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Cilantro Lime Sauce

This cilantro lime sauce is the perfect condiment for any Mexican food. It’s spicy, fresh, acidic, and super creamy, but entirely vegan! 

I’m a big believer that sauces can make dishes. A good sauce can take even a mediocre recipe and turn it into something special. This cilantro lime sauce is one of my go-to sauces. It has pretty much everything I’m looking for in a good sauce. It’s super fresh, with tons of cilantro, and the lime adds a strong kick of acidity. Chili powder adds a lot of spice to this sauce, and it’s rich and creamy despite being vegan. What more could you possibly want? 

I put this sauce on just about everything. It’s perfect with Mexican food, so I’m always putting it on a taco or in a burrito. But it’s great on other cuisines too, and I love to drizzle it all over a piece of grilled meat.

The secret to this recipe is to use soaked cashews. They give the cilantro lime sauce the richness of crema while being vegan and healthy. Plus, the nutty flavor goes really well with the herbs, citrus, and spices. 

Overhead view of the ingredients needed for cilantro lime sauce: a bowl of cashews, a pyrex of water, a bowl of salt, a bowl of pepper, a bowl of chili powder, a bowl of garlic powder, a bunch of cilantro, a whole lime, and a lime cut in half

What You’ll Need

Here are all the ingredients you’ll need to make this fresh and tangy sauce. Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the article to see the exact quantities for all the ingredients. 

  • Cashews – You’ll need to soak the cashews in water for 6 hours before making this recipe.
  • Water
  • Limes
  • Cilantro
  • Chili powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper – Always use freshly-cracked pepper.

How to Make Cilantro Lime Sauce

Here’s how to make this sauce. It couldn’t be any easier!

  • Combine ingredients. Add all of the ingredients to a powerful blender. 
  • Blend. Blend the sauce on high until it is smooth. 
  • Adjust. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings to your liking.
Side by side of a blender filled with cilantro, lime juice, cashews, water, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and chili powder, and all of those ingredients blended into a sauce

Tips for Success

Here are a few of my favorite tricks to help you out when making cilantro lime sauce. 

  • Roll the limes. Before juicing your limes, roll them firmly on a counter like they’re a rolling pin. This will get some of the segments in the limes to burst, and you’ll feel the limes get softer. As a result, you’ll get more juice out of the limes, and the juice will taste better.
  • Use the stems. Most people only use cilantro leaves. However, the stems of cilantro have even more flavor than the leaves. You can’t use cilantro stems in every recipe because of the texture. But since this sauce is blended until smooth, you can use the stems as well as the leaves to maximize the cilantro flavor. 
  • Speed up the soak. This recipe requires soaking cashews in water for 6 hours. If you don’t have that time, you can speed up the process by soaking the cashews in boiling water for 30 minutes. 
A plate with grilled chicken covered in cilantro lime sauce, topped with cilantro leaves and lime slices

What to Serve it With

I put this vegan sauce on pretty much everything. Sandwiches, meats, you name it! But my favorite way to use it is to put it on tacos. Here are a few of my favorite taco recipes that you can put cilantro lime sauce on. 

How to Store Leftovers

I love to keep a jar of this herby sauce in the fridge. Store it in an airtight container and it will last for at least 1 week. 

Can This Recipe Be Frozen?

I don’t recommend freezing sauces because the texture can get a little funky. However, it will last for 5 months in the freezer if you store it in an airtight container. You may have to blend the sauce again after thawing it because it might separate. 

Overhead view of a jar of cilantro lime sauce with a wooden spoon in it

More Vegan Sauces to Make

As I said, I love sauces. They’re one of my secrets for turning a so-so meal into a great one. Here are some of my other favorite healthy sauces. 

Cilantro Lime Sauce

This easy cilantro lime sauce is perfect on tacos, burritos, or any piece of meat. It's fresh, spicy, acidic, and creamy, but 100% vegan!
author: Alyssa
yield: 6 servings
A jar of cilantro lime sauce with a spoon being removed from it, surrounded by lime slices, cilantro leaves, and a kitchen towel
Prep: 5 minutes
Soaking Time:: 6 hours
Total: 5 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup cashews (soaked for 6 hours)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

Instructions
 

  • Combine all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

Notes

  • To speed up the recipe, soak the cashews in boiling water for 30 minutes.
  • For extra flavor, use the cilantro stems as well as the leaves.
  • Store the cilantro lime sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 week. 

Nutrition

Serving: 2tablespoons | Calories: 61kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 199mg | Potassium: 83mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 95IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg
cuisine: Mexican
course: Condiment

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