Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cinco de Mayo Salad with Avocado Cilantro Dressing

This salad was inspired by the Mexican Caesar Salad at El Torito Restaurant.

I used to always buy the dressing from the restaurant, but the one nearby closed, so I've had to learn how to make a pepita dressing at home.

This salad is perfect to serve along side carne asada or fish tacos for Cinco de Mayo--or any day!

Make a salad with all the fixings--romaine & red leaf lettuce, red cabbage, tomatoes, black olives, yellow peppers, black beans, corn, etc.

Make it with everything you like in it.

Here are the ingredients for the dressing:

2 anaheim chiles, roasted and peeled (canned or fresh)
2 cups avocado
1/3 cup roasted pepitas
1/3 cup cotija cheese
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 bunches fresh cilantro
1 cup water

 Put all the ingredients in a high speed blender and blend.

Add enough water, a little at a time, until the dressing turns itself over in the blender.

Canned Ortega chiles are a lot less trouble than roasting fresh.

 No need to cut them up, they'll get blended.

1 teaspoon pepper, unless you're a pepper lover, then add 2.

Add 1 teaspoon salt.

The cotija cheese is salty, so 1 teaspoon is enough.

Add 1/3 cup crumbled cheese.

This avocado is starting to get a little old, but the skin still comes off in one piece.

When they get older, the skin breaks into pieces--that's when it's better to scoop out the flesh with a spoon.

About 2 cups of avocado is about 3 medium sized ones.

Here's a good one, the skin comes away easily and clean.

Perfectly ripe.

The 2 cups doesn't need to be firmly packed.

Add the pepitas and cilantro into the blender.

Then add the lemon and lime juice.


Add water, a little at a time, until the dressing is mixed thoroughly.

This is a little thick, but it's good like that, too.

You can make this a day ahead, the lime juice will keep it from turning brown.

Mix the dressing into the salad.

That's looking good!

Fry a few thinly sliced tortillas in hot oil to make some crispies for the top of the salad.

I like to add some cotija cheese crumbles and sliced avocado in my salad, even though it's in the dressing.

¡Buen provecho!

(Enjoy your meal!)


This is my niece Paige.

When she was little, she said a lot of funny things that we all remember.

We call them Paige-isms.

We all say them from time to time and I remember Paige at the age she said them.

When Paige was about this age, she said,

"I seen him bottom."

She saw Grandpa, in a towel, coming out of the bathroom after a shower.

We say that whenever we see something really funny.


"Let me pitch."

The kids were playing baseball in Grandma's front yard.

Paige must have said, "Let me pitch." a hundred times.

We say that whenever we want our turn at something.



Paige loves See's candy.

When she was little she used to gaze into a box of See's candy and carefully make her choice.

She bit into a chocolate, and yelled,


While running to the bathroom to spit out the candy.

We say that whenever there's something we really don't like.

Rick, Karen, Gary and I went to a benefit concert several years ago to see a wide array of artists sing for a cause.

I don't really remember who was there or what the cause was.

But I definitely remember one artist.

Karen said,


When Dwight Yoakam started singing.

Paige-isms pop up at the funniest times.

Gary and I traveled to San Jose over the weekend and listened to a country radio station broadcasting from Bakersfield.

When I heard a song by Dwight Yoakam, I thought of Karen, Paige,

And coconut.

Paige and her family now live in Hawaii.

We don't get to see her often enough.

She will be visiting this summer for a family wedding.

We're looking forward to seeing her.

And maybe look for another Paige-ism.

Love you, Paige!

Can't wait to see you!

No printable recipe for this one, yet.


  1. OMG, Karolyn!!! We used to have one of those "tin" cups when I was growing up!

  2. Had a question for your food pictures other than the natural lighting what other do you use for your photography.

    1. Hi Cristy, thank you for your comment. I think natural lighting is the most important--I try and take most photos from about noon to 2 pm, that's when the light is the best in my kitchen. If I am running a little late, I may use a white board, which, for me, is a sheet of white foam core poster board. I noticed that my photos improved a lot when I got a 50 mm prime lens--the focus is crisper and the colors seem prettier. I still have a lot of learning to do, many of my photos get rejected from food sites. Hope that helps!

  3. Thank you. I think they are great!