Rajas con crema mixes strips of smoky poblano peppers with onions, garlic, and corn before cooking everything down in a creamy, cheesy, and velvety smooth sauce.
Serve this 100% plant-based version as a tasty side dish, light snack, or taco filler.
Rajas con crema is a Mexican dish that is about to become a staple in your kitchen repertoire. With so many customizations, you'll son find out why we enjoy this recipe at least once a week!
What are rajas con crema?
Rajas con crema highlights roasted poblano peppers cut into strips (rajas), which are then tossed with cream (con crema).
Once blackened, the peppers are then steamed and peeled, sliced, and sautéed with Mexican crema, cheese, onions, and corn.
While that's the simple version, there are of course a plethora of variations on rajas con crema — some with more ingredients, and others with less.
But in any case, the end result is an ooey-gooey, mildly spicy recipe. It's the perfect dish to serve on warm corn tortillas, or as a dip with tortilla chips.
Is rajas con crema vegan?
While this dish is generally vegetarian-friendly, the heavy use of cream and cheese makes it not very vegan-friendly.
But that didn't deter us from doing some experimenting with a dairy-free version. Instead of ingredients like Mexican crema and Oaxaca cheese, we used cashew crema and vegan mozzarella shreds.
Once everything comes together, the texture, taste, and consistency are pretty incredible if we do say so ourselves!
Chiles have been a well-known staple in the Mexican diet since pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica. It's hard to say an exact date when rajas con crema came to be, but it was likely during the colonial period when cows were brought over from Europe.
We imagine this creamy animal product was initially mixed with spicy peppers to create tamer, more palatable dishes (especially for those not used to the heat).
Nowadays, this dish can be found all over Mexico, often as an option at taco stands or taquerías.
You can enjoy rajas con crema as a simple-to-make side dish, but you can also serve this recipe stuffed into things like:
Also, the warm, creamy texture makes for a great chip dip. Your options are endless with this vegan and gluten-free recipe.
🍲 Key ingredients
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
Taste: fire-roasted poblano peppers provide a smoky, slightly spicy, and extremely flavorful element to this dish. If you haven't tried poblanos, they will steal your heart! If you find them too spicy, try Anaheim, Cubanelle, or even just bell peppers instead.
Health: poblano peppers are filled with vitamin A, C, and many different antioxidants that all play a role in helping your body fight off toxic free radicals.
Taste: with a refreshing flavor and smooth consistency, Mexican crema is the first choice when it comes to rajas con crema. Made from a base of soaked cashews, our vegan version will make you forget all about dairy!
Health: by opting for a plant-based recipe, you can avoid an ingredient made up of over 25% saturated fat (typical crema). Instead, try switching to healthy unsaturated fats (from cashews) that will actually help reduce your heart disease risk.
Taste: adding a little more salt, tang, and umami flavor is vegan mozzarella. We've found it to be the best replacement for most of the melty Mexican cheeses you can buy like Oaxaca, Manchego, Chihuahua, etc.
Health: one benefit of choosing plant-based cheese is eliminating the pesky cholesterol found in most dairy and meat products. If you didn't know, excess cholesterol has been shown to increase your risk of heart disease.
Taste: in addition to poblanos, corn, garlic, and white onions create more textures and flavors. While not a requirement, they make this tasty dish even more irresistible!
Health: corn not only adds extra sweetness to each bite, but it also contains two special carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin). Both are necessary to keep our eyes healthy and reduce our chances of developing cataracts.
If you have questions about this vegan rajas con crema recipe, don't forget to check out our FAQ section at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: roast the poblano peppers on your stove or in your oven until all sides are blackened and blistering. Transfer them to a bag or bowl with plastic wrap overtop to help loosen the skins, then peel the peppers.
Step 2: remove the seeds and veins of the poblanos (or don't if you want a spicier meal). Slice them into thin strips (rajas) and sauté them along with the onions, garlic, and corn.
Step 3: mix in vegan crema and vegetable broth, then lower the heat. Add in shredded vegan cheese and let it melt. Taste and season the mixture with salt and pepper to your liking.
Step 4: remove the pan from heat and serve it immediately in corn tortillas, as a side, or as a garnish. Happy eating!
We try to squeeze as many days as possible out of our rajas con crema for ease of use when building tacos. Follow these storage instructions so you can do the same!
This vegan version of rajas con crema should last in your fridge for up to 4-5 days. To ensure a proper seal and fresh flavors, we like to use airtight glass containers as they usually buy us another day or so.
If you're anything like us, you won't mind eating this delicious recipe right out of the container. But if you'd like it warm again, add the rajas con crema to a pan and cook it over low until heated through.
💭 Pro tips
We'd like to share some tips and tricks we learned while experimenting with this rajas con crema recipe:
- Roast the poblanos. Make sure your poblanos are really blackened and blistered all over for the most delicious, smoky flavors.
- Add a little heat. If you prefer more spice, try adding jalapeños, serranos, or habaneros to this recipe.
- Keep it simple. Omit the cheese and corn if you're looking for a more cost-effective and simple dish.
- Use Anaheim peppers. If poblanos are too spicy for you, try replacing them with Anaheim peppers or bell peppers.
- Bulk it up. Oftentimes, chicken is added to rajas con crema to make a hearty meal. Try replacing the chicken with shredded jackfruit or tofu for a plant-based version.
🍴 Tasting notes
Rajas con crema is one of those recipes that always comes to mind when we're feeling like comfort food. It's:
If you try this vegan take on rajas con crema, please rate it and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!
Rajas con Crema
- Cast-iron skillet
- Chef knife & cutting board
- Cheese grater
- 4 poblano peppers ($0.48)
- ½ white onion, thinly sliced ($0.12)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced ($0.12)
- ¾ cup corn kernels ($0.85)
- ¾ cup vegan Mexican crema ($0.92)
- ½ cup vegetable broth ($0.05)
- ¾ cup vegan mozzarella shreds ($0.93)
- Salt & pepper to taste ($0.02)
- Heat a cast-iron griddle or large skillet over high. Pan-roast the poblano peppers until all sides are blackened and blistered, about 10 minutes.
- Once they are done, transfer the poblanos to a Ziplock bag or bowl with plastic wrap overtop to help loosen the skins. Let them steam for 5-10 minutes, then peel the skins off.
- Remove the seeds and veins of the poblanos, then slice them into thin strips and set them aside (wash your hands well after handling or wear gloves).
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium, then add in onion slices and sauté for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Add in minced garlic and cook for another minute. Lastly, add in corn and poblano strips and cook for 2-3 minutes more.
- Lower the heat slightly, mix in vegan crema and vegetable broth, and cook until warmed, about 2 minutes. Add in shredded vegan cheese and combine until melted. Taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking.
- Remove from heat and serve immediately in corn tortillas, as a side dish, or garnish. Happy eating!
- Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of our recipes.
- We calculate nutritional information for our recipes with Cronometer.
- Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe-to-recipe.
- All prices are in USD.
♻️ Similar recipes
For more Mexican-inspired side dishes and salads, check out our:
- Ensalada de coditos to try elbow macaroni mixed with dill pickles, carrots, onion, celery, and a creamy vegan sauce. It's addicting!
- Mexican potato salad for buttery potatoes and crunchy vegetables covered in a dairy-free chipotle mayo sauce.
- Cactus salad if you're looking for a quick, easy, and vegan-friendly side dish, light dinner, or taco garnish.
A traditional rajas con crema recipe is high in saturated fat and cholesterol (not something we'd deem a health food). However, this dairy-free version is a nutritious alternative.
Other than the ideas mentioned in this post, some great dishes to serve rajas con crema with are Mexican rice, gorditas, or tamales.
If you can't find vegan cheese or prefer not to use it, you can add 1-2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast for an umami flavor.