Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Coconut Lime Cashew Cream (Crema)

What's a taco without crema??  That luscious, creaminess that brings all the flavors together and also kills the heat when spice gets a little out of hand.

Crema became one of the most missed things when my son turned lactose intolerant, and for years we've just gone without.  But home for the summer, he asked if we could try to recreate one of his favorite recipesGrilled Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa, with some sort of dairy-free alternative.

My son's all time favorite dish... Grilled Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa
We've tried before, and while the tacos are always a treat, they just aren't the same without the crema.  I've stressed over the fact that I just haven't been able to come up with a satisfying dairy-free version, but turning to some of my favorite vegan books the time had come to give cashew cream a try.

Not one to always plan ahead I found a few recipes that didn't require soaking the cashews (so long as you have a handy dandy high powered blender - we have a Blendtec ).  

Following recipes including almond milk and cashews, the crema was okay.  Satisfactory in that it did the trick, brought that creaminess to the taco, but didn't add much else.

And then we tried coconut milk.  Oh my heavens!!  Beyond satisfactory, Coconut Lime Cashew Cream totally rocks!  A little tropical in flavor, but not overly coconutty, the coconut added a dimension that brought the whole taco together and had us spooning on just a little extra on, well, on everything.

Just a few ingredients and a blender and you're set... dairy-free lime crema that will leave your dairy eating friends totally jealous.

 Coconut Lime Cashew Crema
The cream that ties the dish together, this lime version works fabulously with any Mexican dish.  The first dairy-free crema we've created that had my son finally smiling.
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1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup light coconut milk
pinch sea salt
juice of 1 to 2 limes
lime zest if desired

Place cashews, coconut milk and salt into a blender.  Process on high until thick and creamy.  Add the lime juice and pulse to combine.  Taste, and add more lime if desired.  Add lime zest and pulse once or twice to combine.  

Thin crema with a tablespoon or two of water if consistency is too thick.

Store in the fridge for a couple of days, use on everything!  Note, when chilled the crema will thicken, thin with additional lime juice or water to desired consistency.

Liv Life Note:  We use a high powered blender for very creamy results.  If you are not using a regular blender soak your cashews for about 4 hours in water, drain and then blend.  Results may not be as creamy in a regular blender as they are in a high powered blender, but still wonderful!


  1. Would the recipe suffer if I presoaked the cashews in coconut milk?

    1. I haven't tried that, nor have I read it in any recipes. I'm thinking that it would help, but that water will be more absorbed by the cashews making them easier to blend. Just a guess though!! I will give it a go and see what happens!

  2. Sounds delicious, whether you're lactose intolerant or not. I can think of lots of things to drizzle this on. Yum!

  3. Sounds delicious, whether you're lactose intolerant or not. I can think of lots of things to drizzle this on. Yum!

    1. Way better than regular dairy sour cream (IMHO) :) This is a new family favorite!

  4. How many cashews? There's no amount list just 1/2 cashews. My family is now dairy free and it has been hard to get used to. I really hate almond milk so I'm excited to use Coconut milk. Thank you!

    1. So sorry for late reply!! And for the mistake in the recipe... the cashew should be 1/2 cup (fixed now in recipe!). It's one of our favorite sauces!! Way better than regular ole sour cream :)


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