Serve these elotes for a BBQ side, then also check out our recipe for esquites (Mexican street corn salad).

Made popular by street food vendors across the US, the traditional version of elotes is basted with soured cream or 'crema' before being sprinkled with crumbly cotija cheese, chilli powder and a good squeeze of lime juice. This variation relies on cashews to replicate both the crema and the cotija, and the results are remarkably creamy and satisfying.



  • 160g cashews, (soaked in boiling water for 1 hour)
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 4 tbsp oat milk


  • 1 dried ancho chilli, stalk and seeds discarded (or 2 tbsp ancho chilli powder – see notes below)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika


  • 80g cashews
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp flaky sea salt
  • 2 tsp  nutritional yeast flakes, see notes below


  • 8 corn cobs
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • a small bunch coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 lime, quartered


  • STEP 1

    To make the cashew crema, put all of the ingredients into a food processor with 4 tbsp of water and blitz until completely smooth.

  • STEP 2

    For the chilli powder, blitz the ancho chilli and paprika in a blender or food processor until you have a fine powder. (If you’re using ancho chilli powder you can just mix together the two spices in a bowl.)

  • STEP 3

    To make the cotija, blitz the cashews in a food processor to a coarse meal (don’t over- blitz or you’ll get cashew butter). Transfer to a bowl and add the remaining ingredients, working through with your fingers until the mixture resembles a fine crumble topping.

  • STEP 4

    To make the elotes, brush the corn cobs with the rapeseed oil. Heat a BBQ or grill to high and grill for 8 minutes, rotating regularly to ensure the kernels cook evenly all around but don’t burn. While hot, roll the cobs in the cashew crema, sprinkle over the cotija and chilli powder, top with the coriander and a good squeeze of lime juice.

Ancho chillies are dried poblano chilli peppers. Chipotle chillies are smoke-dried jalapeño chillies. Both are available from Waitrose and online.

Nutritional yeast flakes are deactivated yeast left over from beer-making that have a cheese-like flavour, often used to add umami to vegan and vegetarian recipes. It is available from and health-food shops.

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