Cafe Nordstrom’s Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

UPDATE: My expert Nordstrom Cafe taste-tester friend came over to my office yesterday to try out the dressing, and after she paused for a minute, I knew something wasn’t right with the vinaigrette . She said it was still very good, but not THE dressing. So, it was back to the drawing board. I did another search last night, and came across a recipe that credited the Nordstrom’s cookbook as the original source. I was fairly confident this was the one, but decided to wait since I was having lunch there today with my friend. We both ordered the same item as mentioned below, so I got to taste the dressing. Yep, it was different. I also decided to purchase the cookbook to be absolutely sure I had the correct recipe 🙂 Both recipes do have all of the same ingredients, but in different quantities. I’ve noted the changes below, with the correct measurements in bold. I just made this again using the updated, official recipe from Nordstrom’s cookbook, and am thrilled to report that this is the real deal and tastes exactly like what is served in the restaurant!

The OFFICIAL Nordstrom’s Chipolte Lime Dressing


A few months ago, my good friend, Danette, invited me to join her and some other coworkers for lunch at Cafe Nordstrom. My first thought was, whaaaaat… they have a restaurant? Being that I’m a HUGE fan of Nordstrom’s, of course I was going to try it out. We went to the one in the South Bay Galleria mall in Redondo Beach, which ironically, is pretty close to where I live. The way the cafe operates is you place your order and pay at the front counter, sit down at a table of your choice, then a server brings your meal, beverage, etc., and continues to wait on you. It’s pretty cool, in my opinion. Okay, moving on to the food. I ordered their California Grill sandwich, which consists of roast turkey, tomato, bacon, swiss cheese, avocado, and garlic aïoli, on grilled sourdough bread (SO GOOD) and a side salad with… cilantro lime vinaigrette. My friend told me the dressing was amazing and addicting, and she was spot on! So of course, I was on a mission to find the recipe, and after just a little research, I did. Happy happy, joy joy!

The First Attempt


  • 1/4 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. 2 tsp. chipotle purée *
  • 3 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 big bunch 1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped, most stems removed (I used approx. a little over a cup) stems & leaves
  • 3/4 cup canola oil

* Making the chipolte purée is super simple. I purchased a can of La Costena chipolte peppers in adobo sauce (pictured below), and simply put the contents of the can in a food processor (can use a blender), and voila, you have purée! You can also buy the purée already made, which comes in a jar.


  1. In a blender or food processor, combine lime juice, rice wine vinegar, garlic, purée, honey, and salt. Blend together well until thoroughly processed and smooth.
  2. With the machine running, gradually add the oil in a thin steady stream to form an emulsion. (I found this difficult using my blender as it splattered a bit, so I added a little oil at a time, pulsed, then repeated until the oil was gone)
  3. Add the cilantro, and pulse or process to combine.
  4. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  5. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve. Whisk well before tossing the dressing with the salad.
Source: Nordstrom Entertaining at Home Cookbook

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