Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

Vinaigrette and whisk in a bowl

Maximilian Stock Ltd / Getty Images

  • Total: 5 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Servings: 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
63 Calories
7g Fat
1g Carbs
0g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 63
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 110mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Protein 0g
Calcium 5mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Cumin's warm herbal notes blend beautifully with the tang of fresh limes. Salads or simply prepared vegetables dressed in this cumin-lime vinaigrette would be a great complement to Mexican, South American, or Indian cuisine. And if perhaps you've wondered how to pair a salad with these cuisines, this dressing is an easy solution; it helps bridge the gap from your whatever your main dish is.

This recipe also makes an excellent marinade for meat, poultry, or fish. If you are going to be grilling meat, this marinade will add the right touch of flavor but also retain moisture in the meat.

The recipe is simple enough that you can assemble all of the ingredients easily from your grocery store. The only equipment you need is a whisk or salad shaker.


  • 1/4 cup lime (freshly squeezed juice)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin (ground)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, cumin and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

  2. Adjust the salt to taste.

Using as a Salad Dressing or on Steamed Vegetables

To use the cumin-lime dressing on a salad, toss it with the salad greens immediately before serving. To use it on steamed vegetables, drizzle it over the top.

Using as a Marinade

When using the cumin-lime dressing as a marinade, follow the guidelines for marinating fish and seafood, for cuts of beef, and for cuts of pork. You may want to use a higher smoke point oil such as peanut, canola, safflower, or soy rather than olive oil if you will be grilling the meat or fish. You may also toss dressing with vegetables before roasting or grilling them.

Storage for the Salad Dressing

The dressing may be made up to two days ahead of use and stored in the refrigerator. Bring the vinaigrette to room temperature and whisk again before serving.

Using Fresh Ground Cumin for Extra Flavor

Ground cumin bought in the spice aisle will work in this recipe, but using whole seeds makes a difference. Ground cumin's flavor is more subdued and a lot less complex. Starting with whole cumin seeds and then toasting and grinding them fresh will bring a whole new dimension to the dressing. You can find whole cumin seed in the spice aisle, health food stores, online, or in specialty markets.

To toast the seeds, heat a skillet over medium heat and add a layer of seeds. No oil or water is necessary. Toast slowly, watching for when they turn brown. Don't let them blacken. Remove from the heat. Grind the seeds in a coffee grinder or with a mortar and pestle. You may want to use less, as the flavor will be more intense.