Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cilantro Pepita Salad Dressing

If you have ordered the Mexican Caesar Salad at El Torito, you know the luscious creamy green dressing they make.  I find it so delicious that I inquired in the restaurant about the ingredients.  They don't divulge their recipe secrets, but I learned the dressing is full of high-fat mayonnaise.

I continued my sleuthing online and found many "copycat" recipes for this dressing.  They taste so close to the original that no one would know the difference.  But little ol' me does not want all that fat!

My version is much lighter and every bit as delicious.  You can throw together a salad with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds),  Mexican Cotija cheese and tortilla strips, then toss it with this dressing and dig in.  Buen appetito!

Cilantro Pepita Salad Dressing

1 4-ounce can fire-roasted diced chilies
1/4 cup roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
5 tablespoons grated Cotija cheese (or Parmesan if Cotija is unavailable)
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups light mayonnaise
1 cup fat free mayonnaise plus 1/2 cup full-fat mayonnaise
2 bunches fresh cilantro,  leaves pulled off stems

Place all ingredients except cilantro in blender.  Blend about 10 seconds to incorporate.  Add cilantro leaves a big handful at a time and blend.  Repeat until all cilantro is used.  Refrigerate several hours to allow flavors to blend.  Makes 1 quart, each 2-tablespoon serving one point plus.


  1. Natalia told me to check out your blog. This is really cool! I will have to try this

  2. Ive been making the copycat dressing for years, since I moved away from Cali( Ive since moved back) and missed that salad a lot. I never use full fat mayo, and I always cut the oil down. Sometimes I add a few tbls of greek yogurt. I always roast a chili and keep them in my freezer so I'm ready when the mood strikes. I make the salad and add chilled cheese tortellini to it. Its such a big hit at any gathering. Even when I lived in Canada, people gobbled it up.