Aji Verde Sauce (Peruvian-Inspired, Dairy-Free)

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Overhead shot of a jar of homemade aji verde next to cilantro, lime, and aji amarillo paste

This sauce is SO good we licked the blender clean. Inspired by Peruvian aji verde, this dairy-free version is equally creamy, spicy, smoky, and vibrant! 

Just 5 minutes, 1 blender, and 8 ingredients required for this versatile condiment perfect for bowls, salads, tacos, roasted potatoes, chicken, and so much more. Let us show you how it’s done!

Cashews, lime, salt, garlic, aji amarillo, cilantro, green onions, and maple syrup

What is Aji Verde?

Ají verde is a green hot sauce commonly served at Peruvian restaurants. It’s often made with cilantro, mayonnaise, lime juice, and spicy peppers, but everyone’s recipe is a bit different!

Our search for the origin story of this delicious sauce came up a bit empty-handed. But similar sauces with cilantro and ají peppers are believed to have been made in Peru, Bolivia, and Colombia since as early as the 13th century. Peruvian chef Luis Sanchez shares his version in this video but says it’s not necessarily a Peruvian sauce since something like it isn’t made in Peru.

The following is our inspired, mayo-free version similar to the herby, creamy, smoky sauce we’ve tried at Peruvian restaurants.

How to Make Vegan Aji Verde

This vegan version relies on cashews to mimic the creaminess usually provided by mayonnaise. We include lots of fresh cilantro for a vibrant green color and fresh flavor, green onion and garlic for kick, lime juice for brightness, and salt and maple syrup for balance.

Blender with cashews, aji amarillo paste, green onion, garlic, cilantro, and water

Then it’s on to the smoky star of this show: aji amarillo paste. While jalapeño does also work, it gives more fresh + spicy notes. Aji amarillo, on the other hand, gives this sauce a smoky, enchilada-esque aftertaste (major yum, just know it’s one of those things you’ll probably need to order online).

When you blend it all up with water, a creamy, bright, versatile condiment is yours to enjoy!

Vibrant green aji verde sauce in a blender

We hope you LOVE this sauce! It’s:

Quick & easy
& Lick-from-the-blender good!

It’s a versatile condiment delicious on everything from bowls to salads, tacos, roasted potatoes, chicken, and more!

More Creamy Vegan Sauces

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Thick, creamy aji verde sauce dripping from a spoon into a jar

Aji Verde Sauce (Peruvian-Inspired, Dairy-Free)

Creamy, spicy, smoky Peruvian aji verde sauce, made dairy-free! A vibrant condiment for bowls, salads, tacos, and more. Just 8 ingredients, 1 blender, and 5 minutes required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Overhead shot of a jar of vegan aji verde sauce
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 6 (~2-Tbsp servings)
Course Sauce
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Peruvian-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 3-4 Days


  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup water (plus more as needed)
  • 2 stalks green onion, ends trimmed (2 stalks yield ~1/2 cup or 40 g)
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1-2 Tbsp aji amarillo paste (depending on heat preference // or sub 1/2 – 1 seeded jalapeño)
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (or honey if not vegan)
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp sea salt


  • Place all ingredients (starting with the lesser amounts) in a small blender (or high-speed blender*, but you will need to make a larger batch to cover the blades and encourage creaminess). Blend until smooth and creamy, scraping down sides as needed.
  • Taste and adjust as needed, adding more lime juice for brightness, aji amarillo (or jalapeño) for heat, sweetener of choice to balance the heat, or salt for overall flavor. You can also add more water 1 Tbsp at a time if you prefer a thinner sauce.
  • Enjoy right away or chill for 1 hour to thicken. Delicious on bowls, salads, tacos, and more.
  • Leftover sauce will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days, though the color will be more muted. Not freezer friendly — it will discolor and lose its freshness.


*We tested with a vegan mayo base and prefer the cashew base because it’s thicker and richer, so the aji amarillo isn’t overpowering.
*You can also make this recipe using an immersion blender and glass measuring cup, but it doesn’t get as smooth and may need slightly more water.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with the lesser amounts of aji amarillo paste and salt.
*Loosely adapted from Food & Wine and Feasting at Home.

Nutrition (1 of 6 servings)

Serving: 1 (two tablespoon) serving Calories: 38 Carbohydrates: 3.5 g Protein: 1.2 g Fat: 2.4 g Saturated Fat: 0.4 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4 g Monounsaturated Fat: 1.3 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 144 mg Potassium: 74 mg Fiber: 0.4 g Sugar: 1.4 g Vitamin A: 82 IU Vitamin C: 4.8 mg Calcium: 11 mg Iron: 0.5 mg

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My Rating:

  1. Dana C. says

    Words used to describe this sauce: outstanding, amazing, phenomenal, awesome, delicious. I believe this will become a staple. Thank you!

  2. Colleen Lowe says

    Yum!!! Made this without the paste or a jalepeno cause I didn’t have either and it was sooooo good. It would taste amazing on so many things. I just love it with brown rice!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Dana, cilantro complements the flavors best, but we do think parsley would be the next best option. Let us know if you try it!

  3. Cassandra Russell says

    Made this tonight to go with the chicken tacos. Was a hit. So tasty and nice and spicy. I did it in my Thermomix so it was not smooth and was still amazing.

  4. Carol Edwards says

    Hmmmm what to do with cilantro and scallions (that came from my Harvest box I received 2 weeks ago from The Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano)….I needed a receipe to use them up since my new box is ready for pick up. I threw all of the ingredience in my Vitamix blender and Voila! Beautiful green, slightly spicy fresh sauce that I’ll be putting on my homemade chilli rellano’s tonight. Thanks Dana for this simple yet beautiful and delicious recipe. You always come through for me.

  5. RJ says

    Easy, tasty sauce, this will be a regular in our household. I did sub in the jalapeno since that’s what we commonly have around, I will try roasting it next time. Great on taco salad or burrito bowls-I forgot to add cheese or sour cream and didn’t even notice this sauce was so satisfying.

  6. andrea says

    As a Peruvian I find it most curious that this seems to be a common sauce in Peruvian restaurants in the US as it is really different from any ají-based sauce that you’ll find here (in Perú).
    For me it’s kind of like saying “Italian-inspired deep dish pizza”.

    I’m actually kind of curious to try it….

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Andrea, that’s so interesting! Thanks for letting us know. Let us know if you try it!