Amazing Vegan Mexican Street Corn: tender corn, slathered with creamy vegan mayo, dairy-free parmesan, lime, spicy cayenne, and cilantro. The perfect treat to celebrate Cinco De Mayo, and the summer!

 

Are you looking for a healthy, plant-based recipe that is simple and satisfying? This Vegan Mexican Street Corn is just what you’re looking for. It’s quick and has familiar flavors, but it’s unique enough to be interesting. It can be served as an appetizer or a side dish and your guests will appreciate the light twist on a classic. 

This Vegan Mexican Street corn brings back memories of my trip to Mexico 2 years ago in May, and I can’t believe how time flies.

The street vendors were seen serving local corn grilled and smothered with mayo, Cotija cheese, lime, and sprinkled with chili.

We enjoyed many vegan tacos, burritos, and sweet and savory tamales. I must say, the food was so flavorful and fresh.

For delicious Mexican recipes try these readers’ favorites: Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos, Loaded Guacamole, Scrambled Tofu Breakfast Mexican-Style.

Mexican photo with Devon and Daevyd at the Mayan ruins

Amazing Vegan Mexican Street Corn: tender corn, slathered with creamy vegan mayo, dairy-free parmesan, lime, spicy cayenne, and cilantro. The perfect treat to celebrate Cinco De Mayo, and the summer!

 

Are you looking for a healthy, plant-based recipe that is simple and satisfying? This Vegan Mexican Street Corn is just what you’re looking for. It’s quick and has familiar flavors, but it’s unique enough to be interesting. It can be served as an appetizer or a side dish and your guests will appreciate the light twist on a classic. 

This Vegan Mexican Street corn brings back memories of my trip to Mexico 2 years ago in May, and I can’t believe how time flies.

The street vendors were seen serving local corn grilled and smothered with mayo, Cotija cheese, lime, and sprinkled with chili.

We enjoyed many vegan tacos, burritos, and sweet and savory tamales. I must say, the food was so flavorful and fresh.

For delicious Mexican recipes try these readers’ favorites: Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos, Loaded Guacamole, Scrambled Tofu Breakfast Mexican-Style.

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What is Mexican Corn?

This Mexican corn-on-the-cob recipe is also called ‘Elote’.

Elote (pronounced eh-loh-tay) is the Spanish word for both an ear of corn and a common method of cooking it. After grilling, the corn is topped with butter, Mexican crema, mayonnaise, lime, cotija cheese, and chile seasoning.

Elotes are a particular antojito (little craving) that are frequently offered by street vendors ( also called eloteros). Because they are served and consumed in Mexico, some people also call them “Mexican street corn.”

Eloteros typically serve the stuffed corn with a stout wooden skewer poked through the bottom. This prevents the toppings from falling off the corn and onto your hands.

If you’ve ever tasted elotes, you’ll agree that it’s one of the best methods for serving corn on the cob.

Epazote herb in garden used for boiling mexican street corn

History

The word “elote” emerges from the Nahuatl word “elotitutl,” which means “tender cob.” This crop has been a mainstay of the diet in Mesoamerica since before the Spaniards arrived.

Corn has been a staple in Mexican cuisine for hundreds of years, and despite its evolution over that time, it remains an essential ingredient. It can be found in tortillas, soups, antojitos like elotes, and beverages made from corn.

Even more so considering that mayonnaise wasn’t developed until 1756, modern elotes are a very recent dish. Mexico City, where eloteros are ostensibly ubiquitous, is where the subsequent popularity originated.

Elotes are now, of course, readily available in almost all Mexican states and even in several major American cities.

Vegan Mexican Corn On The Cob

I decided to create a vegan version of this popular Mexican treat in my kitchen, using homemade vegan mayonnaise, and homemade vegan Parmesan cheese as a substitute for traditional Mexican Cotija cheese.

Although grilling the corn would add another layer of flavor, I made it simple by boiling my corn. This turned out to be a huge hit.

Traditionally a pungent herb called epazote (Chenopodium Ambrosioides) is added to the boiling water for flavor, epazote is grown as a perennial in Central, South America, Jamaica, and here in Florida.

Epazote is also called Jesuit’s Tea, Semi Contra (Jamaica), Wormseed, Mexican-Tea, Skunk Weed, Goosefoot, Mastruz.

Growing up in Jamaica, epazote was used as a dewormer (anti-parasitic herb) and not as a culinary herb. It was years later when I was living in New Jersey that I noticed that it was growing wild during the summertime after smelling the unique scent of the leaves.

Upon research, I found that it was also great for adding to beans while cooking both for flavor and to reduce gas and bloating.

I also found it as an ingredient in the granola sold in the bulk bins at WholeFoods market and discovered it was great as a flavoring for both sweet and savory dishes, as well as having other numerous medicinal benefits. See Here.

Epazote is sold fresh or dried at Mexican supermarkets, dried in most major supermarkets, (found in the International aisle), or Online.

Vegan Mexican Corn On the Cob with mayo, vegan parmesan, lime cayenne and lime

What Cheese Goes With Mexican Corn?

The traditional recipe for Mexican corn on the cob calls for Cotija cheese, which is a salty crumbly cheese.

The vegan cheese recipe is a great substitute, but you can also try store-bought versions, like Violife Just Like Parmesan or Go Veggie Parmesan Cheese.

Mexican Corn Ingredients

  • Fresh Corn: This is the main ingredient of this Mexican corn recipe. Because I only had sweet corn on hand, I decided to use that for my elotes. You can use any variety you prefer.
  • Water: For boiling the corn.
  • Epazote (optional): It is added to the boiling water for flavor.
  • Salt: A pinch of salt brightens everything up. Salts such as Himalayan pink Himalayan salt, sea salt, and table salt can all be used. Use whatever you’ve got on hand.
  • Vegan mayonnaise: A vegan alternative to regular mayonnaise. The texture is similarly creamy. Egg yolk is the only ingredient that is missing. Vegan mayonnaise is available from a number of brands and is both convenient and tasty. So, pick the one you like most.
  • Vegan Parmesan Cheese: You can use store-bought or make your own by following this
  • Cayenne Pepper: It imparts a more neutral “peppery” flavor to the corn.
  • Lime: I love the fresh taste of lime you can use lemon instead.

How To Make Mexican Corn?

Grilled corn is often used to make Elotes, but I’m not a fan of grilling food, after all, I live in Florida and the summertime heat is unbearable; so I boiled my corn in the comfort of my cool air-conditioned kitchen.

  1. Remove the husk of the corn.
  2. Bring water to boil in a large pot on medium-high, and add salt and corn. Return to a boil, and reduce to simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat and remove corn cobs using a pair of tongs.
  4. Place corn cobs on parchment paper, and slather them with vegan mayo followed by vegan Parmesan.
  5. Squeeze lime on corn and sprinkle with cayenne pepper or chili and garnish with chopped cilantro.

What Do You Eat With Corn On The Cob?

This vegan Mexican street corn recipe offers a lot of options! You can eat it by itself as a tasty snack, but it’s also a great addition to a meal. Some serving options to think about are as follows:

steps for making mexican street corn
    • Replace the mayonnaise with 2 or 3 mashed avocados, to make the recipe healthy,
    • You can prepare the topping and corn ahead of time, then keep them separately until you’re ready to serve. Then, all you need to do is to top with the brush, and you’re ready to go!

      Storage & Reheating

      Store the toppings and the corn cobs separately. Also, keep the following things in mind:

      Fridge: Cooked corn will last 3–4 days in the fridge. If the corn has already been garnished, consume it within 1 to 2 days.

      Freezer: The cob of corn can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months. For long-term storage, blanch the cobs, let them cool, and then place them in a freezer bag or airtight container.

      Reheat: Warm the corn cobs by baking them at 350 degrees Fahrenheit on a pan lined with parchment paper. Esquites can also be made by cutting the corn off the cob and heating it with the toppings in a skillet or baking dish.

      Prep ahead: Prepare the toppings and the corn in advance. Let the corn cool, then cover everything and put it in the fridge. When you want to eat, briefly brown the corn over medium-high heat after lightly brushing it with oil or butter.

      Possible Variations Or Additions

      It is easy to adapt this recipe to fit your tastes.

      • You can substitute the vegan mayonnaise for vegan butter like the Earth Balance brand, or you can add vegan sour cream to your vegan mayonnaise.
      • Steam, grill, or griddle—If you don’t want to boil your corn, you can also cook your corn on the griddle, in a steamer, or by grilling it (the taste will differ with each method).
      • Serve it in a cup — Elote en vaso or “esquites” can be made by cutting the corn off the cob and serving it in a cup.
      • Make them loco — To make elotes locos, roll your elotes with smashed spicy chip pieces or other sauces.
      • Different corn— Make elotes with heirloom or sweet corn varieties such as Rubi Queen, Blue Hopi, or Stowells Evergreen.

      I would love to hear in the comments how you prepare yours.

      Recipe Tips

      Here are a few suggestions to remember even though this dish is rather simple.

    • Replace the mayonnaise with 2 or 3 mashed avocados, to make the recipe healthy,
    • You can prepare the topping and corn ahead of time, then keep them separately until you’re ready to serve. Then, all you need to do is to top with the brush, and you’re ready to go!
Mexican corn on a white platter, slathered with vegan mayo, vegan parmesan, cayenne pepper and lime juice

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Corn Called In Mexico?

There are five different words for corn in Spanish: mazorca, elote, jojoto, choclo, and marlo.

Are Elotes Gluten-Free?

Yes, elotes do not contain gluten.

What Is The Difference Between Elotes And Esquites?

Although they are very similar, elotes are eaten off the cob, while esquites are presented in cups and are eaten with a spoon.

Can I Use Frozen Corn For Elotes?

The best option is to use fresh corn if it is available. However, you can also use frozen corn in this recipe.

What Is The Red Powder In Elotes?

It is “Tajin chili powder” (A Mexican street corn seasoning) that you can get on Amazon and in some grocery stores. You’ll adore the chili lime flavor of this seasoning.

Does Cotija Cheese Have Dairy?

Cotija, a Mexican cheese prepared from cow’s milk, is named for a municipality in Michoacán. It comes in both young and aged forms.

Can Lactose Intolerant Eat Cotija Cheese?

While some aged cotija cheese doesn’t trouble people with lactose intolerance, fresh cotija cheese has greater lactose levels and may cause digestive problems.

What Is A Good Substitute For Cotija Cheese?

Feta works well as a replacement for fresh cotija cheese. Aged cotija cheese can be replaced with Parmesan or Romano.

Can I Fry My Corn In A Pan?

It is possible to pan-fry the corn. However, don’t let it stop you from using a grill; it’s excellent! Either a pan or griddle will do.

Why Do Mexicans Love Corn?

Corn is the foundation of Mexican identity, culture, and food, and Mexicans love to proclaim, “We are the people of the corn.” It may be said that corn and humans are codependent on one another.

 

Bottom Lines!

Like any recipe, this one is more of a guide. While my changes were minimal, you may wish to make more modifications. While the recipe didn’t turn out as quickly as I had planned, I was still pleased with the end result and found it very delicious. So stop by the market to pick up the ingredients, and whip up this recipe to add a little happiness to your life!

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Categories

Nutrition

(Per serving)
  • Energy: 231 kcal / 966 kJ
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Protein: 8 g
  • Carbs: 7 g

Cook Time

  • Preparation: 10 min
  • Cooking: 20 min
  • Ready in: 30 min
  • For: 4 Servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Remove the husks from the corn. Bring water to boil in a large pot on medium-high, add salt, epazote, and corn. Return to a boil, then reduce to simmer for about 15-20 minutes. 
  2. Turn off the heat and remove corn cobs, using a pair of tongs. Place corn cobs on parchment paper. Slather them with vegan mayo, followed by vegan parmesan. 
  3. Squeeze lime on corn, and sprinkle with cayenne pepper or chili, and garnish with chopped cilantro.
Recipe author's Gravatar image

Michelle Blackwood, RN

Hi, I’m Michelle, I’m the voice, content creator and photographer behind Healthier Steps. I share vegan and gluten-free recipes because of past health issues. My goal is to help you make healthier choices and show you how healthy eating is easy and delicious.