Have you ever eaten crema? Crema is the Mexican version of French crème fraîche. Both are a slightly sour and thickened dairy cream but less thick than American dairy sour cream.
It’s typically used as a garnish drizzled over enchiladas, burritos and tacos. I’ve also seen it used as a dip for tortilla chips. I loved it in my pre-vegan days but I’ve never tried making my own vegan version.
Since I’ve never made a crema, I had to do a bit of research on what exactly goes into making it. I found a few vegan crema recipes that used yogurt, some added avocado, and quite a few were made using cashews. If I had cashews on hand I probably would have opted for those as a base. But I didn’t. I didn’t actually have anything on hand that the other recipes called for so I decided to improvise using a box of silken tofu that I found hidden in the back of the fridge.
Vegan Cilantro Lime Crema (Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Nut-Free Vegan Crema)
- 1 box silken tofu, medium-firm style
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1/2 jalapeno, deseeded
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 bunch cilantro (to taste)
- Using a food processor, blend the silken tofu until smooth. Add jalapeno, lime, cumin, and salt to food processor and blend until smooth.
- Add the cilantro and here’s the thing: I like a lot a cilantro- like, a lot of cilantro, so I use a lot of cilantro. But you don’t have to. Use the amount of cilantro that suits your tastes. This crema is a bit thicker than others made with cashews or vegan yogurt. If you wanted a thinner crema, feel free to add more lime juice or a bit of water until you reach the consistency you prefer.
A quick note about using silken tofu: If you are soy intolerant you can swap out the silken tofu for vegan yogurt or cashews. If using yogurt, use 1 1/2 cups of plain yogurt in place of the silken tofu. To find a soy-free vegan yogurt, use this Vegan Yogurt Guide.
If using cashews, soak 1 1/2 cups of cashews for an hour or so in filtered water. Drain the water. Using a food processor, process them with the lime juice until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and puree until fully combined.
Serving and Storing Notes
I served my crema on top of a baked sweet potato topped with black beans, red onions, and kale but it would go perfect on any dish. Try it on a Mexican-style tofu scramble, a vegan cheese quesadilla, or a bowl of brown rice, tomatoes, seitan, and avocado. Speaking of avocado, why not serve it over a halved avocado stuffed with vegan chorizo? The possibilities are completely endless.
If you have leftovers you can store in an airtight container and it’ll last for a few days in the fridge. This Vegan Cilantro Lime Crema was super tasty, both my wife and I enjoyed it immensely. I think you will too. Let me know how it goes in the comments, or find me on Twitter.
Recipe republished with permission from Chic Vegan; photos by KD Angle-Traegner.