15 Minutes To…Creamy Cilantro Dressing

If you are from Southern California, I think it is pretty much a prerequisite that you love Mexican food. And I have to admit, we are kind of snobs about it. Who has the best guac and chips. Who has the most crispy, authentic baja fish tacos. And of course who serves the most tangy, salty and buzz-inducing margarita.

This Cinco de Mayo we are going to host our own taqueria fiesta. All our favorites will be served, including my waist-friendly Skinny Girl Margaritas and Cheater Baja Fish Tacos, Picky Palate’s Slow Cooker Carnitas and the gourmet-tasting-but-oh-so-easy Brie & Walnut Quesadillas with Tropical Fruit Salsa.

With all this cheese, pork, avocado and chips, a girl’s gotta have something green to make her feel a little less guilty! A family friend gave me this recipe several years ago, and it is one of my favorite salad dressings. The ingredients may look daunting and intimidating, but it really isn’t hard and can be made several days ahead. In fact, the hardest part is roasting the chili and I do that when I have a 15-20 minute window, like when the kids are eating breakfast. I just leave the roasted chili in the ziploc bag until I am ready to make the dressing.

The Creamy Cilantro Dressing is perfect for any Southwest Salad. My favorite is a combination of romaine and mixed greens, black beans, grilled corn, roasted red peppers, sliced cherry tomatoes, cotija cheese, sliced avocado and of course those addictive bagged tortilla strips. I’ve also used the dressing as a dipping sauce for taquitos or even in a fish taco in lieu of the classic lime-infused white sauce.

And stay tuned for tomorrow’s post as I talk about a new kitchen gadget that makes creating homemade salad dressings even easier and the clean-up less of a hassle.


  • 2 medium Anaheim chilis, roasted, peeled and seeded (look at this previous post to see how)
  • 3 TBSP. roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 TBSP red wine vinegar
  • 3 TBSP crumbled cotija cheese
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, leaves only
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste


  • Place roasted chilis, pepitas, garlic, oil, vinegar, cotija cheese, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor. Blend until very smooth.
  • Add cilantro and continue blending.
  • Add mayonnaise and blend again.
  • Add water to achieve desired consistency.


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One comment on “15 Minutes To…Creamy Cilantro Dressing

  1. 1
    Dawne Clarke says:

    Where do you get the cojito cheese? Can you get it at Albertsons or Ralph’s? Does it go by a different name in the store? Thx!

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