water for drizzling if desired.
3. For the corn, remove the husks and place on a preheated medium-high grill, or grill pan, and cook on all sides until the corn is cooked and has grill marks, about 3-4 minutes per side.
4. Assemble the vegan Elote. Drizzle the corn with the vegan sour cream and sprinkle with vegan parmesan. Top with cilantro, smoked paprika and chili powder if desired and serve with slices of lime.
If you don't have a grill or grill pan, you can also cook in a skillet. I've also air fried ears of corn and cooked it in the oven. Cook the corn any way you prefer!
Store leftover vegan elote in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a few days.
I recommend not dressing the corn until just before serving and storing the extra vegan parmesan and sour cream separately.
What to serve with
Vegan Elote is a great appetizer or side dish! Enjoy it served with these Crispy Tofu Tacos, Black Bean Enfrijoladas or Vegan Ceviche.
More vegan Mexican recipes
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Vegan Elote (Mexican Street Corn)
- 6 ears corn
- 1 lime, sliced
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
- ½ teaspoon chili powder, optional
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, optional
- ½ cup raw cashews
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
Vegan Sour Cream:
- ¾ cup raw cashews, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes
- ⅓ cup non-dairy yogurt, unsweetened
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice, or lime juice
- 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Remove the husks from the corn and place on medium-high grill, or grill pan, and cook on all sides until the corn is cooked and has grill marks, about 3-4 minutes per side.6 ears corn
- Parmesan: Add the vegan parmesan ingredients to a small food processor or blender and pulse until it resembles grated parmesan.½ cup raw cashews, 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon salt
- Sour cream: Drain the cashews and add them along with the rest of the ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until smooth.¾ cup raw cashews, ⅓ cup non-dairy yogurt, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt
- Assemble: Drizzle the corn with the vegan sour cream and sprinkle with vegan parmesan. Top with cilantro, smoked paprika and chili powder if desired and serve with lime wedges.1 lime, ¼ cup cilantro, ½ teaspoon chili powder, ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
I've been craving this vegan elote ever since I made it over the summer so I made it with canned corn and turned it into a salad. It's so good both ways!
Love that idea! So glad you like it, Ellen!