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This creamy vegan chipotle sauce uses simple ingredients to make a flavor-packed condiment. It’s easy, smoky, spicy, and dairy-free! Use this deliciously rich sauce on grain bowls, roasted veggies, or burritos.
I use cashews as the base in most creamy sauces, like in my vegan honey mustard, cilantro cashew dressing, cashew lime crema, and cashew dijon dressing. They're neutral in flavor and become soft and creamy when soaked and pureed with a liquid. The other reason is that I’m not a fan of mayo.
I haven’t found a store-bought mayonnaise that I like and I’m not a fan of making one sauce in order to make another sauce. Hence the delightful little cashew! If you can’t have cashews or just prefer not to, substitute with vegan mayo and skip adding the water to the recipe. For a tahini-based sauce try smoky tahini dressing, it's not spicy but will give you a smoky-flavored sauce.
Ingredient notes and substitutions
Cashews - Use unsalted raw cashews. In a pinch, roasted unsalted should work fine. Either soak them overnight or in hot water for 15-20 minutes. The cashews can be substituted with ½ cup of vegan mayo and skip adding the water to the recipe.
Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce - They’re the main flavor driver for this condiment and can be found canned in the Mexican food aisle in your grocery store or ordered online. The recipe calls for one, but add more to taste depending on the size of the pepper and your spice tolerance.
Lemon Juice - Use freshly squeezed lemon juice, it can be substituted with lime juice.
Maple syrup - A little sweetness to balance the heat, this can be substituted with agave syrup or left out if you prefer.
Chipotle powder doesn’t give the same flavor as chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, but in a pinch, it can be used. Add it to taste.
Tips for leftover chipotle peppers
Leftover chipotle peppers in adobo sauce can be frozen. I portion off leftovers into ice cube trays to freeze for later. Place 1 or 2 chipotle peppers and a little of the sauce into each cube then freeze. Once frozen, pop the cubes out and place them in freezer safe bag or container. Thaw before using.
The cashews can be soaked overnight in enough water to cover them or try the boiling water method. Simply boil enough water to cover the cashews, then pour the hot water over them in a heat-proof container. I tend to use a coffee mug and let them soak for 15 to 20 minutes.
Either soak your cashews overnight or use the quick soaking method. Even with a high-speed blender I still soak my cashews (if I remember to) to ensure a creamy sauce. Sometimes the quick soak method won’t create as creamy of a sauce compared to the overnight method, or if you don’t have a high-speed blender.
Add everything to a blender and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust to suit your preferences. Prefer it hotter? Add a scoop of the adobo sauce or for more heat add another chipotle pepper. Add more water if you prefer a thinner consistency.
The smoky vegan chipotle sauce can be used in a variety of ways to add a boost of flavor to your meal.
- A dip for refried bean taquitos or burritos
- A sauce for tacos using lentil walnut taco meat
- Add it to a vegan taco bowl or vegan burrito bowl
- Use it as a salad dressing
- Top grain bowls with it, try it on chickpea vegetable rice bowl, vegan southwest sweet potato bowl, roasted sweet potato nourish bowl
- Use it as a sandwich spread or a condiment for vegan burgers
- Drizzle in on roasted vegetables or roasted potatoes
- For a super easy meal add it to baked potatoes
Store leftover vegan chipotle mayo in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about a week. Cashew sauces tend to thicken after chilling in the fridge, so stir in a little water to thin them out when ready to use.
- Smoky Tahini Dressing
- Lemon Herb Tahini
- Dijon Tahini Dressing
- Spicy Peanut Dressing (Oil-Free)
- Vegan Nacho Cheese
- Vegan Honey Mustard
- Cilantro Cashew Dressing
I hope you enjoy this spicy vegan sauce! If you like the recipe, feel free to rate it and leave a comment.Print
Vegan Chipotle Sauce
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- Diet: Vegan
This creamy vegan chipotle sauce uses simple ingredients to make a flavor-packed condiment. It’s easy, smoky, spicy, and dairy-free!
- ½ cup (70 g) raw cashews, soaked
- ⅓ cup (79 ml) water
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Add the soaked cashews and the rest of the ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth.
- Taste and adjust seasoning to taste. If you prefer it thinner, add more water.
Soak the cashews overnight or in hot water for 15-20 minutes.
You may need 1-2 lemons to get 3 tablespoons of lemon juice.
Cashew sauces will thicken after chilling in the fridge, stir in a little water to thin them out.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Category: dips
- Method: blender
- Cuisine: american
Keywords: vegan chipotle sauce, vegan chipotle mayo
I used the sauce for burritos, Yum!
I'm glad you enjoyed it!