Vegan Cilantro Lime Crema - The Hidden Veggies

How to make Creamy vegan Cilantro Sauce

Creamy vegan cilantro sauce is a versatile condiment that can elevate a variety of dishes with its zesty and refreshing flavor profile. The key ingredient in this sauce is cilantro, also known as coriander, a herb beloved around the world for its pungent, citrus-like taste and aroma. The use of cilantro is prominent in many culinary traditions, including Latin American, South Asian, and Middle Eastern cuisines.

Traditionally, creamy sauces may rely on dairy products such as cream or yogurt to achieve a smooth texture, but vegan versions employ plant-based alternatives. A creamy vegan cilantro sauce might incorporate ingredients like soaked cashews, avocado, or coconut milk to create the desired creaminess without the use of animal-derived products. Additionally, these alternatives not only contribute to the velvety consistency but also add nutritional value to the sauce, such as healthy fats and vitamins.

The sauce typically incorporates a blend of cilantro leaves, a creamy base, and other elements to enhance its flavor. Garlic, lime juice, and jalapeños or green chilies can be added for a robust depth of flavor, encapsulating a balance of herbaceousness, tartness, and a touch of heat. Various seasonings, such as salt, pepper, and sometimes sweeteners like agave syrup, may also be included to round out the flavor profile.

This sauce can be used in a number of ways, from drizzling over tacos or burritos to acting as a salad dressing or a dip for fresh vegetables. The versatility and ease of preparation make it a popular choice for those looking to quickly add a burst of flavor to their plant-based meals.

The creation of the sauce involves blending the ingredients into a smooth consistency, frequently using a food processor or high-speed blender. It can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator, often becoming more flavorful as the ingredients meld together over time.

The specific nutritional content will vary depending on the choice of ingredients, but generally speaking, a creamy vegan cilantro sauce can serve as a healthful addition to a meal, especially when compared to store-bought dressings that may contain artificial additives or preservatives.

Creamy vegan Cilantro Sauce Recipe

Vegan Cilantro Lime Crema - The Hidden Veggies

Creamy vegan Cilantro Sauce

Creamy vegan cilantro sauce is a versatile and flavorful condiment often used in various cuisines to add a fresh and creamy touch to dishes. The base of this sauce typically includes raw cashews or vegan mayonnaise to achieve the creamy texture without using dairy products. As cashews soak and are blended, they create a smooth and rich consistency that is ideal for sauces.
Fresh cilantro, also known as coriander, is the key herb in this sauce, contributing its distinctive, zesty flavor. It's usually combined with ingredients such as garlic, lime juice, and sometimes jalapeño for spice. The acidity from the lime juice not only adds a tangy flavor but also helps in preserving the bright green color of the cilantro. Occasionally, nutritional yeast may be included to provide a cheesy flavor while keeping the sauce vegan.
The sauce is often seasoned with salt and other spices according to taste preference. It can be used in a variety of culinary applications, including as a dressing for salads, a spread for sandwiches, a dip for vegetables, or a garnish for dishes like tacos, burritos, and bowls.
Prep Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
Course Sauce
Cuisine Italian
Servings 1 cup
Calories 53 kcal


  • 1 medium bowl
  • 1 blender bowl
  • 1 air tight container


  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 1/2 large handfuls cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt


  • Place the cashew in a medium bowl cover with a hot and let it soak for 30- 60 minutes. You can soak ahead of time, may be over night, it makes the process quicker.
  • Drain the cashew and combine the cashews, cilantro, lime juice, water, and kosher salt in a bowl of a blender and blend on high until smooth, stop and scrape down the sides of the blender bowl. Add more water if you are not pleased with the consistency and then blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Transfer to an air tight container with a lid and keep in the fridge, use within a week. You can also freeze and use within 2 months.
Keyword fresh lime juice, raw cashews

Cooking Tips about Creamy vegan Cilantro Sauce

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Creamy vegan cilantro sauce can be a delightful accompaniment or dressing, adding a rich, herby zest to a variety of dishes. To create a flavorful and satisfying version of this sauce, it’s important to consider factors such as the base for creaminess, the role of cilantro, and potential flavor enhancers.

Base for Creaminess: Traditional creamy sauces often use dairy products, but in vegan cooking, achieving a similar richness and mouthfeel is possible through alternative ingredients. Nuts like cashews are commonly used; they can be soaked in water to soften and then blended to create a smooth and rich texture. Silken tofu is another excellent option, providing a neutral flavor and creamy consistency. Additionally, avocado can be employed for its natural creaminess and subtle flavor.

Role of Cilantro: Cilantro, known for its fresh and slightly citrusy taste, is the star of this sauce. To maximize its flavor, it’s best to use fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems. The leaves should be thoroughly washed to remove any grit and then finely chopped or blended to release their aromatic oils. The amount of cilantro should be proportionate to the creaminess to create a balance between herbaceous brightness and the richness of the sauce.

Flavor Enhancers: To elevate the cilantro sauce, consider the inclusion of garlic for a pungent kick, citrus juice such as lime for acidity and freshness, and sea salt to enhance the overall flavor profile. A sweet element, like agave syrup, can balance the sauce, and nutritional yeast might add a savory, cheesy note. Additional spices, like cumin or a pinch of cayenne, can provide depth and warmth to the sauce.

Blending Technique: When preparing the sauce, a high-speed blender can create a smoother texture, while a food processor might leave a bit more texture, depending on preference. It’s crucial to blend until the desired consistency is reached, scraping down the sides as necessary and adjusting the liquid content to thin the sauce if needed.

Storage and Usage: Homemade vegan cilantro sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where its flavors will continue to meld and develop. Before serving, it may need to be stirred as it can separate upon settling.

Serving suggestion about Creamy vegan Cilantro Sauce

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Creamy vegan cilantro sauce is a versatile condiment that can elevate various dishes. When creating such a sauce, the main objective is to achieve a balance of creaminess, flavor, and freshness without the use of dairy products. Key ingredients typically include fresh cilantro, a base for the creaminess—such as soaked cashews or coconut cream—along with acidity from citrus juice or vinegar, and aromatics like garlic or onion for depth of flavor.

To start the process, it’s essential to have fresh cilantro on hand; this will provide the characteristic vibrant color and bright flavor. Soaked cashews blended with water create a smooth and creamy consistency that mimics cream-based sauces, while coconut cream can give a subtle sweetness and rich texture. Cashews are generally preferred for their neutral flavor, which allows the cilantro to shine through.

Acidic components like lime juice or apple cider vinegar are included not only to add a tangy dimension to the sauce but also to enhance the other flavors. To counterbalance the tanginess and complement the cilantro, a small amount of natural sweetener such as agave syrup can be used. For the aromatics, minced garlic is a common choice; it brings an earthy, pungent taste that pairs well with the freshness of cilantro. Optional ingredients such as jalapeño peppers can add some heat, and nutritional yeast can offer a cheesy flavor while maintaining the sauce’s vegan status.

A typical preparation involves blending the ingredients until smooth, adjusting the consistency with water or plant-based milk, and seasoning with salt and pepper. The use of a high-speed blender is recommended to achieve a silky texture. Once made, the cilantro sauce can serve as a drizzle on tacos or burritos, a dip for vegetables, or a dressing for salads and bowls.

Here’s a brief, step-by-step guide to making creamy vegan cilantro sauce:

  • Prepare your ingredients: gather fresh cilantro, soaked cashews or coconut cream, lime juice or vinegar, garlic, and any additional flavorings you desire.
  • Combine the cilantro, base for creaminess, acidity, garlic, and any other ingredients in a blender.
  • Blend until smooth, adding liquid as necessary to reach your desired consistency.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, and possibly a sweetener.
  • Serve as desired, ensuring to keep the sauce refrigerated if not using immediately.

Keep in mind that the flavor strength may increase over time as the ingredients meld together, especially the garlic and cilantro. As for shelf-life, homemade sauces without preservatives should be consumed relatively quickly, generally within a week when stored properly in the refrigerator.

Top 5 FAQs about Creamy vegan Cilantro Sauce

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  • What are the typical ingredients in creamy vegan cilantro sauce and how is it made? A traditional creamy vegan cilantro sauce usually consists of fresh cilantro leaves, a base for creaminess such as soaked cashews, vegan yogurt, silken tofu, or avocado, along with flavor enhancers like garlic, lime juice, and sometimes jalapeños for a kick. Salt and pepper are added to taste. To make the sauce, these ingredients are typically combined in a blender or food processor until smooth, resulting in a richly flavored, creamy green sauce.
  • In what dishes can creamy vegan cilantro sauce be used? This sauce is versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes. It’s commonly used as a topping for tacos, burritos, and enchiladas, as a dressing for salads or bowls, as a dipping sauce for fresh vegetables or chips, in sandwiches or wraps, or drizzled over cooked grains like rice or quinoa. Its vibrant flavor pairs well with many types of cuisine, including Mexican, Southwestern, and even Indian dishes.
  • How should creamy vegan cilantro sauce be stored and how long does it keep? To store creamy vegan cilantro sauce, place it in an airtight container and refrigerate it. The freshness of ingredients and type of cream base will affect the sauce’s longevity; generally, it can be stored for about 3-5 days. If the sauce separates slightly after refrigeration, it can be stirred or blended again before use. Freezing is also an option, though it may affect texture upon thawing; freeze in small portions for best results.
  • What is the nutritional content of creamy vegan cilantro sauce? The nutritional content of vegan cilantro sauce can vary based on the ingredients used. Generally, it is a healthier alternative to traditional dairy-based sauces due to the lack of cholesterol and potentially lower saturated fat content, depending on the chosen cream base. It can be a good source of healthy fats, vitamin E, and magnesium if made with nuts like cashews, and it also provides vitamins A and C from cilantro and lime. However, always consider portion sizes as calorie and fat content can add up quickly.
  • Are there common variations to the basic recipe and how can one customize it? Yes, there are many ways to vary or customize this sauce based on dietary needs and taste preferences. For thinner sauces, add more lime juice or water; for more thickness or richness, increase the base ingredient like avocado or cashews. Nutritional yeast can be added for a cheesy flavor, while various spices (such as cumin or chili powder) allow for complexity. Similarly, using different herbs in conjunction with cilantro, like parsley or mint, can alter the flavor profile for different dishes.

In the culinary context, a well-made creamy vegan cilantro sauce can enhance a multitude of dishes. It can be utilized as a dip, a marinade for vegetables, a topping for tacos, or a dressing for salads and bowls. Its versatility, combined with the health benefits of using whole food, plant-based ingredients, makes it a favored choice in vegan cuisine, catering to those looking for dairy-free alternatives without sacrificing taste or texture.

To conclude, creamy vegan cilantro sauce offers a dairy-free, versatile, and vibrant option for those seeking to enrich their dishes with a burst of flavor while adhering to plant-based dietary preferences. Its creamy texture and bright, herby flavor make it a unique and indispensable item in the vegan culinary repertoire.


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