Pumpkin Seed Salad Dressing or Dip: Salsa de Pepitas

articles Food & Cuisine Recipes

Karen Hursh Graber

This versatile recipe may be used as a salad dressing or as a dip for crudités or chips. If using as a dip, eliminate the mayonnaise and water. The dressing is approximately as thick as a blue cheese dressing and works best on crisp varieties of lettuce such as iceberg and romaine.


  • ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas) without shells
  • 2 medium poblano chiles, roasted, seeded and peeled
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled
  • ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ cup neutral vegetable oil (such as safflower or canola)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup crumbled queso fresco or farmer cheese
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves (no stems)
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼- ½ cup water


Toast the pumpkin seeds on a dry griddle or comal until they “pop”, being careful not to scorch them. Allow the seeds to cool completely.

Place the seeds in a blender or food processor with the chiles, garlic, salt, pepper, oil, vinegar, cheese and cilantro. Puree to a smooth consistency. At this point, the mixture may be used as a dip.

In a large non-reactive bowl, mix the mayonnaise with the water. Add the blended mixture and combine thoroughly. The dressing should be refrigerated, covered, for 2 hours to thicken. Any unused dressing or dip can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Makes enough dressing for 2 quarts of washed and torn lettuce leaves, 8 salad servings.

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Published or Updated on: January 1, 2003 by Karen Hursh Graber © 2008
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