Cashew crema

Cashew crema and ancho chilli elotes

  • makes 8
  • Easy

This Mexican recipe is a deliciously indulgent vegan take on classic BBQ grilled sweetcorn, great as part of a colourful vegan BBQ feast


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

*This recipe is gluten-free according to industry standards

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.

This recipe comes from Richard Makin aka School Night Vegan. Check out his expert guide to cooking with vegan ingredients here, including his vegan mayonnaise recipe.




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


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


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


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

Discover our best vegan recipes here...

Listen to our interview with Richard Makin here...


Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 324
  • Fat 20.9g
  • Saturates 3.5g
  • Carbs 17.6g
  • Sugars 5g
  • Fibre 9g
  • Protein 11.9g
  • Salt 1.5g