Here’s today’s confession. I’m in love with Chipotle Mexican Grill’s Chipotle-Honey Vinaigrette, but I have yet to try it. I go to Chipotles with the best of intentions–ordering a salad or a burrito bowl and, of course, holding the sour cream and going super light on the cheese. But I end up with one of their monster-sized burritos with the works. You know those time times when you try to look the other way when it comes to calories and fat grams. For me, having that burrito on my plate is one of those times. That healthy salad turns into a just a fleeting thought.
But their salad with the Chipotle-Honey Vinaigrette is an obvious fan favorite, with too-many-to-count copycat versions of the beloved dressing. Since so many folks have sung its praises, I had to throw my hat in the ring and come up with my own “copycat” version.
Admittedly, I don’t know how Chipotle’s Chipotle-Honey Vinaigrette is supposed to taste, BUT I do know what I like. I guess I’ve been cooking enough years to be able to spot a recipe I’ll like when I see it. So when I came across the many versions of Chipotle-Honey Vinaigrette, I knew I could somehow tweak it perfectly for my taco salad.
My Favorite Version
From the ingredients found in several of the copycat versions, I just decided to play around with a few of the recipes until I found something appealing to my palate. I ended up with a blend of ingredients for the perfect “Goldilocks” version. Mine is a little less vinegary than one recipe suggested, and I used a little less chipotle pepper than another version listed (there’s was WAY too spicy). The end result was just right.
The trick for me was to using the right amount of chipotle peppers. These peppers are smoked jalapenos paced in a spicy adobo sauce. They’re easily found in the Latin foods aisle of most grocery stores. I used 1 ½ peppers for my vinaigrette. I bagged up the rest in a Ziploc freezer bag. They freeze so well and are easy to just break apart once frozen.
I chose to use my “light” version of olive oil. It’s a combination of 1/4 cup canola and 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil. But if you want to use light olive oil, that works. I usually use a “light” version as a replacement for plain old “vegetable” oil. Mostly because I’m not sure what kind of oil to use when a recipe calls for vegetable oil. Corn, canola, mixed, avocado…? Light olive oil is a good replacement.
I like the subtle olive flavor in light olive oil for most recipes. And for some reason, a light olive oil seems healthier than the moderately priced “vegetable” oils I find on my grocers’ shelf. Maybe it’s a marketing thing, but it works on me. Anyway, that’s the one I used for this recipe. I think any mild-flavored vegetable oil would do.
How to Make It
It’s super simple to make most homemade salad dressings. Preparing Chipotle-Honey Vinaigrette is no different. You can either mix it up in a mixing bowl or zip it through a blender, food processor or a immersion blender (stick blender), my favorite to use for dressings and soups.
My version of Chipotle-Honey Vinaigrette passed inspection by my family. We’ve used it with variety of lettuce salads and it even works as a veggie dip. It would be perfect to use on your next taco salad.
Other Favorite Vinaigrette Recipes
- 6 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3/4 cup light olive oil
- 1/8-1/4 cup honey (depending on how sweet you like it)
- 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (from a can--these are spicy)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- COMBINE all ingredients in a blender or food processor. (An immersion handheld blender works well). BLEND until smooth.