Mexican Caesar Salad with Cilantro Lime and Pepitas

(Last Updated On: April 30, 2020)

Fans of Caesar salad may be surprised to learn that this classic dish was actually invented in Mexico. The chef was actually an immigrant from Italy who was working in Tijuana during the time of prohibition. So while the dish may have originated in Mexico, the Caesar salad is not really traditional Mexican fare.

Our version, which we call a “Mexican Caesar”, goes astray from the original and spices it up using some traditional ingredients in Mexican cuisine – fresh cilantro (coriander), roasted shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas), fresh lime juice and a mild chile pepper.

The typical base of the salad, fresh romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese and a dose of garlic are all still there, giving a nod to the traditional Caesar while adding a refreshing twist. The resulting sauce is fantastic on the salad, but would also work well in so many other dishes.

You could use it to drizzle over roasted vegetables, as a topper for baked potatoes, in a cold rice salad or pasta salad, slathered on grilled salmon, or as an alternative to mayo when making tuna salad. So many possibilities!

Before deciding to make this recipe for a crowd, check with your guests and see if they enjoy cilantro. Some unfortunate folks possess a variation of olfactory-receptor genes that allows them to detect aldehydes, which are chemicals with a strong soapy flavor. For them, cilantro may taste like soap or tinfoil. Not pleasant, and happily not a problem for most of us.

Here are some additional salad recipes you might enjoy:

Mexican Caesar Salad with Cilantro Lime and Pepitas

Mexican Caesar

Caesar Salad with Cilantro, Lime and Roasted Pepitas (pumpkin seeds). The versatile dressing with a slightly spicy kick can also be used to drizzle on grilled meats or vegetables or as a mayonnaise alternative in many of your favorite recipes.

Ingredients

  • 1 Anaheim Chile*
  • 1 Clove Garlic, skin removed
  • 1/3 Cup Olive or Vegetable Oil
  • 1/3 Cup+ Pepita Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1/8 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt
  • 3/4 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/4 Cup+ Shaved Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Lime Juice
  • Bunch Cilantro, washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 Head Romaine Lettuce
  • Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
  • Tortilla Strips or Croutons as a salad topper

Instructions

Place the Anaheim chile on a greased baking sheet. Broil the chile for about 7 minutes, flipping it over every 3 minutes. Once the skin has blackened, remove from the oven.**

Put the chile inside a plastic bag or cover with plastic wrap.

Once the chile has cooled, gently removed the charred skin with a knife. Remove the seeds and cut into 3 sections.

Place the chile, garlic, lime juice, vinegar, olive oil, mayonnaise, salt, pepitas, cilantro and 1/8 cup of shaved parmesan cheese into a food processor or blender.

Blend until smooth, adding a 1 tablespoon of water at a time if the mixture is too thick to blend.

Continue adding 1 tablespoon of water at a time until the dressing reaches your desired consistency.

Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Wash the romaine lettuce and remove the base.

Blot the lettuce in a dish towel to remove all of the water.

Using your hands, tear the lettuce into roughly bite sized pieces.

Drizzle with dressing and top with tortilla strips, shaved parmesan and pepitas.

Store any leftover dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Notes

*You can substitute a Poblano chile if unable to find and an Anaheim chile.

**If you have a gas burner, you can also blacken the chile directly on the flames using tongs to flip the chile to get an even char.

Nutrition Information

Yield

32

Serving Size

1 Tablespoon

Amount Per Serving Calories 55Total Fat 3.9gSaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 0mgSodium 114mgCarbohydrates 2.1gProtein 1.7g

The nutritional information is an estimate only. Actual numbers will depend on the exact ingredients used.

 

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