This Toasted Cumin Lime Vinaigrette is my final argument to convince you of the worth of a molcajete.
Spices like…freshly toasted cumin for a cumin-lime vinaigrette that you can whip up in a matter of minutes.
Toasted Cumin Lime Vinaigrette Recipe
You’ll get an upgrade in flavor if you toast the cumin seeds first. So we’ll add 4 teaspoons of cumin seeds to a dry skillet over medium heat.
It will only take 1-2 minutes for the heat to activate the aromatic oils in the cumin seeds; this will substantially liven up the flavor of the cumin.
Add the toasted cumin seeds to a molcajete.
Grind the seeds down to a powder and set aside. It will only take 10-15 seconds as the seeds are no match for the weight of the temolote (pestle).
We’re also going to give a quick grind to 2 cloves of garlic and 1/4 jalapeno. The jalapeno will give the vinaigrette just a whisper of heat.
Add this garlic-jalapeno mixture to a mixing bowl along with the cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, freshly cracked black pepper (approx. 1/2 teaspoon), and 3 tablespoons of lime juice.
You’ll get about 1.5-2 tablespoons of juice from a single lime, so 2 limes should do the trick if you want to skip measuring it out.
We’ll also add a splash of red wine vinegar.
I’m making my way through On Cooking and it’s got some good notes on using citrus juices in salad dressings. A 3:1 ratio is a good place to start for citrus based dressings, but most likely it will be on the oily side because citrus juices aren’t as concentrated as vinegars. Yes, you could add more citrus juice but an easy workaround is to add a splash of vinegar.
This is a good way to balance out the dressing without adding more citrus flavor and that’s what we are doing in this dressing.
(Note: On Cooking is a culinary behemoth that’s used in culinary schools across the country. As with most school textbooks it is ridiculously expensive; the current version is $139!! But you can get older, used editions for much cheaper, and they still have the vast majority of the content of the current edition. For example, I bought a used third edition through Amazon, which is 1216 pages long, for $4 plus $4 shipping — 8 bucks!!)
Whisk these ingredients together and then gradually add the 1/2 cup olive oil.
Take a taste for seasoning. I added another pinch of salt but was happy with the oil-to-acid ratio. If your batch tastes oily then you can add more citrus or vinegar. If it tastes tart and limey then you can add more oil.
And just like that, in matter of minutes, you’ve got a vibrant toasted cumin lime vinaigrette that will be a star in all sorts of Latin-tinged dishes.
Be sure to give it a good shake before using as the cumin prefers to rest on the bottom until it’s called into action.
And don’t forget to give a shout-out to your molcajete for letting that cumin blossom into its full potential. Ahh molcajetes…
This toasted cumin lime vinaigrette is a super easy salad dressing to make at home. You'll definitely get an upgrade if you toast the cumin seeds first so don't forget that step. We also added some jalapeno for a whisper of heat. So good!
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lime juice (approximately 2 limes)
- 4 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 jalapeno
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- freshly cracked black pepper
- splash of red wine vinegar
Toast the cumin seeds over medium heat in a dry skillet for 1-2 minutes. Crush the cumin seeds in a molcajete until you have a fine powder and set aside.
Finely chop 2 garlic cloves and 1/4 jalapeno and give them a quick smoosh in the molcajete.
Add the garlic-jalapeno mixture to a mixing bowl along with the cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, freshly cracked black pepper (approx. 1/2 teaspoon), 3 tablespoons of lime juice, and a splash of red wine vinegar. Whisk together.
Gradually add the 1/2 cup olive oil, whisking continuously.
Take a final taste for seasoning. I added another pinch of salt to this batch.
Serve immediately and store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge where it should keep for at least a few days.
If you want to make a different size batch of this dressing, just keep in mind a 3:1 oil to acid (lime juice) ratio. For example, this recipe uses 1/2 cup of oil which is 8 tablespoons, so 2.5-3 tablespoons of lime juice is a good starting point for a balanced dressing.
You'll typically get 1.5-2 tablespoons of juice from each lime.