I’m always looking for ways to change up my standard vegan “Buddha Bowl” routine and have found that switching up the sauces can do wonders! There are very few days I’m not craving some type of Mexican style dish, but I had yet to make a vegan “crema” yet. I’ll be honest, I hate sour cream (most non-sweet creams for the matter). Restaurants like Sage Vegan Bistro and Gracias Madre have turned me on to the idea that I could actually like creams (when they’re vegan). Maybe my body secretly knew cream cheese and sour cream weren’t weren’t good for me and rejected them? I can’t explain a lifetime of loving whipped cream though…
So in an attempt to make a creamy vegan alternative, I came up with a cashew based cilantro lime vegan cream, kind of on accident while making cashew milk. I tweaked the recipe a bit to get a thicker consistency for you, but note that this will still be a runnier cream (good as a dressing, or a quick drizzle on vegan tacos). If you’re looking for a thicker cream, you can adjust the water and cashew ratio (less water, more cashew).
The first step to all of this is presoaking your cashews. I have to admit that despite my crazy organization, I almost never think ahead and soak my cashews overnight. I know, shame on me. I learned the secret to “flash” soaking them a while back and it has forever changed my life (and reintroduced the idea of using nuts in my last minute dinner plans). Flash soak your cashews by boiling a pot of water and covering the cashews with the hot water for 10 – 15 minutes. Drain and use!
After presoaking the cashews, the recipe is as easy as throwing in all of the ingredients into a high powered blender: presoaked cashews (drained), filtered water, cilantro, lime juice, zest of lime, garlic, jalapeños (deseeded based on spice preference), salt and pepper. I personally use a Vitamix to make all of my creams, as it’s powerful and very easy to use. If you’re trying to “ball on a budget”, we also have used and love the Ninja Master Prep Set as a great alternative. The Ninja has held up pretty well over the course of the past 2 years (and for only $50 for the full set!). Blend the ingredients for 1-1.5 minutes (or until completely emulsified) and store in the fridge (up to 3 days) until use. I use old glass kombucha bottles to store my dressings nowadays, but in the past we purchased these glass bottles off Amazon to use as well and loved them!
We use this cream on top of vegan Buddha bowls, vegan grain free tacos, on salads, and even to dip roasted veggies in. It’s a great way to add a little extra flavor to your foods! Feel free to play around with the ingredients for more or less flavor. Maybe even try adding in some cumin, chili powder, or more garlic for a different taste. I would love to hear your variations!
Vegan Cilantro Lime Crema
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 1 cup hot filtered water (for soaking almonds)
- 3/4 cup filtered water (room temp for dressing)
- Zest of 2 limes
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1 1/2 cup loosing packed cilantro
- 2 Jalapeños (deseeded for mild spiciness)
- 1 clove garlic
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Presoak the cashews by covering them with the 1 cup of hot filtered water for 10 minutes.
- Begin prepping the other ingredients by adding the following to your high powered blender: 3/4 cup filtered room temperature water, zest of limes, lime juice, cilantro, jalapeños, garlic, salt and pepper.
- After 10 minutes has passed, drain the cashews and add to the blender. Blend for 1 – 1.5 minutes, or until the mixture is entirely emulsified into a consistent, creamy dressing. Adjust salt and pepper as needed.
- Store in a container in the fridge for up to 3 days.