A drizzle of crema is the special extra touch to your Mexican favorite dishes. This nut free and soy free vegan crema recipe needs just 5 ingredients and it’s incredibly easy to make.
What is Mexican Crema Fresca
Crema fresca is Mexico’s equivalent of France’s crème fraîche and Eastern Europe’s smetana.
These are all are types of “sour” cream but without the tartness of American-style sour cream.
In a pinch you could interchange them, but if you’re looking for that extra tartness of the American version you won’t find these as strong, and so the American kind may not suit all recipes.
Types of Mexican Crema
In Mexico we use thin crema to drizzle over our food as a topping and we occasionally cook with thicker ones too — actually, we also make desserts with it too.
If you’ve ever been in a Mexican food store chances are you’ve seen crema Mexicana, crema fresca and crema agria.
The difference between these Mexican cremas is in the way they are produced, and the level of tartness they each have.
Just crema Mexicana and fresca tend to be on the milder more neutral taste but still have a tartness to them, and as for the agria it’s more like American sour cream.
Vegan Crema and Vegan Crema Agria
You’ll notice in the recipe that I’ve given you two options for this crema recipe.
The first option is for a “neutral” crema, which isn’t tart and is the traditional crema fresca or creme fraiche.
The second option is for “sour” cream, which is made the same at the neutral but by simply adding lime juice it get that slight tartness of sour cream.
This is fantastic because you can use each version for different needs!
How to Make Vegan Crema at Home
While it’s easy to go out and buy vegan or dairy free crema alternatives, making it at home is quite easy. An added benefit is that you’ll be sure no strange ingredients went into it.
The base of this soy-free, nut-free and dairy-free sour cream recipe are almonds.
Blanching The Almonds
Blanching means to quickly submerge something in hot liquid, you’re not cooking it nor killing off vital vitamins and nutrients. In the case of these almonds all we’re doing it helping to release the skin for peeling.
You could use store bought blanched almonds but I highly recommend blanching them yourself so you can insure optimum freshness of the almonds. Watch my video on how to easily and quickly blanch almonds here.
Blending The Ingredients
Once you’ve blanched the almonds it’s really just a matter of gathering the ingredients to blend them before moving on to the third step.
The other 4 ingredients needed in this 5 ingredient vegan sour cream recipe are: water, corn starch, and a little bit of salt.
(Add lime juice at the end, if using.)
Everything is placed in the blender and puree until a smooth texture is achieved.
Cooking The Mexican Crema
Once everything is blended the sour cream needs to be cooked in a shallow pan. If you’d like you can taste it before proceeding to make sure it has enough tartness if making the
This step is done help thicken it up and give the mixture that thicker and creamy smooth texture of regular crema.
This step is probably the most involved because you’ll have to keep stirring to prevent bubbling over and burning of the crema.
The last step, once the desired consistency has been achieved, is to remove the pan from the heat and mix in the lime juice if you’re wanting to make this a sour cream or crema agria.
Next it to pour it into a container and allowed to cool down.
Once it has come to room temperature the crema may be stored in the refrigerator to use cold later or to storage the cream.
How Long Will Vegan Almond Crema Last
This crema will last in your refrigerator for about 4 to 5 days or upto a week if stored covered and in a cold refrigerator. Well, that is if you don’t eat it all before then!
Easy to Make Vegan Crema Recipe
This recipe is quite simple, but I urge you to watch the guided video and read through the recipe and notes before testing it out yourselves.
There are a few important tips that will help your first vegan crema be a smashing success!
How to Make Mexican Vegan Crema
- spatula or spoon
- glass container with lid for storing
- ¼ cup or 52 grams of blanched & soaked almonds*
- 1 cup or 236 ml warm water
- 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch
- freshly squeezed lime juice to taste (to make sour cream)
- salt to taste
- Soak the almonds for a couple of hours or until they plump up and become softer, drain before using. Place all the almonds and only half of the water into the blender and blend for a couple of minutes.
- Add all the cornstarch, a little bit (like a pinch) of salt, the other half of the water and blend until completely smooth — the time will depend on the power of your blender. If you’re blender isn’t too powerful you may want to pass the liquid through a fine sieve to catch any bits and prevent a grainy crema.
- Over medium heat cook the mixture until it thickens. This will take about 10 minutes. It’s very important that you keep stirring the whole time to prevent it burning or bubbling over. As it cooks you’ll notice that little by little the cream begins to form as the mixture thickens. You’ll know that the crema is ready when it has a thick creamy consistency. When ready, remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes while you keep stirring it.
- At this time if you want a more neutral tasting crema you can simply leave as is and cool completely before storing. For a more tart cream continue with the next step.
To make the “sour” cream
- Once allowed to cool slightly, little by little add freshly squeezed lime juice and salt to the cream. Stir until well combined, allow to sit a couple of minutes, then taste and if needed add a bit more lime juice and/or salt until you get the tartness you’re happy with.
- Pour into a container and if serving it right away allow to cool a bit more, otherwise store in the fridge covered for up to 4 days. Enjoy it over all of your favourite Mexican dishes, or as desired.
What Does Vegan Crema Taste Like
The result is a creamy, thick texture that spreads on smoothly.
The taste, well it’s insane how much like regular dairy this crema tastes. It doesn’t have a strong almond or almond milk taste.
This crema makes the best non-dairy sour cream substitute I have tasted thus far!
Thank you amigos for stopping by, I really hope you give this crema a try sometime. Have a beautiful day!!