Mexican Caesar Salad

Pan fried corn tortilla strips, and a creamy dressing flavored with cilantro and fresh lime juice create refreshing, Mexican-style twist on a classic Caesar salad. Adapted from “Cooking the Cowboy Way” by Grady Spears and June Naylor, this recipe is terrific served as a side for a Mexican-inspired entrĂ©e or top with grilled chicken for a light meal.

Mexican Caesar Salad


  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces (about 8 cups)
  • 4 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup queso fresco (or farmer’s cheese)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pepito nuts

For the dressing:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 small clove garlic, very finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

Place the romaine in a large salad bowl and set aside.

Cut the tortillas in half, then into 1/4-inch strips. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the tortilla strips and fry until golden brown, tossing continually with tongs to keep them from getting too brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, sprinkle with salt and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, mayonnaise, lime juice and garlic until smooth and well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then stir in the cilantro.

Note: If you think the dressing is too thick, whisk in a little water, more lime juice or a combination of the two.

To assemble the salad, toss the lettuce with the dressing. Add the tortilla crisps and some freshly ground black pepper. Toss again, gently so as not to break the tortilla crisps. Top with the queso fresco and serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings