Chipotle Pumpkin Vinaigrette is a smoky and creamy dressing that is colorful and flavorful on a salad for a holiday or for any day. It takes just minutes to prep, then whip up in a food processor. Or, if you press your garlic, you need only a whisk.
How do you add a smoky flavor to a sauce?
I adapted this recipe from a dressing that got its smokiness from liquid smoke. Unfortunately, liquid smoke doesn’t agree with me! I don’t know if any of you have that problem – it means I can’t buy most barbecue sauces off the shelf.
But fortunately, chipotle chile powder and I do just fine. The chipotle powder is a tremendous improvement over liquid smoke in all ways. It’s not so strong in this dressing that you get the feeling that it can only go on Mexican-themed salads, either.
If you don’t have chipotle powder but have the liquid from canned chipotle chiles, a teaspoonful of the liquid should add a similar flavor. And if you CAN tolerate liquid smoke, a couple of drops is enough.
What is chipotle?
Chipotles are smoke-dried ripe jalapeno peppers. Their use dates back to the Aztecs, and the word itself comes from their language, Nahuatl.
If you think you don’t know any other Nahuatl words, you do, in the form of “avocado” which comes from the word ahuacatl. And if you speak any Spanish you know it transformed the word into “aguacate”.
How to make chipotle pumpkin vinaigrette
Like my pumpkin pancakes, this is a great recipe to use up a small quantity of leftover pumpkin puree, but you may find reasons to roast squash just to make the dressing. I first made it to go on a salad using roasted delicata squash (recipe coming soon) to bring out delicata’s mild flavor – and we enjoyed the dressing so much I thought it should have its own post.
There are two versions of this dressing, both good, though we like version #2 best.
- Version #1: With pumpkin seeds – ingredients pictured here.
For version #1 you need a food processor or some other way to grind the pumpkin seeds. The dressing has more texture and is slightly darker than version #2. For version #1 you can skip pressing the garlic and just peel and chop it, too – the food processor will handle it.
Version 2: no pumpkin seeds. This makes a smoother, more golden and more pourable dressing – see in the “pour” shot below.
Trust me, both are good! To keep the pumpkin seed nutrition thing going with Version #2, we sprinkled the pumpkin seeds on top of the salad for crunch.
It’s worth noting that the white wine vinegar is pleasant in this dressing without being too tart, but you could use apple cider vinegar if you like its more acid flavor.
Whichever version you make, I hope you find the vinaigrette as delicious and festive as we do. Both versions coat the greens and other salad ingredients well and have a lot of flavor without being too tart or oily.
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #amealinmind on Instagram and pin to Pinterest. I’d love to see what you come up with. Thank you so much!!
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Chipotle Pumpkin Vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree canned or homemade
- 2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
- 2 cloves garlic pressed (or crushed if using food processor)
- 1-2 teaspoons prepared mustard
- 1 tsp dried sage or 1 tablespoon fresh
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds optional, see note
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Food processor option: Place all ingredients into the bowl of the food processor or blender. Pulse until smooth, add more salt to taste
- Whisk option: If you have pressed your garlic and are omitting the pumpkin seeds from the vinaigrette, all the ingredients can be combined using a whisk.
Please pin for later!