bake | raw vegan lime tart

recipe for raw vegan lime tart

As I wrote in a previous post, I love all things creamy — especially desserts.  However, as I started eating a more whole-food dairy-free diet, cream pies are now out of the question. I do still have a soft spot for citrus desserts — lemon, lime, orange, and especially meyer lemon, which we’re lucky enough to have in the Bay Area.  And even more lucky is that our very sweet neighbor has a huge meyer lemon tree, and she kindly lets us pick off all the meyer lemons that grow on our side of the fence.

Recently, I have been trying to make a healthy citrus dessert and have been searching for a whole-grain low-fat crust to go with it.  Unfortunately, even Cook’s Illustrated, which tests and develops thousands of recipes, determined that it simply could not create a low-fat pie crust recipe that tasted good.  I was, of course, heart-broken, until I discovered the world of raw pie crusts!  Although these crusts don’t have the flakiness and butteriness of traditional pie crusts, they’re filled with heart-healthy nuts and naturally sweet dates.  I found that these crusts pair well with a creamy filling, and when I made this lime tart, my kids gladly gobbled it down and licked their plates clean.  This yummy tart is vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free and has no processed sugar.  How can that be, you may ask?  It’s filled with a rich cashew cream made only with cashews, lime, vanilla, a dash of salt and a touch of honey — simply delicious!

Raw Vegan Lime Tart

1 cup dates
1/3 cup walnuts
1/3 cup cashews
1/3 cup almonds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Blend crust ingredients well in a food processor until mixture is sticky.  Press into a tart pan and place in the refrigerator while preparing filling.

Cashew Cream
2 cups raw cashews (soaked for at least 2 hours)
1/4 -1/2 cup lime juice + 1 teaspoon lime zest (depending on desired lime flavor intensity)
1/4 cup honey (or maple syrup or other preferred liquid sweetener)
2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch of salt
1/4 cup water (adjust according to desired consistency)

Blend cashew cream ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth. Pour over crust and garnish with lime wedges. Enjoy!


      • I made this tonight and my cashew cream seemed a little grainy. The texture does not appear as creamy as yours. I soaked my cashews for a little over 2 hours. Do you think I should soak them longer or is there something else that can help with this issue? Thanks!!!

        • Hi Ashley, Glad you tried the recipe, and sorry to hear it turned out a bit grainy. Were you able to use a high-speed blender like a vitamix or a blendtec? If you don’t have a high-speed blender, then soaking the cashews overnight will help them soften more. Hope that helps!

  1. Awesome images and I love the stories you tell to accompany your photographs. Would you be willing to share info about the set up you use to take such clear and beautiful photos of objects? Thanks.

    • Thank you so much for all the kind words, Dr. Jude Rathburn! Before I started this little blog, I thought I wouldn’t even write anything with the pictures, so it’s so nice to hear that you enjoy the stories :). I use a 50mm 1.8 prime lens, which is a very sharp lens with good bokeh. I also like to use diffused lighting from either a side window or with back lighting (as much light as you can get without it being direct). The close up photos can be taken either with extension tubes or a macro lens. I also like to increase the exposure on food photos for that bright clean look. Hope that helps!

  2. I’m so excited to make this tart for dessert tonight! Thanks for sharing. And, your photography is stunning! I use the same lens for food photography and love it.

  3. It’s truly delicious and also you present outstanding photography, a great combination! :-)
    Have a lovely evening.
    Greeting from the North

    • Thank you, Dina! I definitely love when treats not only taste good, but are good for you, too — no guilt when I end up eating half of it myself ;). All the best to you!

  4. I don’t have a tart pan but would love to try this recipe. Would a pie dish work or wll the amount be off?

    • Hi Suzanne! I haven’t tried this with a pie dish, but I believe the rectangular tart pan I use is approximately half the volume of a pie dish. So, maybe doubling the recipe would fit your dish better. However, any dish would probably be fine since the recipe is raw and you don’t have to worry about it being oven safe. Hope that helps!

  5. the crust was very delicious but I found the cashew cream just slightly bland. I think if I had lime extract or more lime juice, or even just coconut milk instead of lime it might have been a bit better. It’s not you, I think I have just not acquired the taste for cashew cream yet.I would still make it again, just with a few changes. The crust was really really good, thank you for the recipe.

    • Glad you tried the recipe, Shannon, and enjoyed the crust. I wonder if adding more lime juice to the filling or adding lime zest would have helped intensify the flavour. The taste for cashew cream does get a little getting used to :). I’ll make some changes to the recipe based on your suggestions — thanks!

  6. What works best to soak the cashews in for the cream? Just water? Anything else that would add extra flavor ? Can`t wait to try it tomorrow!

    • Hi Brandi! Usually, cashews are just soaked in water to make cashew cream, but you could probably soak them in lime juice (if you had enough) for an even more intense lime flavour. Hope that helps, and hope you enjoy the recipe!

  7. Hi Neely, this is my first attempt at anything raw and dairyfree and I am just wondering about the cashew milk – do you soak them in water (or whatever else) and then take them out and blend or do you need to blend them with the water they were soaked in? And how much water would I have to use for it then? Thanks so much!

    • Hi Julia! So glad you are going to try cashew cream! The easiest way to do it is to soak the cashews in enough water to cover them, and then just get rid of the water and only blend the cashews with the other ingredients. I do use a Vitamix, which helps in blending everything very smoothly. The amount of liquid you add (whether it be the 1/4-1/2 cup lime juice and the few tablespoons of water) will vary depending on your desired consistency. Hope that helps!

    • Hi Nadia! I have never tried the recipe with anything but raw nuts, but I would guess that it would turn out very similar, but might have not as smooth of a texture. I would definitely not use any nuts that are seasoned or even salted because they may change the flavor of the tart, but I think plain roasted would be a reasonable substitute. You may also notice that the tart would have a darker color if you don’t use raw. I have been able to find raw nuts for a good price at Trader Joe’s and/or Costco. Hope you enjoy it!

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  10. This looks amazing! I plan on making it with agave nectar to make it vegan. Can’t wait to try it! :)

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    • Hi Leona — I’ve never tried it with raisins, but I don’t think the crust would have the same consistency, particularly since raisins have a tougher “skin” to them and don’t seem like they’d break down as easily. You can try with a small amount of raisins and nuts to test it, but again, I’ve never tried it, so I’m not sure how it would turn out. Good luck!

  13. Hi Neely…just made this for Easter Sunday and wow!!!! So awesome…I used a spring form pan…used real key limes(not the best like tiny little marbles) but got at least 1/4 a cup of juice and added lemon juice…I didn’t need to add water…used maple syrup as I am vegan. This is just great recipe…I can’t thank you enough…truly brilliant!!!

    • Oh I’m so glad you liked it, Kathy, and that it turned out well! It has such a great tangy flavor, perfect for Spring! I haven’t tried it with maple syrup yet, but will have to do that soon. Happy Easter!

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  17. Thank you for this recipe. I soaked 1 cup of dates with the cashews as the sweetener. Turned out great!

  18. This looks amazing and I am definitely going to make it this weekend. How many people does this serve?

    • Hi Ashlyn — so glad you want to try making this tart! It’s hard to say how many people this will serve as it depends how big of an appetite your guests have :). The tart pan I used was 14″ x 5″ if that helps. Hope you enjoy it!

  19. I am planning on making this for my GF/Vegan guests for a surprise party this weekend…my question is how well does this store? Can I make this a day or 2 ahead of time?

    • Hi Shannon — I’m not absolutely sure, but I think this will hold up well for a couple of days if placed in a very cold part of your refrigerator. It might also help not to add too much lime juice to keep the filling thick (maybe a bit more zest instead to capture the lime flavor). Hope it works out!

  20. Hi Neely, just wanted to know if I could use figs (maybe just the insides) instead of dates for the crust? This will give me something else to make with the figs I harvest from my tree.

    • Hi Alice — I’ve never tried using figs before. The dates provide a sweetness to the crust and keep everything together. If you feel like the figs would do the same thing, then go ahead and try it — I’d love to hear how it turns out! I think if you use dried figs, the consistency might be more similar to the dried dates. I’d maybe test a little bit first (that is, blend up a few figs and some nuts just to see if it holds together). How lucky of you to have a fig tree — yum!

  21. Hey!
    Can’t wait to try it out!!
    Just a few things i would like to know is that, can you refrigerate it? Can it be stored out for few hours before eating?

    And thanks for sharing this guilt free recipe :)

    • Hi Pryanka — yes, you can refrigerate it for a few days, which will also allow it to stay firm and keep its shape. I believe it can also be stored at room temperature for a couple hours before eating as well. Some people prefer it cold, some prefer it room temperature. Hope you enjoy it!

    • Hi Jillian — I’ve heard that you could substitute raisins, dried figs or prunes for dates. I’ve never tried these substitutions, but think they’d provided a similar sweetness and texture to the crust as dates. However, I do prefer dates, especially medjool dates, because they have a taste reminiscent of brown sugar, which makes the flavors a bit more similar to a traditional crust. Good luck!

  22. I made it!! thank you so much! if u have an email i would love to send u the pics! cause here i dont know how… but im in love with this <3 . Kisses from Uruguay!

    • So glad you tried the recipe and enjoyed it, Jime! I’d love to see the pics. Just shoot me a message on my contact me page, and we can connect more there — thanks!

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  25. Made this for my husband’s birthday tonight… a-maz-ing!!! We loved it! The crust and the filling were perfect. Added a few strawberries to the top and it was just right. More adventurous older teen liked it, younger teen liked the cream filling ok, but not the crust as much. More for the adults! Soaking the cashews and using a high-speed blender really made it super creamy. (Note: I did add a little under a tablespoon of kefir whey to the cream to add probiotics.)

    • So glad you made the tart and that you and your husband enjoyed it! I always get nervous when people make the recipe for special occasions — just in case you might not like it. But so happy you did, and what a great idea to add strawberries and kefir — I’ll have to try that some time! Thanks for letting me know how it all turned out!

  26. I used your crust recipe for a chocolate pudding tart I made last week and it was so delicious! This week I made the whole thing with the substitution of lemon for the lime. It is delicious! I love how easy the recipe is. No crazy obscure ingredients, simple flavore shine through. Thanks for this wonderful recipe.

    • Hi Madeline! I’m so glad to hear that the recipe turned out so well and that you enjoyed it. I also appreciate how you were able to create different desserts with the recipe just being a base — how fun! Thanks for stopping by and letting me know how it turned out!

    • Hi Lauren! So glad you tried the recipe and enjoyed it! I used raw cashews in mine – perhaps that is why? And I think depending on what sweetener you choose, that will also affect the color. Thanks for letting me know that you enjoyed the recipe!

      • I think you nailed it… Roasted cashews vs raw! Even though it was tan, it still tasted delicious :) thanks again for the recipe

  27. Hi, i’m in the process of trying your recipe, but i found out that the cashew cream turned out to be brown instead of white, could it be because of the cashews color ?

  28. Hi Neely, Great recipe! Just out of curiosity, how to do you remove it from the tart pan without ruining the crust? Being it’s a bit sticky, I figured there may be a trick. This is a great base to use for any flavor. Thanks for sharing! Stacy

  29. Yum! Just made this. I think next time I will add more like 3/4 cup of lime juice but that’s just because I prefer a strong lime flavor. :)

    • Hi Kaya! Glad you tried the recipe and enjoyed it! I’m a citrus lover as well, so I totally get wanting to add more juice — hope it works out well in the future!

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