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How to Make Vegan Elote aka Mexican Street Corn

Vegan elote is a greasy, tangy, and tasty Mexican street food that can easily be made at home. This flavorful corn treat is delicious as a side for taco night or as a snack between meals.

Vegan elote reminds me of our State fair, with all of the enticing offerings that are anything but healthy. I always head for the Mexican street corn stand and figure it’s a much better choice than deep-fried Oreos or Twinkies!

Now that I’m vegan and have no plans on giving up elote, I have to make a plant-based version that rivals the original. So, here’s my interpretation of vegan elote – I hope you like it.

Vegan elote aka Mexican Street corn covered with vegan mayo, chilis, vegan butter, and fresh herbs
Vegan elote aka Mexican street corn

Traditional elote is corn on the cob that is coated with a base of mayonnaise and sour cream. The toppings are usually chili powder, Cotija cheese, cilantro, a squeeze of fresh lime, and a pinch of salt.

It’s messy to eat, but trust me when I say it is worth every tasty bite.

This vegan elote recipe is for two people and can easily be multiplied to serve more. But be aware that it is not one of those dishes that taste better the next day. So if you can, eat it in one sitting.

For this recipe, we will use my favorite vegan versions of mayo, sour cream, and butter. Some vegans use pine nut cotija cheese to make their elote, but it can be expensive and is not always easy to find.

So instead of the cheese, I am sharing a zesty tofu mix that makes this Mexican street corn taste absolutely amazing!

How to make vegan elote

If it’s corn season, then definitely use fresh corn on the cob. But if it’s not, there’s no shame in using frozen corn on the cob if you can find it.

For fresh corn, shuck and clean the corn silk from each cob. Drop each cob into a large pan of salted boiling water and cook for 5 minutes.

If using frozen corn, then follow the directions on the package.

For grilled corn, use a barbecue or a grill pan on the stove. Grilling adds a wonderful smoky flavor to the elote, and the char marks add additional texture.

Vegan Elote on a white dish topped with tofu chili mix and cilantro

In about 5 minutes, remove the corn from the heat and blot each cob with a paper towel to dry.

To avoid burning your hands, wrap a towel around the hot corn before inserting a skewer into the base.

Set aside and allow the corn to cool for a few minutes before covering with mayonnaise and sour cream. Then add your toppings and enjoy!

How to Make Vegan Elote aka Mexican Street Corn

Here's a delicious vegan version of elote, the popular Mexican street corn. Instead of cheese, there's a tangy tofu mix that rivals the real thing!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Mexican, Plant-based, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 2 corn cobs
  • 1 tablespoon vegan margarine
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled firm tofu
  • 1 teaspoon lime or lemon zest
  • 1/2 lime or lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutritional yeast optional
  • 1 tablespoon vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon vegan sour cream
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Instructions

  • Clean the corn and place in a pan of boiling water for 4-5 minutes, then remove the cooked cobs and allow to cool.
  • In a small frying pan,, melt the vegan margarine over medium heat and add the crumbled tofu, salt, and cayenne chili powder.
    tofu mix for vegan elote
  • Add the lime or lemon zest to the tofu mix and stir.
  • Squeeze the half lemon or lime into the pan.
  • Add nutritional yeast to the mix and stir.
  • Allow to cook for approximately 1-2 minutes, then remove from the heat.
  • Once the corn cobs are cool to the touch, spread vegan mayo over each cob with a knife.
  • Spread vegan sour cream on top of the mayo.
  • Sprinkle with salt, cayenne chili powder, and a squeeze of lemon or lime.
  • Pour the tofu mix on top of the corn cobs, then top with chopped cilantro.
    Vegan elote with half size corn cobs

Notes

The corn cobs can be broken in half if you want to eat the elote with your hands. Or you can add wooden skewers at one end of the corn cob, or use corn holders on both ends.
However you choose to eat elote, it’s probably going to get a little messy, but the delicious taste is worth the mess!  

Additional tips

You can always break the corn cobs in two for smaller elote that is easy to eat with your hands. But if you want the whole corn cob elote, then use a 5mm bamboo skewer vs. a thinner one. This way, the skewer won’t break because of the weight of the cobs.

Vegan elote with half size corn cobs

You can also use the traditional two-prong corn holders and insert them on each end of the corn.

How to serve vegan Mexican street corn

There are so many ways to enjoy vegan Mexican street corn. It makes a wonderful side dish for taco night, and is a fun addition to any summertime picnic or barbecue. Serve it with some vegan nachos and my quick and easy summer salad recipe.

And why not try a cold beer or a colorful and refreshing Smurfarita to round off the meal?

blue cocktails called smurfaritas with slices of lime and mint go perfect with vegan elote

Let me know how you liked my version of vegan elote in the comments!

And please — Pin it for later!

photo of corn cob with chili, cilantro and other spices for vegan elote Mexican Street corn recipe

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