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Mexican Caesar Salad

Mexican Caesar Salad

This recreation of the Mexican Caesar Salad at El Torito Restaurant has crispy romaine lettuce and a tangy cilantro and pepita dressing with a touch of heat.
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Course: Dinner, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings


  • 3/4 cup olive oil or other neutral vegetable oil
  • 1 roasted jalapeño (or 2 roasted serrano peppers) I’ll tell you more in the directions.
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup grated cotija cheese (plus extra to sprinkle on top of the salad)
  • Juice of one lime
  • 3 tbsp toasted pepitas (plus extra for garnish)
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro (mostly the leaves), or about 3/4 cup.
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 avocado mashed (optional)
  • Fried tortilla strips for garnish


  • Roast the jalapeno pepper in a very hot pan until browned on all sides. You can also put it under a broiler, turning often, until nicely browned. Remove the stem and some or all of the seeds inside, depending on how much spice you want.
  • Toast pepitas in a dry pan on the stove over medium heat. Shake them and stir them around until they start browning. Watch them carefully so they don’t burn. When done, remove them from the pan and onto a plate so they can cool before adding to the other ingredients.
  • Place olive oil, jalapeno, garlic, cotija, lime juice, pepitas, salt, and pepper into the bowl of your food processor, and pulse until everything is combined.
  • Add mayonnaise and milk and mix thoroughly.
  • Add cilantro and run processor until dressing is smooth.
  • Toss chilled romaine with dressing and garnish with tortilla strips, more cotija cheese, and pepitas.
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