All of your favorite Tex-Mex flavors come together in this easy to make southwest vinaigrette dressing perfect for any salad.
Southwestern Salad Dressings are typically creamy. This one, however, uses the same southwest spices but in a vinaigrette base, which tends to be a healthier option than creamy dressings.
While this is a great dressing for southwestern salad we also love it on many other types of salad. In fact, you can use it as a finishing sauce for fish or chicken, or even drizzle it on as a sandwich topping.
For a unique twist on tacos cook shredded beef (Mexican style) in your slow cooker and serve it in tortillas with your favorite toppings and a light pour of this dressing.
It comes together in just minutes and can be served right away, but like champagne vinaigrette, Barbecue Salad Dressing, Creamy Gorgonzola Dressing, or this gussied-up bottled dressing, it will benefit from some time for the flavors to “get cozy” together.
You’ll probably find that you’ve got the ingredients already on hand. Just whip it up in about 5 minutes anytime you want a good homemade dressing to have around.
- Extra virgin olive oil – when using in a recipe like this one where it will be front and center we like to use the best quality we can afford.
- Apple cider vinegar – if you only have another lighter vinegar on hand feel free to use it, but we definitely recommend apple cider if you can.
- Lime juice – we always recommend using freshly squeezed if possible.
- Chili powder
- Dried oregano – if you happen to have fresh oregano that’s great. Just remember it’s less potent so you’ll need about 3 times as much as dried.
- Garlic powder – you could dice half a clove of garlic, but to keep this recipe super quick we like to use powder
- Honey – at the suggestion of some of our readers we have added a bit of honey as an optional ingredient
See recipe card for quantities.
Making this dressing from scratch couldn’t be easier! Put all of the ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid or a bowl if you plan to put it in a cute bottle like ours.
Next just shake away if you’re using the lidded mason jar or whisk briskly if using the bowl. To transfer the ingredients from the bowl to your bottle just pore through a funnel.
Variation ideas for your southwest salad dressing
- Spicy – add red pepper flakes or ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper if you like a little heat.
- Deluxe – add chopped cilantro (about 2 Tablespoons would be great)
- Lemony – use freshly squeezed (always preferred over bottled) lemon juice vs. lime juice
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A few items that will come in handy:
One of our favorite tools in the kitchen is this citrus juicer. We literally use it all the time!
If you use fresh herbs you’ll love this pair of 5 blade herb shears. It’s another tool that everyone in our family has and uses often.
To get your dressing from a bowl into a bottle you’ll need a funnel. Just a basic one like this is fine.
And for a cute bottle to put your salad dressing in? Order here. We used these same bottles for our simple syrups for cocktails. The bottles are super versatile and get used frequently.
Storing your vinaigrette
It will keep just fine in the fridge for a week. Olive oil solidifies when chilled, so just set it out a little while before your meal so it has time to come to room temperature.
If you forget, don’t worry. Just stand the bottle or jar in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and you’ll be good to go.
Easy Southwest Salad Dressing (Vinaigrette)
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon lime juice preferably freshly squeezed
- ¾ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano if using fresh increase amount to 1½ teaspoons
- ¾ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder if using fresh use ½ minced garlic glove
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons honey
- Mix all ingredients in jar with tightly fitting lid.
- Shake until well blended.
- Serve immediately or allow to sit for 1-2 hours, shaking again before serving.
I love that this is made with pantry staples that I always have on hand!
Dana Sandonato says
Love this dressing! Perfect for taco salads and lettuce cups!
This dressing sounds amazing! I can see not only using it for a salad but as a fantastic marinade, too!
I’d only ever had creamy southwest salad dressing before this. This was amazing and so much better and very delicious! Thanks for a great recipe!
Yay! Thanks, Nic.
I love this dressing on my taco salad!
What’s in this dressing to make it only last a week?
Taylor, it would most likely last longer, but we like to err on the side of caution. Also, this recipe makes a fairly small amount so chances are you wouldn’t need to store it longer – it’s going to be eaten up quickly!
I haven’t tried it yet but would like to know the serving size.
Sharon, 2 Tablespoons is the standard for salad dressing serving size. Hope you enjoy!
I added honey because it was a bit sour for my taste but otherwise it was a delicious dressing
That sounds like a nice addition!
I also added honey, about 1 tablespoon. It was too tart without it.
Thanks so much Jo! After several readers suggested that we’ve added honey as an optional ingredient. It’s always great hearing from y’all with feedback.