Looking for a new kick on your salad? A little pick-me-up for those ho-hum veggies? Roasted Jalapeno and Onion Dressing is your answer.
Peppers and onions are a natural pair and their flavors can be a bit bold at times. Perhaps too bold for say, a salad dressing. By cooking each in their own way, you soften those big and sometimes brash flavors and create something akin to their original bite, only better.
Jalapenos come in a spectrum of heat that ranges from low to nuclear. Some are hotter or cooler than others and you don’t quite know what you are going to get until you bite into them.
The Scoville scale is a unit of measurement to determine how spicy things like chilies and hot sauces are. Crazy factoid, some chilies are in the millions!
By removing the seeds and the pith, you are taking out a good amount of the heat. Then by roasting them over an open flame, you are softening that spicy and vegetal flavor while giving it a slightly smoky and bitter flavor.
Onions have a bite when they are raw, but they are full of natural sugars. When you cook them low and slow, you are lessening that bit and encouraging those sugars to come forward.
So you have a vegetal, slightly spicy, and smoky chile and a sweet and soft caramelized onion; it’s a match made in heaven.
Now forget the knife and break out a familiar kitchen appliance – the food processor! During the roasting and caramelizing process, you are softening both which makes them ultra-easy to blend into a dressing.
Drizzle this dressing on your favorite roasted or grilled vegetables, use it as a marinade for chicken or seafood, or toss it in my Brussels Sprout Salad.
Jalapeno Onion Dressing Ingredients
- Onion – I have always used red onion for this creamy dressing. It’s bold and provides a wonderful flavor. After cooking, the caramelized onions have the best flavor.
- Jalapeno – Jalapeno peppers are what gives this dressing a spicy kick. Always use fresh jalapenos instead of the jarred variety, and you’ll want to cut in half and have seeds removed.
- Garlic cloves – The garlic gives this jalapeno onion dressing just a little edge and really brings out the jalapeno and onion flavor.
- Red wine vinegar – Every good dressing needs an acidic element. The flavor is great for rounding out the rest of the ingredients and bringing a little acidity to the mix.
- Orange juice – The orange juice adds some flavor, sweetness and brightness to this otherwise bold and strong dressing. I like to use fresh squeezed rather than the bottled stuff.
- Water – I like a thinner sauce when making dressing, so I add a little bit of water. If you like yours thicker, you can leave this out entirely.
- Extra virgin olive oil – I like using olive oil, but you can certainly use an alternative like avocado oil. The oil gives it body and allows the dressing to fully coat the greens.
- Sugar – In addition to the juice, we need a little sweetness. I like to use cane sugar, but you can use a sugar substitute if you prefer.
How to Make Jalapeno Onion Dressing
- Prepare grill and produce. Heat grill to medium heat. Drizzle red onion, jalapeno and garlic cloves with olive oil. Wrap each garlic clove in aluminum foil large enough to prevent falling through the cracks.
- Grill onion, garlic and pepper. Place onion, jalapeno, and garlic onto the grill. Sear for 10 minutes, turning every 2 minutes, or until onion is soft and caramelized, jalapeno is nicely charred and garlic cloves are soft.
- Remove skins. Remove from grill and allow to cool. Skins from the jalapeno and garlic should easily peel off.
- Add to food processor. Add onion, jalapeno, and garlic to blender or food processor, pulse several times until a paste forms.
- Blend. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth, but slightly thick.
- Onion – I use red onion, however, you can use vidalia onion, white onion or spring onion. The only one I wouldn’t using are green onions. There isn’t enough substance to them.
- Flavor – You can use anything you’d like to make this jalapeno onion dressing your own. Fresh cilantro, fresh lime juice or lemon juice would all be great additions. You
- Extra heat – If spicy foods are your thing and you’d like to make your dressing a little spicier, you can add some chili powder, a splash of hot sauce or extra jalapeno.
- Not just salad – This jalapeno dressing tastes great on lots of things! Dip some tortilla chips into it, drizzle it over some cherry tomatoes, or even add some to your chicken quesadilla.
Storage and Freezing
Storage: You can store this jalapeno onion dressing in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to one week. If it starts to thicken, just thin it down with a little water.
Freezing: I do not recommended freezing this dressing. Oil based dressing break down in the freezer.
Roasted Jalapeno and Onion Dressing
- Heat grill to medium heat. Drizzle red onion, jalapeno and garlic cloves with olive oil. Wrap each garlic clove in aluminum foil large enough to prevent falling through the cracks.
- Place onion, jalapeno, and garlic onto the grill. Sear for 10 minutes, turning every 2 minutes, or until onion is soft and caramelized, jalapeno is nicely charred and garlic cloves are soft.
- Remove from grill and allow to cool. Skins from the jalapeno and garlic should easily peel off.
- Add onion, jalapeno, and garlic to blender or food processor, pulse several times until a paste forms.
- Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth, but slightly thick.
- Use immediately or refrigerate for up to one week.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!