Raise yo' hand if you think dips, sauces and dressings are THE BOMB [cyclone, diggety, dope...]! Typing single-handed is waayyy too slow, so I'm putting my hand down now... but I am WITH YOU all the way on that one. An excellent sauce can take ho-hum to OH-YUM in a hot minute, and I've got this process DOWN! You are going to LOVE this Garlic Lime Crema for Cilantro Haters [👈🏽 we'll get to that bit in a minute].
Whether you need something tasty to dress your salad, top your taco or dip your veggies, a GREAT sauce will be:
· packed with flavor
· enhance what it's paired with
· high quality
· easily adjusted
Let's get crackin', 'cuz I need some o' this Garlic Lime Crema NOW... actually, YOU need this sauce NOW!
Total Time: 2:05 Prep Time: 5 minutes, plus 2 hour soak* Cook/Bake Time: none
* If you have a high-powered blender (like a Vitamix) you likely do not need to soak the cashews. A Vitamix is still on my wish-list so I can't offer input. If you'd like to send me one, I'd be happy to message you my mailing address. 😉
Here's what you'll need for about 1 cup of sauce (take a look at the alternatives at the end of this post too):
1/2 cup cashews
4 cloves of garlic
4 limes, zest & juice
1/2 cup scallions, packed (green parts only)
1 Tbsp honey or maple syrup
1 tsp smoked salt
piece of dried red pepper or 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1. Place cashews in a bowl and pour enough HOT water over them to cover by 1/2". Set aside for two hours, occasionally stirring to submerge those floating on the surface. [Omit this step if you have a high-powered blender].
2. Zest the limes. Cover the zest and refrigerate until needed. Next, either squeeze every bit of the lime juice out of each lime OR peel the limes, chop into chunks and put them in your freezer while waiting for the cashews to soak. Make sure you cut away all the white pith, which is bitter.
3. Peel the garlic and roughly chop the scallions. Set aside.
4. Keep the garlic and scallions cold until needed.
5. Add the partially frozen lime chunks or juice, the zest, the soaked and drained cashews, garlic, honey or maple syrup, salt and dried pepper (if using) to your high-speed blender. Blend until completely smooth, scraping down sides if necessary. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Dressing should be slightly thick, creamy and pourable. Thin with white wine vinegar or water if necessary. Refrigerate until needed (can be stored up to 1 week).
Now, why would a cilantro lover omit the cilantro? In short, I feel for those who fall into the 4-14% of the population who have the gene receptors that make cilantro taste like soap... and I live with one of those types. Researchers are sill trying to pin down exactly which gene receptors are responsible (there's more than one route to the soap-tasting factor) but if you're interested, you can watch Hank Green's rapid-fire explanation HERE.
At any rate, I'm ok with just adding fresh cilantro as a condiment. Here are a few recipes on this blog that would be fantastic with some of this Garlic Lime Crema for Cilantro Haters!
~ Roasted Pumpkin and Black Bean Tacos
~ Crispy Cauliflower & Chickpea Tacos
~ Grilled Tofu Tacos with Roasted Jalapeno Lime Sauce
~ Rainbow Slaw with Sweet & Sour Dressing
Some ALTERNATIVES to consider:
~ add 1/4 cup fortified nutritional yeast: this lends important B vitamins, texture, flavor and color
~ add roasted garlic instead of raw: this decreases the sharpness and increases the sweetness
~ add 1/2- teaspoon ground cumin: this lends a depth of flavor
~ add 1 tsp smoked paprika: this intensifies the smokiness and adds another layer of flavor
~ add 1/2 cup of grilled onions: this lends sweetness and intense flavor
~ swap 2 of the limes for 2 lemons
Be sure to check out some of my other FANTASTIC dressings and sauces! [Click on Spread/Sauce/Dressing under Categories].
Nutrition information is for 2 Tbsp of sauce.
If you make this recipe, I'd love to hear how you and your guests liked it! Snap a photo and tag me too, #chefcatherinebrown. I love seeing what you make!
DISCLOSURES: None. This post was not created in affiliation with any product or brand. The opinions expressed are my own. I will only write about products I use and trust.
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