my favorite cilantro dressing
I don’t know about you, but for me, store-bought salad dressing almost always gets a thumbs-down. Besides being full of all kinds of questionable ingredients that I can’t pronounce, it just doesn’t taste as good as homemade. (One exception is Bragg’s Viniagrette*. Pretty yummy and all healthy ingredients.) Homemade cilantro salad dressing is my absolute favorite!
Making your own salad dressing is not as hard or complicated as it may sound. It can be as simple as using a delicious flavored vinegar and extra-virgin oil with some salt & fresh-ground pepper. But I frequently want something creamy and rich that really coats the vegetables in my salad and turns it into a satisfying meal. Maybe you can relate?
This is just the recipe you need on those occasions! It is my go-to salad dressing — bright, fresh, and simple to make. I make a batch at the beginning of the week and keep it in a pint mason jar in the fridge all week. I use it for salads, as a topping for chili or tomato soup, with my grain bowls or roasted vegetables… Sometimes I have even been known to eat it straight off a spoon!
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Genét's Cilantro-Lime Salad Dressing
1/4 cup raw cashew pieces
If you have a Blendtec or Vitamix blender, you can skip soaking the cashews. If not, soak the cashews in hot water for 20 minutes and then rinse before continuing. You could also use an avocado or whole-milk plain yogurt if you are not sensitive to dairy to achieve the same creaminess.
1/4 cup light olive oil, avocado oil, hemp oil
I think extra virgin olive oil is too peppery for this recipe. I like a more neutral oil. (While some experts have found that more refined oils with less flavor are not as good for us as less-refined, full-flavor oils, light-tasting olive oil is still a better choice than any kind of vegetable oil. You can decide what you are comfortable with.) I also use avocado oil or hemp oil on occasion, depending on what I have on hand. Play with different oils to see which you like best.
3-4 tablespoons lime juice, depending on your taste
Fresh squeezed tastes the best. The second best option is Santa Cruz Organic Lime Juice*. I think it tastes much better than regular bottled lime juice from concentrate and is worth the extra money. You can also use lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. It will change the flavor profile a bit, so again, play around with it to see what you like.
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, washed
I use the entire stalk of the cilantro for this recipe. I simply pull out any bad leaves and then throw the whole thing into the blender. The stalks taste great all blended up! If you have used just the cilantro leaves for another recipe, you can use the leftover stalks in this recipe. So easy!
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled
Use a fresh, whole garlic clove. (I like to buy the ones that are already peeled.) I would not recommend using the minced garlic from a jar. It adds a really sharp flavor to the dressing that I don’t enjoy. In a pinch use garlic powder instead.
1-2 teaspoons salt
I like to use Himalayan Pink Salt*. It is not contaminated with modern environmental toxins nor has it been stripped of all its natural nutrients, like regular table salt. It is also just a taste preference. Try some different brands/types of salt — you’ll be surprised how different they taste!
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Put all the ingredients in a high-powered blender. Add a little bit of water as needed to get the desired consistency.
Serve immediately. Store leftover dressing covered in the refrigerator for up to a week. The dressing will thicken up over time so you may need to add a little more water when you pull it out again. Alternatively, if you had water at the beginning, it may separate in the fridge and you will need to stir before serving.
Another option is to replace the lime juice with lemon juice, and then add fresh mint and parsley in with the cilantro in equal parts. Super yum!
*Not affiliate links. I just like these products.
If you’ve cooked with me, you know that I am not a big fan of measuring! It’s too much hassle. I’d much rather go by "feel". (Of course, this means my results are not always perfect, but it’s worth the trade-off to me!) Given that, all the measurements in this recipe are approximate. Please feel free to vary them according to your taste as you play around with the recipe.
If you give this recipe a try, leave a comment below or send me an email to let me know how it turns out for you.
And let me know what other kinds of salad dressing you like to make at home. I’m always on the hunt for something new!