If you love drizzles and dips like we do, you're going to go crazy for this creamy cilantro jalapeno sauce recipe. Super luscious, this dairy-free sauce is embarrassingly simple to make with only a few ingredients including cashews, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime. It makes the perfect creamy dressing, drizzle or dip (gluten free and oil free)!
It's so Versatile!
Super versatile and flavorful, this spicy cashew cream is ready to enjoy in under 5 minutes. Just like my sweet and spicy tahini sauce and hoisin peanut sauce, it's gluten free and oil-free, plus it stays fresh in the fridge all week. Plus it's perfect as a sauce or drizzle on vegan taco bowls, vegan tacos, rice bowls, hamburger and grilled veggies. It also makes a delicious and healthy salad dressing or coleslaw dressing.
And if you want even more, check out all the sauces on my Vegan Sauce Page.
What's in Creamy Jalapeno Sauce?
Another delicious 5 minute vegan sauce/dressing/dip that packs a lot of flavor, here's the ingredients you'll need:
- raw cashews - the raw cashews give the sauce it's creamy, non-dairy base
- garlic - one medium or two small cloves
- jalapeno chilli peppers - fresh jalapenos bring the heat
- fresh cilantro - fresh, herbal flavor plus gorgeous green color (use leaves and tender stems)
- lime - fresh lime juice and zest adds tang and brightens up the sauce
- maple syrup - just a few drops balances the heat
- salt - makes all the flavors sing
Let's Make Spicy Cashew Dressing
There are only a few steps to make this simple cashew cream sauce. Let's get started . . .
So easy to make - just place the ingredients into a high speed blender like a Vitamix and let it do all the work. My Vitamix gets A LOT of action - it's the hardest working appliance in my vegan kitchen!
If you don't have a high-power blender, pour boiling water over the cashews, cover them, and soak for 30 minutes or more. They get plump and juicy and are easier to blend into a smooth creamy sauce.
The high-speed blender version requires very little soaking - pour boiling hot water over the cashews, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes. Drain and proceed with recipe.
Balancing flavor is everything when it comes to making this creamy cilantro jalapeno sauce; here's a few tips to help you find the perfect mix of sweet, spicy, tangy and garlicky:
- Sauce or dressing?: Adjust the cashew sauce consistency by adding more or less liquid. If making a thicker dip, start off with less water. Making a dressing? Add an extra tablespoon of water at a time until desired consistency is met. Note: cashew sauce does thicken up after being chilled!
- Customize the flavors: You control how tangy, spicy, garlicky, and salty the cashew sauce is. Start with the quantities recommended in the recipe and then adjust to your taste preference. Add more lime for tanginess, more cilantro for herbaceousness, and more or less garlic for pungency. Keep in the mind that garlic flavor intensifies and becomes more prominent over a few days. If the sauce tastes flat, salt is almost always the answer! Add another sprinkle or two, stir it in and taste again.
- Jalapeno chilies: I used the whole jalapeno pepper - seeds, membranes and all. But you control how much heat/spice to your preference. Remove some of the seeds, add only half the jalapeno pepper then taste and adjust. If you want it hotter, add the other half of the pepper and the seeds until you are happy with the heat index.
Ways to Serve
This spicy, creamy cilantro lime crema makes a sensational drizzle, dip or sauce for anything and everything! Here's some of our favorite ways to serve it:
- Tacos - Cauliflower Chickpea Tacos, Tofu Tacos
- Burgers - Cauliflower Burger, Jackfruit Burger
- Sandwiches - California Veggie Sandwich, Vegan Shawarma Wrap
- Buddha Bowls - Spicy Taco Bowl, Simple Rice Bowl
- Tofu Breakfast - Tofu Scramble, Breakfast Bowl
- Grilled vegetables like cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, etc.
- Serve as a thick dip with veggies at summer parties and BBQ.
Did you make this recipe?
I'd love to see it! Please leave a comment and star rating below
and tag me in your photos on IG @ceeceecooks
CRAVING MORE VEGAN RECIPES: Sign up for my email NEWSLETTER!
Creamy Cilantro Jalapeno Sauce Recipe
Rate this recipe!
- high-power blender
- ½ cup raw cashews, soaked
- ⅓-1/2 cup water
- ½ bunch cilantro, rough chop
- 1 jalapeno, cut into 3 or 4 chunks
- 1 medium garlic clove, rough chop
- 1 lime juice and zest
- ½ tsp salt (or more to taste)
- ¼ - ½ tsp maple syrup (optional)
- If no high-power blender: place cashews in the blender cup, pour boiling water over the cashews, replace lid and let soak for 30 minutes up to 2 hours (until plump). Drain, rinse and continue with recipe.
- With a high-power blender, you can get away without pre-soaking. Just boil the ⅓-1/2 cup water, pour over the ½ cup cashews in the blender cup, add the other ingredients, replace the lid and puree until smooth.
- It's not necessary to pick the leaves off the cilantro. Cut any large stalks off but the smaller, tender stems are fine to include.
- The consistency will be a thick dressing. Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if you want a thinner more pourable drizzle. Or add less water if you'd like a thicker dip or sauce.
This recipe is from simplyceecee.co food blog. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images or republish this recipe without prior permission. Thank you.
Do you think you could make this with cashew butter?
I haven't tried it with cashew butter. It would likely need additional liquid to get the right consistency. Let me know if you try.
I made this for tacos and it was incredible!