While food bloggers accross the internet are going crazy this week with things like corned beef, chocolate stout cake, and anything with Bailey’s, we here at Our Best Bites are taking a much simpler approach to St. Patrick’s Day and sticking with things that are green
This is my knock-off version of a Costa Vida/Cafe Rio style dressing. I’m always getting asked for this recipe, so I finally wrote down what I do! There’s millions of recipes out there for this type of thing and a lot of the good ones call for fresh tomatillos. However after experimenting quite a bit I decided I didn’t like the fresh tomatillos. For one thing it’s not something I have laying around my kitchen on a regular basis so I have to plan in advance to buy them. Then I didn’t like the weird, watery texture they added to the dressing. So I started using a much easier subtitution: Green salsa. Green salsa is made primarily from tomatillos and other things like jalapenos, limes, etc. And it’s different than “green sauce” like Pace for example. Make sure to check the ingredient list and see that tomatillos are listed as the top ingredient. See my note below about the different brands. This is stuff I always have around so I can whip it up any time the craving comes along. And it comes along often! I love love love this dressing. I totally dip my finger in it when it sits around in my fridge. But don’t worry- if I ever invite you over for dinner I’ll make a fresh batch. I promise
Creamy Lime-Cilantro Ranch Dressing
Recipe by Our Best Bites
click to print recipe text only
1 pack (1oz) Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix
ignore directions on the packet
1/2 C milk
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 C roughly chopped cilantro
1/4 C green salsa*
This is tough folks. Place milk, mayo, and ranch mix in a blender. Juice the lime in there too, you should get about 2T juice. Toss in the garlic, cilantro and green salsa. Blend ‘er up. Sample it and add hot sauce to taste. Make it several hours ahead of time to allow it to thicken.
*A note about green salsa:
There are several brands of green salsa available in most supermarkets and they have various degrees of heat. One of the most commonly seen brands is Herdez. Herdez brand is a lot spicier than any of the others I’ve tried. Even their medium green salsa is way too spicy for my liking. There’s no way I could put the whole 1/4 C in my dressing like the recipe calls for (but then again, I’m a wuss.) I like to buy La Costena (pictured below) because their medium is actually really mild. That way I get all of the flavor of the tomatillos but I control the level of heat with the hot sauce. If you’re not used to buying green salsa, make sure to sample it first before you put it in the dressing so you know what you’re getting into!
I use this on salads, and also as a dip for things like chicken fingers, veggies and steak fries.
You’ve got all of the ingredients to make an Our Best Bites version right here. Start with a fresh homemade tortilla, layer on some lime-cilantro rice (pineapple optional) and black beans, then some crispy romaine lettuce. Top with either taco chicken or lime-chili steak, some fresh Pico de Gallo and guacamole and fried tortilla strips for the big finish. Smother it in this salad dressing or this vinaigrette and you’ve got a salad ready to send you to food heaven!