Mexican Caesar Salad

Mexican Caesar salad is a twist on a classic and can be served as a side dish or as a main dish. Crisp romaine, sweet corn, creamy avocado, and sliced jalapenos tossed together in a creamy cilantro Caesar dressing. Serve it as is or add a protein like grilled chicken or shrimp for a light and easy dinner.

Mexican caesar salad on a white plate.

There is classic Caesar salad and then there is this Mexican Caesar salad which is a fresh and little spicy play on the original. It’s fresh, crisp, and full of flavor and texture. Basically, my ideal kind of salad.

I’m sharing a basic version here but consider it a canvas. You can add to it or switch things to make it any number of different dishes. Add a protein to make it a filling main dish salad, switch up the add-ins to change the flavors and textures, or use it to make all the bowls or sandwich wraps you like. There are a lot of opportunities with this Caesar salad recipe, friends.

The Highlights

The star is the salad dressing recipe. It’s garlic-y, savory, and creamy like the classic but with a hit of cilantro to bring a fresh vibe to go with the theme. It’s a dressing you can use for all sorts of things, not just this salad! Use it as a dip or spread, too.

If it’s summer use fresh corn. If it’s not, no worries! Use thawed frozen corn to make this an all-season dish.

As I mentioned, this is a flexible recipe and open to many swaps, switcharoos, and adaptations. Give it a try and then let your imagination run wild.

Prep time? It’s a quick 20-minute assemble operation. Blitz the dressing, prep the veggies, and then toss it all together.

ingredients for the dressing in a food processor.

Ingredients

  • Mayonnaise – if you’re really not into mayonnaise you could use the same amount of plain Greek yogurt. It won’t be the same, but it will still be good.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Anchovy paste
  • Water
  • Creamy Dijon mustard
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
  • Garlic clove
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chopped romaine lettuce
  • Corn kernels
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese – you can also use crumbled cotija cheese which is a Mexican crumbling cheese. Or, if you have feta use that!
  • Sliced jalapeno
  • Sliced avocado
  • Lime wedges, for garnish

Recipe Steps

Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. I think the dressing is best once it’s been chilled – it’s on the thinner side when you first make it, but will thicken up in the refrigerator.

the dressing in a container

To assemble the salad you can place the lettuce in a bowl and top it with corn, cheese, jalapeno, and avocado and serve the dressing on the side. Or, toss it all together in a large bowl with the dressing before serving. Add a little more black pepper and a squeeze lime juice over the top for extra zip.

You will probably have extra dressing which will keep in the refrigerator.

the salad being tossed to together.

Different Ways to Dress It Up

It’s great as a side dish, but you can turn it into a main dish pretty easily! Here are some ideas:

  • Make it a chicken Caesar salad and add sliced grilled chicken or shredded rotisserie chicken. Add some crispy tortilla strips, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), or croutons for some extra crunch. You could also add cooked shrimp.
  • I love to use the salad as a filling for a wrap. Add some chicken (or not) and roll the salad up in a large flour tortilla or another wrap that you like. Save some of the dressing to use as a dip on the side.
  • Make a Mexican Caesar salad rice bowl with cooked rice, add all of the salad components, black beans, chicken, crushed tortilla chips, or fried corn tortillas, and drizzle the salad dressing over the top.
the finished dish on a plate.

FAQ

Um, anchovy paste? Is there something else you can use?

If you are vegan or vegetarian try using white miso paste. Worcestershire sauce is another alternative if you’re a meat-eater but just want to avoid the anchovies. But, I encourage you to give it a try – it just adds a savory, umami taste.

How long does the dressing keep?

It will keep in the fridge for up to a week. You know the drill, keep it in an airtight container.

Cilantro tastes like soap to me! Can I use something else?

Yes, use the same amount of parsley in the dressing. It will be good!

What main dishes go with this salad?

Pair it with your favorite Mexican food dishes like enchiladas, tacos, fajitas… all the things! It also goes great with grilled chicken, steak, and pork.

While we’re at it, lets make some cold citrus margaritas or pineapple agua fresca to go with this summery fresh Mexican Caesar salad. Bonus points if you add some chips and guacamole, too.

Happy salad-assembling!

April
overhead shot of the salad.

More Salad Recipes

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Mexican Caesar Salad

Mexican Caesar salad is a twist on a classic and can be served as a side dish or as a main dish. Crisp romaine, sweet corn, creamy avocado, and sliced jalapenos tossed together in a creamy cilantro Caesar dressing. Serve it as is or add a protein like grilled chicken or shrimp for a light and easy dinner.

  • Author: April Anderson
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x
  • Category: Salads
  • Method: Blend
  • Cuisine: Mexican-American

Ingredients

Scale

For the Dressing

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (see note)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon anchovy paste
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pinch salt

 For the Salad

  • 6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 cup corn (see note)
  • 3 tablespoons shaved Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced or cubed

Instructions

  1. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the chopped romaine with a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. To assemble, divide the chopped romaine between two plates and top with corn, parmesan cheese, jalapeno, and avocado. Drizzle the dressing over the top – you will probably have extra dressing which will keep in the refrigerator for a few days.

Notes

The dressing is on the thinner side so if you want it thicker you can add more mayonnaise or you can add some thick Greek yogurt to thicken it up. Leftover dressing will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

If you have access to really fresh corn when it’s in season you can clean the cobs and slice the kernels off the cob and add them to the salad raw. If you’re not sure how fresh the corn is (or how much it’s been handled) I recommend sauteeing it in some olive oil first and then cool it before adding to the salad. Or, use thawed frozen corn if you don’t have fresh.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/2 of recipe
  • Calories: 591
  • Sugar: 6.1g
  • Sodium: 412.1mg
  • Fat: 55.6g
  • Saturated Fat: 9.2g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 43.3g
  • Trans Fat: 0.1g
  • Carbohydrates: 22.7g
  • Fiber: 8.7g
  • Protein: 8.2g
  • Cholesterol: 19.5mg

Keywords: mexican caesar salad

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