Jul 30

Thanks to Jen at My Kitchen Addiction for hosting the Kitchen Bootcamp Challenge.  This month’s challenge was salad or salad dressing. I created a Cilantro Pesto Vinaigrette to top my Mexican version of a Caprese Salad.

This challenge was exciting to me because you won’t find a bottle of salad dressing in my house.  I think that store bought salad dressing is an insult to tastebuds.  Salad dressing is so easy to make and so much better than anything you can buy there is no excuse not to make your own.

When I first started thinking about this challenge I was overwhelmed by the options for creativity.  A salad can be made of anything – cold cuts, vegetables, grains, fruits, shellfish, pasta … and you can combine it any way you want.  As it’s summer and tomatoes are at the height of their season; I decided to build tomato salad.  Once that decision was clear I thought about my favorite tomato salad, the Caprese.  While I love it, I wanted to make it my own.  I’ve been really into Mexican flavors lately so I decided to spin the Caprese.

I started with pesto, replacing basil with cilantro and pine nuts with pumpkin seeds.  I added the lime loosen it and make it more of a salad dressing using an oil to vinegar ratio of 1:1 (the standard American ration is 3:1 but I find that too oily and not sharp enough).

For the salad I replaced Buffalo Mozzarella with  Queso Blanco and used my vinaigrette instead of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Recipe: Cilantro Pesto Vinaigrette

Summary: Cilantro, Garlic, Pumpkin Seeds and Vegetable Oil


  • 2 cloves garlic 1 bunch fresh cilantro juice of one lime 1/2 cup ground pumpkin seeds 1/2 cup vegetable oil salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, pulse to chop. Add cilantro, lime juice and pumpkin seeds. Pulse to combine, stream in vegetable oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cooking time (duration): 10

Number of servings (yield): 6

Meal type: hors d’oerves

Culinary tradition: Mexican

Microformatting by hRecipe.

4 Responses to “Cilantro Pesto Vinaigrette – Kitchen Bootcamp Challenge”

  1. […] I love Mexican flavors, especially in the summer. Cilantro is one of my favorites, so I’m going to have to try this Cilantro Pesto Vinaigrette from Cooking with the Whineaux. […]

  2. ooooh goodness this sounds absolutely wonderful. very nice idea to do a caprese style. certainly salads can be of anything but I find simple salads such as yours to be the most flavorful and best of them all.

  3. A gorgeous choice for this challenge. I am intrigued by the flavours and have bookmarked for later!

  4. Thanks so much for stopping by! I am a HUGE fan of Simple flavors. Hope you get tot try the recipe!

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