Give your salad a kick with this easy and delicious Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette recipe! This Cilantro Lime Dressing is the perfect Southwest Taco Salad Dressing. It is made with fresh cilantro, olive oil, and jalapeno and easily blended in the food processor.
Add it to simple mixed greens, wraps, burrito bowls, as a marinade for chicken, and more!
For what seems like ages, I have searched across Mexican restaurants in St. Louis to get my salad with a kick fix! I’ve enjoyed a lot of great salads and my family has enjoyed a lot of great Mexican, but even the most promising “jalapeño lime vinaigrette” fell flat.
Some people love cilantro and others not so much, but it is a family favorite around here and we enjoy the flavor it gives to this dressing.
Just a few miles from our old home, there was a little restaurant, Salty Iguana, that I religiously ordered a side salad with cilantro lime vinaigrette along with chips and guacamole.
It was unlike any other salad I’ve had. The “kick” made it feel like I was indulging on something much less diet-friendly and never left me wanting more.
After all that searching, I realized I could hardly subject my family to another Mexican outing. I decided it was time to create a Salty Iguana Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette recipe right here at home.
I NAILED it! Yes, I’m bragging.
You have no idea how incredibly happy it made me as I continue my quest to lose a little weight and still enjoy every bite I take. There’s nothing better than finding a solution to a craving and knowing that it’s healthy, too!
I love a classic, light and healthy vinaigrette dressing. That’s why I’ve written Every Vinaigrette Recipe You’ll Ever Need – it’s a round-up of all my best vinaigrette recipes you’ll love!
If your family is anything like ours, we can eat Mexican-inspired meals every day of the week. What I love about this dressing is the flexibility – we can all enjoy it in a variety of ways!
Why You’ll Love this Cilantro Lime Dressing
- Cilantro Lime Dressing is low in calories – just 88 per serving, yet so full of flavor!
- It’s bursting with flavor and has a way of making you feel like you’re eating something much more exciting than a salad.
- Just 5 minutes in a blender or food processor yields 3/4 cup of salad dressing that remains fresh up to five days sealed and refrigerated.
- Why buy your dressing at the store when you can whip this zesty dressing up in just minutes?
- Like I said, this vinaigrette can be used for so much more than salads! The possibilities are endless, and since it keeps for a few days you can get creative – I’ll show you a whole list of ideas for where to use it!
- This is one of the best Mexican Side Dishes!
Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette Ingredients
This salad dressing has a few more ingredients than most of my vinaigrette recipes. However, that’s what makes it so satisfying!
- Cilantro – fresh, cleaned, de-stemmed and chopped.
- Lime – fresh juiced is best but store bought works in a pinch, too.
- Garlic – clove, cleaned and peeled.
- Jalapeño – remove seeds
- Red wine vinegar – You can switch this out for apple cider vinegar, champagne vinegar, etc, as noted below.
- Sea salt – A few cracks is all you need!
- Spicy mustard – Perfect to give this dressing more of a tangy kick.
- Olive oil – I like Extra Virgin Olive Oil but you can use whatever you have on hand.
- Some like it hot! If you want even more kick, just add a hint of red pepper!
- To add a creamy touch, just add a little plain greek yogurt or sour cream. Now you’ve got a creamy cilantro lime dressing!
- You can also sub fresh cilantro for dried if you’re in a pinch.
- You can substitute with white wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar.
How to Make Cilantro Lime Dressing
- In a food processor, blender, or jar combine cilantro leaves, lime juice, jalapeño, garlic, and vinegar. Blend or whisk ingredients together well.
- Add salt and pepper, mustard and olive oil. Blend until smooth.
- Toss into mixed greens, or add to wraps, baked cilantro lime chicken, or make a fiesta pasta salad.
Check out this step by step for the process!
Tips for the Best Cilantro Lime Dressing
- Remember to rinse the cilantro leaves and either air dry or blot them dry with a towel before using.
- Don’t forget to remove jalapeño seeds, unless you like fire!
- Quality olive oil and fresh lime juice are key!
How to Serve this Zesty Lime Vinaigrette
To use this dressing, Consider the following ideas!
- Toss it into mixed greens and add cheese for a fabulous Tex Mex salad – learn more about the best cheeses for tacos!
- Add to wraps
- Baked cilantro lime chicken
- Fiesta pasta salad
- Add it to my Taco Salad.
- Drizzle it over my Fajita Rice Bowls
- Marinate your Carne Asada
- No need to pre-chop any ingredients- just throw them in the food processor and let it do all the work!
- You can also make this dressing ahead of time and save yourself at crunch time.
I generally reach for Extra Virgin Olive Oil for all my vinaigrette recipes. However, you can also use canola oil or safflower oil – any vegetable oil will work.
Cilantro is very simply the coriander plant – you’re looking at the leaves and stems when you purchase cilantro at the grocery store. Cilantro translates simply as the Spanish word for coriander.
How to Store
- Room temperature – While some vinaigrette dressings store well on your kitchen counter, this one is NOT shelf stable.
- Refrigerate – This fresh cilantro lime dressing will store in the refrigerator for up to five days. Use a container with a tight seal to seal in fresh flavor!
- Freeze – You can freeze vinaigrette dressings with mixed results, but I’ve never tried this one. If you do, be sure to report back! If you’re freezing vinaigrette be sure to use an airtight container and leave some room at the top to allow for expansion. Don’t store in the freezer for more than six months.
What to Do with Leftovers
- See “how to serve” above!
- Gluten Free
- Dairy Free
- Nut Free
“Life without Mexican food is like no life at all”(unknown)
Are you as excited about this delicious dressing as I am? I hope you’ll give it a try! Now we just need to whip up a fresh skinny margarita, and we’ll be all set for a fiesta.
To see just how easy this Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette recipe is, watch the video in this post.
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Do you have a restaurant favorite you wish you could make at home? I'd love any suggestions for future copycat recipes!
More Salad Dressings
- Chipotle Dressing
- Champagne Vinaigrette
- Pasta Salad Dressing
- Sherry Vinaigrette
- Italian Dressing
- Easy Herb Vinaigrette Dressing Recipe
- Light Ranch Dressing Recipe
- Poppy Seed Dressing
- Lemon Vinaigrette
- Honey Dijon Vinaigrette
- White Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Red Wine Vinaigrette
- Easy Balsamic Vinaigrette
- In a food processor or blender, combine cilantro, lime juice, jalapeño, garlic, and vinegar. Blend well.
- Add salt, mustard and olive oil. Blend.
- Toss with mixed greens.
- If you want even more kick, just add a hint of red pepper!
- To add a creamy touch, just add a little plain greek yogurt or sour cream.
- You can also sub fresh cilantro for dried if you're in a pinch.
- You can substitute with white wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar.
- Refrigerate - This fresh cilantro lime dressing will store in the refrigerator for up to five days. Use a container with a tight seal to seal in fresh flavor!
Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.