Vegan Lime Crema (Mexican Sour Cream)

by Sarah on May 14, 2013 · 12 comments

Despite a slightly rough start–which had the bonus of allowing me to finally infiltrate the depths of the Whole Foods prep kitchen–last night’s Meatless (Mexican) Monday Health Starts Here cooking class was a mess success.

There were many members of the Clean Plate Club–

–and the chef was able to join the Clean PAN Club once again.

Of course, I’m not sure that we really learned anything, aside from how NOT to put together a portable burner, bread knives are not good for chopping mint, and that–for people with non-“I lived in Austin and nothing is spicy anymore” tastebuds–the Vegan Lime Crema (Mexican sour cream) is absolutely necessary for cooling down the heat from my cayenne-spiked Cinnamon Cocoa Mole with TVP Chorizo.

Mexican crema is almost like sour cream, but to me, it is a little bit thinner, and a little bit sweeter.

The consistency is a bit different, in that it doesn’t dollop, so much as glop.

Some versions are as thin as heavy whipping cream, apparently, but when I was in Mexico, the texture was a bit closer to yogurt or mayonnaise. [Not to be confused, of course, with mayonesa.]

For this vegan version, I turned to tofu.

Firm tofu, vinegar, a pinch of salt, and a generous squeeze of lime juice are really all you need.If you use a food processor, you’ll have to add just a tablespoon of water to help reduce some of the gritty nubbiness that comes when you mix tofu in the wide bowl. [See above.]

But if you use an immersion (or other) blender–

this is the single-serving method

–you should be just fine.

The crema will be thickened–as in the photo above–and gloopy right away, but refrigeration helps get it closer to American sour cream dollop-ability. However, you can also add some xantham gum if you have it available to you.Make sure to add it while the food processor is running, or work very quickly with the blender.Another variation would be to use lemon juice, but why? (Sorry, Maria, but lime trumps lemon, almost all the time.)

One thing you cannot forget is just a tad bit of sweetener: agave nectar is the obvious* choice.

*Agave makes tequila. And tequila makes us think we are Mexican.

You can add even more agave and then turn it into a dessert crema, topping fresh fruit with a nice dusting of cinnamon–or maybe chili powder?–coconut, and chopped pistachios.

Or keep it as is, for savory dishes.

Now, if only I had a baked (sweet) potato.

Vegan Lime Crema (Mexican Sour Cream)

  • 14 oz. firm tofu’
  • 3 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 4 tsp. vinegar
  • 1/2 salt
  • 1 Tbsp. water (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp. xantham gum (optional)
  • 1 tsp agave*
  1. Combine tofu, vinegar, lime juice, and salt in a food processor or blender.
  2. Process until smooth, adding water for creamier consistency if desired. [If using a food processor, you almost certainly will need it.]
  3. If using xantham gum, add through processor chute as machine is on, or work very quickly to blend.
  4. Stir in agave nectar.
  5. You may use immediately, but some time in the fridge will help to thicken it up considerably!

*Increasing the amount of agave will create a sweet crema, perfect for topping fresh tropical fruit as a light dessert. [Chopped nuts, cinnamon, and shredded coconut optional, but encouraged.]


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