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Mexican Caesar Salad with Cilantro Lime and Pepitas

Mexican Caesar Salad with Cilantro Lime and Pepitas

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Mexican Caesar Dressing is a fun alternative to the standard version of the salad that is made with egg yolks, anchovies and lemon juice. 

Fans of Caesar salad may be surprised to learn that this classic dish was actually invented in Mexico. The chef was 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 mild chile peppers take center stage in this recipe.

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 dressing is fantastic on the salad, but would also work well in so many other dishes.

Mexican Caesar Salad

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!

A Word About Cilantro

Before deciding to make this recipe for a crowd, check with your guests and see if they enjoy cilantro. Some unfortunate people possess a variation of olfactory-receptor genes that allow them to detect aldehydes. 

Those with sensitivity to these chemicals will detect a strong unpleasant flavor. For them, cilantro may taste like soap or tinfoil. 

Here are some additional salad recipes you might enjoy:

Yield: 4

Mexican Caesar Dressing with Cilantro Lime and Pepitas

Mexican Caesar

Mexican Caesar Dressing 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.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes


  • 1 Anaheim Chile*
  • 1 Clove Garlic, skin removed
  • 1/3 Cup (79 ml) Olive or Vegetable Oil
  • 1/3 Cup+ (40 g) Pepita Pumpkin Seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 Tsp (1.5 g) Salt
  • 1/2 Cup (115 g) Mayonnaise
  • 1/4 Cup+ (22.5 g) Shaved Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) 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


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 remove 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 1/2 of the shaved Parmesan cheese into a food processor or blender.

Blend until smooth, adding 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of water at a time if the mixture is too thick to blend.

Continue adding 1 tablespoon (15 ml) 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.


*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



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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