Fancy taking your tacos or other meals to the next level with a drizzle of zesty vegan lime crema? This dairy-free recipe uses soaked cashews to create a sauce that's rich, creamy, tangy, vibrant, and oil-free.
There's no need to save this just for tacos – it ends up on pretty much every meal whenever I make a batch. If you don't like coriander (a.k.a. cilantro), simply leave it out and you'll still have yourself a delicious plant-based twist on the popular Mexican condiment.
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Why you'll love this recipe
- There are just six ingredients
- It's ready in just a few minutes
- You can easily tweak the flavours
- It's deliciously creamy without the need for any animal products
- It goes well with so many things beyond tacos (see ideas for where to use it)
How do I make it vegan?
You could create a dairy-free crema using ingredients such as silken tofu or vegan sour cream, but I love to use cashews that have been soaked and blended with lime and Dijon mustard to create a subtle tangy flavour.
Cashews have a long shelf life and creamy texture, making them ideal for many vegan dairy alternatives such as vegan cream, vegan cranachan, vegan fish pie, creamy mushroom pasta, and dauphinoise potatoes.
Is it healthy?
Since traditional crema has high levels of saturated fat, this vegan recipe offers up a healthier alternative with the cashews delivering more unsaturated fats along with nutrients like iron, fibre, and plant-based protein.
What you'll need
For this simple recipe, you'll need:
- Raw cashews that have been soaked until soft
- Lime for its juice and some of the zest
- Fresh coriander for fragrance
- Garlic and salt for added flavour
- Dijon mustard for extra zing (optional)
How to make vegan lime crema
For the best results, it's important to soak the cashews for a few hours until soft. Simply add to a bowl of water and leave at room temperature. If you're in a hurry, you can soak them in a bowl of kettle-boiled water for around 10 minutes.
Once the cashews have been soaked and drained, add these to a high-powered blender along with the water, garlic, lime zest and juice, coriander, Dijon mustard, and salt.
Blend until very smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides if necessary.
It may take a minute or two depending on your blender.
Adjust the seasoning to taste, adding any extra lime juice, lime zest, Dijon mustard, and salt.
If you'd like a thinner sauce, add small amounts of water and blend until you have the desired consistency.
Where to use cashew crema
Needless to say, this condiment is right at home when drizzled over the likes of Cajun shredded tofu tacos, kidney bean tacos, or jackfruit tacos. Why not throw in some pico de gallo and guacamole while you're at it?
And don't limit yourself to just tacos – this stuff finds its way onto almost every dish whenever I blend up a batch. Think vegan jambalaya, easy vegan chilli, sweet potato chilli, smoky jackfruit chilli, pinto bean soup, grilled tofu skewers, or even goulash, chickpea stew, lentil dal, or chickpea biryani.
You'll want to use raw cashews for this recipe, i.e. not roasted, salted, or flavoured in any other way. Raw cashews are sometimes sold slightly cheaper if they're broken into smaller pieces, which would be fine here.
You'll want to soak the cashews in water at room temperature for several hours or even overnight.
If you're in a hurry, you can soak the cashews in a bowl of kettle-boiled water for around 10 minutes.
You could try this recipe using a similar amount of sunflower seeds in place of the cashews.
The crema should keep well for up to a week in the fridge in a jar or airtight container.
Yep, you can freeze this in an airtight container for several months.
Variations and tips for vegan lime crema
- Lime: If you don't have this, you could use lemon or try adding a small dash of apple cider vinegar and adjusting to taste.
- Dijon mustard: This may not always be strictly vegan depending on the white wine used, however I've noticed that several brands in the UK label theirs as vegan.
- Nut-free: I haven't yet tried it myself, but there are plenty of recipes out there to make vegan crema with the likes of silken tofu, vegan sour cream, or yoghurt.
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More vegan recipe ideas
If you liked this recipe, you might also enjoy:
You can also check out my full list of vegan dairy alternative recipes.
Vegan Lime Crema (Perfect with Tacos)
- 1 cup (150 g) raw cashews, soaked in water for a few hours or overnight (see notes)
- ¾ cup (180 ml) water
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 lime, half zest and all juice
- Handful fresh coriander (a.k.a. cilantro)
- ½ teaspoon vegan Dijon mustard (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Once the cashews have been soaked and drained, add these to a high-powered blender along with the water, garlic, lime zest and juice, coriander, Dijon mustard, and salt.
- Blend until very smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides if necessary. It may take a minute or two depending on your blender.
- Adjust the seasoning to taste, adding any extra lime juice, lime zest, Dijon mustard, and salt. If you'd like a thinner sauce, add small amounts of water and blend until you have the desired consistency.
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