We’ve all been there. It’s 7 p.m. and you’re at home with a sudden craving for Chipotle. You don’t feel like going all the way to Chipotle, they don’t have a drive-thru, and delivery is kind of slow. What’s a hungry person to do?
You make an at-home Chipotle salad complete with a copycat version of their Honey Chipotle Vinaigrette! It’s one of our favorite homemade salad dressings.
This task may seem daunting, but the dressing comes together in minutes. You can make the salad with just about any salad ingredients you happen to have on hand in your refrigerator or pantry. Need ideas? Here are some salad-making tips from a former chef.
How to Make Copycat Chipotle Vinaigrette
This recipe makes approximately 1 cup of salad dressing.
Lauren Habermehl for Taste of Home
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 whole chipotle chili in adobo sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon adobo sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Step 1: Combine ingredients
Lauren Habermehl for Taste of Home
In a food processor, combine the red wine vinegar, honey, chipotle chili pepper, adobo sauce, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Put the lid on your food processor. (That last part is important!)
Step 2: Blend and slowly add olive oil
Lauren Habermehl for Taste of Home
Puree until smooth while slowly drizzling in the olive oil. Your food processor’s lid should have a pour spout that will allow you to dispense the olive oil into the other ingredients. Then, continue blending until all the ingredients are emulsified together and the vinaigrette is smooth. To serve, drizzle over salad greens and toss to coat.
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Psst: We perfected a recipe for Chipotle’s cilantro-lime rice, too.
If you’re missing one or more of the ingredients for this Chipotle vinaigrette, don’t worry. There are several ingredient substitutions you can make that will still yield great-tasting results.
You can buy a can of chipotle chilies in adobo sauce at most grocery stores in the Hispanic food aisle. Look near the refried beans and green chilies.
You can also whip up a DIY adobo substitute in minutes. Mix 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste, 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1/2 teaspoon cumin together in a small dish. For more heat, increase the amount of cayenne pepper.
Editor’s Note: This is a great makeshift adobo sauce hack for this recipe since you only need a small amount for the dressing. It’s far from authentic adobo, though, which typically simmers for hours to fully develop the flavors.
Chipotle’s nutrition facts list rice bran oil rather than olive oil on their ingredient list. If you happen to have rice bran oil, feel free to use it. Otherwise, you can use a different neutral-flavored oil you have on hand like olive oil, canola oil or vegetable oil.
You may use 2-4 cloves of fresh garlic in place of 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.
If you’re lucky enough to have an herb garden with lovely fresh oregano, swap 1/2 tablespoon of fresh oregano for 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano. Both Mexican and Italian oregano work beautifully in this recipe.
How to Make This Vinaigrette without a Food Processor
Lauren Habermehl for Taste of Home
You may also use a blender to make this dressing. Don’t have a blender, either? Use a mason jar or any small container with a tight-fitting lid. You’ll want to finely mince the whole chipotle pepper first. Then, you can simply combine everything into the mason jar, seal it tightly with its lid and shake everything together for several minutes until well-combined.
How to Store Your Vinaigrette
Store this copycat Chipotle vinaigrette in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Be sure to shake the dressing well before using after storing, since ingredient separation may occur.
What to Make with Chipotle Vinaigrette
This dressing is spicy and tangy, salty and sweet. It’s perfect on a whole host of salads that demand a little heat. While the obvious choice is to drizzle it over your favorite Tex-Mex or Southwest-style salad, you could also drizzle this over burrito bowls or tacos, or use it as a killer marinade for chicken, seafood or flank steak.
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