This fresh citrus salsa recipe and vegan citrus cream sauce is delicious and can be used on just about anything! Perfect in tacos or as an amazing dip!
This post was originally published on June 25, 2018.
If you're looking for a change-up from your everyday tomato-based salsa, then this recipe is going to knock your socks off. Made with oranges and grapefruit this tangy and sweet salsa is sure to hit the right spot. Not to mention, you can use the leftover juice to make this vegan citrus cream sauce.
Citrus Salsa and Vegan Cream Sauce
Two recipes in one, what could possibly be better! You might be thinking, how on earth do you get a cream sauce from citrus salsa? I'm glad you asked. I came up with delicious citrus salsa. It was uber juicy so I decided to strain some of the juice off. The key was fresh ripe fruit!
The flavor was so good, I simply could not waste the juice. I thought I should throw it in a blender! I added some cashews and a little more lemon and got this vegan citrus cream sauce. It is insanely good.
My kids love the combination of the sweet and salty flavor in both of these toppings. The fresh pepper gives it a touch of spice, but not enough to make it super spicy. You can always adjust to meet your spice needs (read, I almost triple it because I'm crazy like that).
How to make citrus salsa:
- Take the peels and skin off of the oranges and grapefruit.
- Chop in a food processor.
- Strain the salsa using a sieve and set juice aside.
- Enjoy with your favorite dippers!
How to make the citrus cream sauce:
- Take the leftover juice from the fruit salsa and pour it into a high-speed blender with the other ingredients.
- Blend on high until creamy smooth!
Tips and Tricks for the citrus salsa:
- Instead of simply peeling then chopping the oranges and grapefruit, you can take your time and get only fruit meat. Cut the fruit into fourths and invert each piece. Then peel the peel off of the fruit, and carefully remove each section of pulp from the skins. The oranges can be more delicate so if this is too cumbersome simply slice the peels off as much as you can, then chop.
- When straining the salsa to get the juice, allow it to sit and move around with your fingers to drain as much juice as you can.
- Put the fruit into the processor last. They puree easily and you want the cilantro, onion, and pepper chopped before you stick the fruit in or you will get really pureed salsa. Citrus salsa is best a bit chunky.
Tips and tricks to making this citrus cream sauce:
- If you don't have a high-speed blender, the best way to get ultra smooth and creamy citrus cream sauce is by using a coffee grinder to grind the cashews. You do this without soaking them, this works much better than soaking and really does give an ultra smooth result! Also, make sure you clean the grinder, the coffee flavor will not pair well with this, LOL
But Sophia, what do you use this with?
Let me tell you, as much as I love my traditional tomato based salsa, we are so obsessed that we keep finding new ways to use it. If you find one not listed, I'd love to hear what you did in the comments below!
- Chips and dip, and a little citrus drizzle
- Tacos, because duh
- Use the cream as a mayo like spread
- Top a baked potato, try a baked sweet potato for a real flavor bomb
- Swap regular tomato salsa for this citrus variety in a burrito
- Veggie wrap, grilled veggies or raw
- Summery light and flavorful nachos, we liked it best with black beans
- Veggies and citrus cream dip
- Quesadillas smothered in both
- On top of enchiladas, not baked with it but once they are served
- Spread the cream on grilled corn
If you loved this recipe, you will also love:
- Vegan roasted tacos with citrus salsa
- Spicy strawberry chile salsa
- Oil-Free baked corn tortilla chips
- Easy Pineapple Salsa
Citrus Salsa Recipe (Plus a Bonus Recipe)
- 2 cups oranges , peeled and coarsely chopped (naval variety are best, about 3-4, see note)
- 1 cup grapefruit , peeled and coarsely chopped (about 1 grapefruit, see note)
- ½ cup red onion , coarsely chopped (about ¼ of a medium onion)
- ¼ cup cilantro , packed in for measuring
- 1 tablespoon Serrano pepper , chopped and seeds removed (about ½ a pepper)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice , Meyer lemon is best
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- ½ tablespoon garlic , roughly chopped (about 2-3 cloves)
- 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
Citrus Cream Sauce:
- 1 cup juice from salsa , see instructions
- 1 ¼ cups cashews (see note)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice , Meyer lemon is best
- You can peel the skin off of the oranges and grapefruit or leave it on. I made it both ways and while it is nice to have all fruit meat, the skin didn’t bother me much. The easiest way to remove the thin white skin from the grapefruit and oranges so that you only get the pulp is cut them into fourths and invert them, see photo in post. Peel the peel off of the fruit and then individually get each section out of the skin. For the oranges, it can be hard because they are more delicate so cut the peel and thick white sections off and simply chop that way. Or do this for both to make it easy.
- Put onion, cilantro, pepper, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, garlic, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until chopped.
- Add cleaned grapefruit and oranges to the processor and pulse a few times. I like mine chunky.
- Drain the salsa with sieve and save the juice. You should get 1 cup juice. If you don’t your citrus wasn’t ripe enough. If you get less juice, then when making the cream, simply adjust the amount of cashews and lemon juice for whatever amount of citrus juice you got from the salsa. For example, if you get ½ cup citrus juice, use ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons cashews and 1 teaspoon lemon juice.
- To make cream, put all the ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy.
- Use both toppings in tacos, as a dip, in wraps, over nachos or simple devour with a spoon!
- This recipe makes 2 different toppings within one recipe, EACH one makes 1 ½ cups to total 3 cups. The serving size is ¼ cup of EACH, so ½ cup total. The nutrition info includes it all, both ¼ cup salsa and ¼ cup cream.
- You can always not make the cream if you prefer not to.
- If you are not using a high speed blender, you can grind the dry cashews into a fine powder using a coffee grinder (do not boil them for this method).
Recipe by Veggies Don’t Bite, visit our site for more great plant-based recipes.
Nutrition and metric information should be considered an estimate.
Hello,I am going to try this recipe this week.
Thank you for your sharing.
Awesome Camille! You're welcome!
I love this salsa and cream! So original and innovative!
I recently joined your mailing list because your recipes look so tasty! I love how you get 2 recipes in 1 with this! I try not to waste food, but am not a skilled enough cook to think of repurposing juices. Seriously love that you were able to make two distinct creations!
Thank you so much for joining and for your kind words! I'm so happy you love the sound of this recipe, I use in so many different ways from tacos to over veggies...even on it's own as a dip it's great. Really hope you enjoy it!
New to your site...The cashews in the sauce recipe - are they plain raw or do you toast/roast them first ? Thanks for your help.
Hi Mary! Plain raw cashews is what you need to use. Welcome to the site!!