Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Creamy Cilantro & Pepita Salad Dressing

When we left California several years ago good Mexican food was really hard to find in this area but everything has changed drastically over the years.  Now there are good Hispanic sections in regular grocery stores and many small Hispanic grocery stores so I can buy any ingredient I could possibly need to make all of our favorite Mexican foods. Mexican restaurants and Taquerias are all over the place and serve great, authentic food. Of course not all of it is gluten free or free of the artificial colors, flavors and preservatives we avoid so I make it for my family often.

My friend Kerry from California sent me a newspaper clipping shortly after moving here. It was the copy of the salad dressing from one of our favorite Mexican restaurants. It instantly made me homesick for good friends and good Mexican food and I put it on the side of the fridge with a magnet so I wouldn't lose it. Back then I couldn't find the Cojita cheese and pepitas the recipe called for so I saved it and waited. Eventually I forgot all about it even though it was still on the side of the fridge
Our favorite Sunshine Burger Wrap - Rice Tortillas wrapped around
a crumbed Sunshine Burger with lettuce, Carrots,
Creamy Cilantro & Pepita Salad Dressing
with extra toasted pepitas for crunch!
When we were planning the menu for Marc and Marie's party I noticed the now yellowed and spotted newspaper clipping. It seemed perfect for our tostada buffet. It's creamy and flavorful and now it's pretty darn healthy. The original recipe called for a ton of mayonnaise and cheese but I've lightened it up a bit and made it vegan to boot. I soaked two cups of raw cashews for a few hours and used them to substitute the mayo and cheese. The cashews aren't a lot less calories and fat than the mayo and cheese but they are a healthy vegan protein used in moderation. They give the dressing a wonderful creamy texture just like the original. I lowered the oil a bit and added spiced, toasted pepitas.  It's really very easy to make as I just toss everything in the blender and gave it a good whirl.  Chill and serve over greens, on sandwiches or use as a dip.

Creamy Cilantro and Pepita Salad Dressing

Begin by soaking cashews - I put them in the bowl after lunch so they'd be ready by dinner:

2 cups Raw Cashews in
2 cups filtered water at least 2 hours and no more than 6 hours.

Meanwhile toast the pepitas in a small saute pan over low heat.

1 teaspoon oil
1 cup Pepitas
1/2 teaspoon cumin

Saute and stir until slightly toasty and fragrant.  Add:

salt and pepper to taste

Let cool.

Pour the cashews and water into blender container and add:

1 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 4 ounce can Green Chilies
2 large bunches of Cilantro, washed and roughly chopped.
2 cloves Garlic
1/2 cup Toasted Pepitas
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Blend at high speed until completely processed and creamy. This makes a lot and keeps in the fridge for a few days.

Serve over mixed greens with extra toasted pepitas to garnish.


Shared, on Gluten Free Wednesdays 5/7/14!


gabbyfek said...

wait, where was MY sunshine burger wrap?!?!?
waaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh. ;)

chacha said...

Oops! I'll make sure I pick up a couple of boxes of Sunshine Burgers at Whole Foods before your days off next week!

And this dressing was soooo much better than the goddess dressing in wraps to me - but then I love cilantro.


Anonymous said...

I just came across your website today and this recipe looks delicious! I love the idea of using the wraps with the Sunshine burgers. I am also a huge cilantro fan and just got a deliciously fragrant bunch from the farmer's market - perfect to make this dressing! Thank you :)

chacha said...

I'm so glad you stopped by! I've just peeked at your site and am so impressed - you've learned so much in a year. Bunky is a very blessed little girl.

Laura said...

K- that salad photo is a winner. I am trying to stick my fork into the screen for a bite.

chacha said...

We'll have to see if we can adapt it to your eating style sometime. It's soooo yummy! xoxo