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Great Cilantro Salad Dressing??

I have never found a great recipe for this. They're all kind of the same- a red wine based vinaigrette w/ cilantro added. I always have to add TONS of cilantro to get the robust cilantro flavor I'm seeking. I also add parm, pine nuts, garlic (basically a cilantro pesto) to kick up the flavor.
Anyone have other recipes/suggestions? Thanks so much.

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  1. Don't have a recipe but I have found Trader Joes has a decent salad dressing with the same ingredients you are describing. Delish.

    1. Hi OC!

      I like to use lime juice as the acid, and add serrano chilies for heat. Sometimes I'll add lime zest and/or Penzey's Adobo seasoning. I'll also use some crema if I want it creamy.

      This was in one of our recent Cookbook of the Month which I plan to try - I like the use of ginger and rice vinegar.

      Spicy Napa Cabbage Slaw with Cilantro Dressing

      2 Replies
      1. re: Rubee

        I think this is the key. Cilantro and lime are perfect partners. When I make my cilantro dressing I use lime, extra virgin olive oil, a little minced garlic, salt and pepper. Simple and tasty. To make it a little more substantial I have added an anchovy as well.

        If available sour orange also works.

        I also do an "asian" version with sugar, ginger, garlic, chili pepper, fish sauce, lime juice and a neutral oil.

        1. re: MVNYC

          Second your Asian suggestion. My similar post below comes in fat free. A little late for my waistline though!

      2. I once did prep in a resto that had a great cilantro dressing (for a blackened chicken salad which was yum.) I wish I had written it down, but it was something like: 1 bunch cilantro, 1/2 c lime juice, vinegar, 2 cups of olive oil, a bunch of green onions, s&p, ground cumin. Possibly garlic, I don't remember. Put in a blender and liquify. You could try these ingredients and play around. I've been meaning to. It was a very good dressing. (Hey, maybe Chef Richard will see this and put the real recipe!)

          1. From Rick Bayless:

            3/4 cup vegetable oil
            1/3 cup fresh lime juice
            1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest
            1/2 cup chopped cilantro
            1 jalapeƱo pepper, chopped
            1/2 teaspoon salt

            He recommends it over jicama and watercress, and I have to agree; it's super tasty. The lime compliments the cilantro far better than red wine vinegar, imho.

            2 Replies
            1. re: nickblesch

              I was wondering if there is a reason for vegetable oil over olive oil? Thanks!

              1. re: nicholas85

                Some olive oils can be overpowering. Vegetable oil is neutral

            2. I posted this a couple of years back:


              I realise that it does not exactly answer your question, but it's a great salad, and can carry plenty of cilantro. The dressing could of course be used on other salads and has the advantage of being fat-free.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Robin Joy

                Actually, I have just found this picture of two young kitchen assistants after they made it for the first time recently.

                1. re: Robin Joy

                  very nice, robin! you have some good assistants there -- and it seems like you need their brawn to hold up that humongous salad. as my mom used to say, that salad is "enough for pharoah's army." ;-). thai beef salad is one of my favorites.

                2. re: Robin Joy

                  robin, maybe 'tiger's tears' is the same thing and would yield you more recipes that you were looking for back then? thanks much for this one.

                3. I've had this recipe bookmarked for ages but haven't tried it yet,

                  1. Whatever else you do, don't add the cilantro until just before you serve. The flavor fades. And make sure it's fresh. Old cilantro has an off taste.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Jay F

                      jay, each batch of my cilantro dressing lasts about 2 months until i use it up. it doesn't change- that my picky tastebuds have noticed. i also put cilantro in my quesadillas that i freeze, defrost and cook to order at home. the cilantro presence is 'very there' but i bet it would be stronger fresh.

                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                        Then why are you asking for help with cilantro salad dressing, saying "I always have to add TONS of cilantro to get the robust cilantro flavor I'm seeking"?

                        Perhaps off topic: I usually don't "make dressing." I dress the greens (and other elements) with olive oil and salt, toss until coated, then add vinegar or citrus juice, and toss some more. Some things look better IMO if they don't get tossed, e.g. tomato wedges, shrimp, single pieces of cooked fish, but rather laid on top of the tossed salad.

                        I would put the cilantro in the salad, plucked but not chopped, with the greens, before the oil and salt.

                        I've never had a two-month-old batch of salad dressing, so I can't comment on that.

                        1. re: Jay F

                          hmmm you may have a point there; but a la minute salad dressing is not my thing. and i get so tired of throwing away$ and unused cilantro bunches when culinary inspiration has not included cilantro.

                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                            Pretty sure this is the problem. Non hardy herbs like parsley and cilantro lose their potency if left to sit. This is why I make fresh, it takes two minutes.

                    2. Substitute some or all the basil with cilantro in your favorite green goddess recipe

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: rasputina

                        that's a cool idea. i've never made a mayo based dressing poor me! do you have a fav recipe, w/ anchovies?