This Vegan Pumpkin Seed Crema is dairy-free, creamy, and tastes like sour cream! The pumpkin seeds add a toasty and nutty flavor, and it's a great topping to put on just about anything!
Pumpkin seed crema is the perfect sauce to put on shrimp or fish tacos.
Check out our Cinco De Mayo recipe collection, where you will find condiments like Spicy Mango Salsa, Food Processor Guacamole, and Roasted Salsa Roja.
To make a Vegan Crema, we blend cashews and coconut milk into a creamy sauce.
We add ground pumpkin seeds (pepita seeds) to the Mexican crema for a nutty and delicious flavor!
Tip - Using a good quality blender is crucial for a smooth and creamy pumpkin seed crema. I recommend this Vitamix Blender if you are looking to upgrade.
⭐️ Why you'll love this recipe
- This dairy-free crema is Whole30, Vegan, and Paleo approved!
- Top your grilled shrimp, tacos, and fajitas with this versatile sauce.
- Toasted pepita seeds add a nutty flavor, making it the BEST crema.
🥘 Ingredient Notes
For a complete ingredient list, scroll down to our recipe card.
- Cashews - Soak cashews in cold water overnight or boil them in a saucepan for 10 minutes.
- Coconut Milk - Use the cream of coconut that rises to the top of the can.
- Lemon juice and apple cider vinegar - Gives the vegan crema a sour flavor and tastes like sour cream.
- Pumpkin seeds - Toasted pumpkin seeds adds a nice nutty flavor.
📖 Substitutions and Variations
- Almond Milk - Blend cashews and almond milk in a Vitamix for a dairy-free crema. Any nut milk will work for this recipe.
- Avocado - A great replacement for sour cream in recipes like crema. Blend it with lime juice and seasonings for a creamy, tangy dip.
- Tofu - Combine tofu, lemon juice, ground pumpkin seeds, and black pepper in a blender. You may need to add a few tablespoons of water if the sauce is too thick.
- Herbs and spices - Adding cilantro, garlic, cumin, and chili powder can help to enhance the flavor.
- Make it spicy - Adding jalapenos or serrano chilies heat and color. Make sure to roast the chilies in the oven or grill before blending.
🔪 Step-By-Step Instructions
If you have questions about this vegan Mexican crema recipe, don’t forget to check out our FAQ section at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: In a saucepan, over medium heat, toast pepita seeds and whole black peppercorns for 2 minutes. Set aside and cool for 10 minutes.
Step 2: Place pepita seeds and black pepper in a coffee grinder and pulse until it looks like flour.
Step 3: Place cashews, coconut milk, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and Dijon mustard into the blender. Blend on high speed for 1 minute or until smooth.
Step 4: Stir in the ground pepita and black pepper mixture into the crema. Serve over seafood, tacos, and well everything!
Tip - For a smooth cream soak cashews in cold water overnight or boil them in water for 10 minutes to soften the nuts.
💭 Chef Tips
- Soak cashews in cold water overnight to soften them. Failure to do this will result in a grainy texture. If you are in a rush, boil the cashews in water for 10 minutes.
- For a nutty and delicious flavor, toast the pumpkin seeds.
- After toasting the pumpkin seeds, set them aside for 10 minutes to cool down. This will prevent your coffee grinder from getting gummed up.
- Grind your pumpkin seeds and black peppercorns until they have the consistency of flour.
- Using a high-speed blender like a Blendtec or Vitamix will make a silky smooth vegan crema.
The best swap would be a cashew cream sauce made from cashews and water blended into a smooth sauce. A non-vegan option would be creme Fraiche thinned with lime juice or water.
You can make vegan crema in several different ways. It typically uses plant-based ingredients like nuts, tofu, or coconut cream to create a similar creamy texture.
Yes, vegan crema can be used in place of sour cream in many recipes. It can be used as a topping for tacos, burritos, or enchiladas, or as a dip for vegetables or chips.
To make vegan crema thicker, use less liquid when blending the ingredients. To make it thinner, add more liquid until you reach the desired consistency.
Fridge: Pumpkin seed crema will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator. The crema will get thicker, so you may need to adjust the consistency with a bit of water before serving.
Freezer: Place crema in an airtight container and freeze for up to 6 months.
Thawing: Let crema thaw overnight in the refrigerator, blend, and serve.
Tip - The texture will change in the freezer, so blending it again will make it creamy.
🍽 Related Recipes
Did you make this recipe? Leave a ⭐️ review below and tag @thefrizzledleek on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest!
Vegan Pumpkin Seed Crema
- 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews soaked overnight, or boiled for 10 minutes
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- ¼ cup water
- ½ cup coconut milk thick part from the can
- 2 tablespoon pumpkin seeds toasted and ground
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper cracked
- Soak cashews overnight in cold water or boil them for 10 minutes. Drain.
- In a saucepan, over medium heat, toast pepita seeds and whole black peppercorns for 2 minutes. Set aside and cool for 10 minutes.
- Place pepita seeds and black pepper in a coffee grinder and pulse until it looks like flour.
- Place cashews, coconut milk, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and Dijon mustard into the blender. Blend on high speed for 1 minute or until smooth.
- Stir in the ground pepita and black pepper mixture into the crema. Enjoy!
- Soak cashews in cold water overnight for a smooth consistency.
- Let the pumpkin seeds cool completely before grinding to prevent the coffee grinder from gumming up.
- Use a high-speed blender like a Vitamix for the creamy smooth and creamy sauce.
- Vegan crema will thicken in the refrigerator, so add a couple of drops of water and mix before serving.
- The texture of crema changes in the freezer, so re-blend after thawing.
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