Tuesday, December 16, 2014

My Favorite Salad Dressing Ever

Emma had her best friend Maddie over to play!
Christmas is almost here and we can hardly believe it. In preparation for all the Christmas feasting, I thought it appropriate to talk about salad. Salad dressing particular. The dressing is pretty much the only reason my husband eats salad, so it has to be good!

I love to make my own salad dressings because you can modify them to suit your tastes! Lots of the dressings on the store shelves have such muted flavors and are too sweet, too salty, or too oily! Every once in a while, I crave the flavor only a store-bought Italian dressing can provide and the Hidden Valley ranch dressing always tastes great on anything - and the kids eat it too!

But, cream-of-the-crop, give-it-the-top, this Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette is my favorite dressing in the whole wide world. Now, you probably have to be a bit of a cilantro lover to like it. However, I have served it to a couple people who detest cilantro and even they liked it. Or so they said. Maybe they didn't really but were too polite to say otherwise.

Either way, I really, really love this dressing. Paul also really, really loves this dressing. It comes from one of our favorite restaurants. I had a salad with tossed with this vinaigrette and asked the chef for the recipe. He gladly gave it to me and I have been making it at home ever since! Ironically, whenever I go back to that restaurant, I'm so tempted to get the same salad each time even though I can technically recreate it at home. You'd think I'd want to try something else on their fabulous menu - like the trout, salmon, or prime rib - but this dressing just makes salad so incredibly delectable!

Certainly an unappetizing-looking dressing. But trust me - it's delicious!
Warning: It does turn a horrifying green color in the blender. The looks on my kids' faces when they watch me blend it is priceless. Paul came home and saw me making it once and asks (with fear): "Is that another kale smoothie?!?!?" He still hasn't forgiven me from the last time I made him drink one.

Here are some ideas for using this dressing:

Salad #1: Mixed greens, sugared pecans, julienned jicama, chopped tomatoes. Simple and yummy.
Salad #2: Baby Spinach, segmented oranges, sugared pecans, feta cheese.
Salad #3: Baby Arugula, quinoa, feta cheese, roasted salmon fillet with extra dressing drizzled over the salmon. (My FAVORITE)
Salad #4: Baby Arugula, freshly sauteed shrimp, segmented grapefruits, red onion.

Today's Salad: Orange segments, red onion, spinach, and lemon quinoa pilaf.
But really, you could do anything. It's also great for taco salad or burrito bowls!

Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette
from Firebirds Restaurant

2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons lime juice (fresh is best - I've tried the bottled and it really doesn't work in this recipe!)
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro (I add more if I feel cilantro-y!)
1/2 cup olive oil or vegetable oil

Add all the ingredients into a blender except the oil. Blend until smooth, scraping down if necessary. With the blender set on low, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and blend until completely emulsified.


  1. Monica, thank you for this salad dressing recipe! I love salads and I love trying out new dressings and best of all I super love cilantro! My dad thinks cilantro smells like stink bugs so I don't know how he's going to take this hah..hah... Emma has grown quite a bit and she is very pretty!

    1. Thank you! As Emma's mother, I have always thought she was beautiful but it's so nice to hear that other people agree with me! Isn't cilantro the best? I wonder if people who dislike it have some morphed taste buds that make it taste like dirt or steel? At least that's the only reason I can think for disliking it. It's definitely my favorite herb!