Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

Within the span of two days, I’d seen salads dressed with cilantro lime vinaigrette on two different restaurant menus. When I needed to make a vinaigrette for our salad, I checked my fridge and wouldn’t you know, I had cilantro and lime.

I tasted one of those restaurant vinaigrettes and thought I could do better — and I think I did. I love the bright, tanginess of this dressing.

My style of vinaigrette might not be your style. I like a very tart vinaigrette. Even though I was trained in the classic French style of a 3 to 1 ratio of oil to acid, I’ve never been a fan of that ratio. It’s too oily and has no “bite.”

I use a 2 to 1 ratio. So for 1/4 cup of acid, I’m using 1/2 cup of oil. This is especially important when using mild acids, like rice wine vinegar. And lime juice. I have a couple other tips for the perfect vinaigrette, regardless of the oil and acid you use.

Gwen’s vinaigrette tips:

  • Add mustard (like Dijon) for flavor & binding.
  • Add sweetness to balance the tart (like honey, sugar, or maple syrup).
  • Use a blender or Vitamix for a rockstar emulsified vinaigrette.
  • Fresh herbs are secret weapons, especially mint.
  • Garlic and/or onion add layers of flavors.
  • Always blend the acid with all the other ingredients EXCEPT the oil first.
  • With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the oil (olive, canola, walnut, etc).
  • Always, always taste the vinaigrette with something from the salad like a piece of lettuce. Otherwise you’ll think the vinaigrette is too tart. It will mellow when combined with salad ingredients.


The vinaigrette will keep, if refrigerated, for up to 5 days. It’s not just a dressing, though. Use it as a sauce for mild white fish or chicken. Or use it to brighten up a turkey sandwich. It’s a versatile condiment.

And if you’re feeling fancy, pour the vinaigrette in a cruet for serving.



Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

Even though the name of the vinaigrette is cilantro lime, it tastes first of lime. Cilantro — and mint– are in the background. Zippy and fresh tasting, it’s equally delicious spooned over grilled fish and chicken as it is on a green salad. Corn and avocado are great salad additions for this tart dressing.

  • Author: Gwen Ashley Walters
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 3/4 cup 1x
  • Category: Salad Dressings



Zest of 1 lime

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro (leaves & stems)

1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh mint leaves

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1 small scallion (white & light green parts) thinly sliced

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup olive or canola oil


Place all ingredients (in the order listed) EXCEPT for the oil in a blender.

Blend on medium high speed until smooth.

With the motor running, slowly pour in the oil until it’s all incorporated.

Taste and adjust seasonings.

Will keep, refrigerated, for up to 5 days.

Keywords: cilantro, lime, vinaigrette, salad dressings

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2 replies
    • Gwen Ashley Walters
      Gwen Ashley Walters says:

      Hi Hilary… no, I’ve never blended nuts into this particular dressing, but if you love nuts, no reason not to. It will thicken it up for sure. What nut were you thinking? Most will lend a fairly strong flavor, especially if you were thinking peanuts. Pine nuts might offer the most mild flavor.


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