Southwestern Cumin-Lime Dressing

Oh, man! I’ve been having way too much fun playing around with variations on my homemade mayo.

High on the success of my creamy Italian dressing experiment, I wanted to concoct something “like ranch, only better” because between you and me, I’m not a dill fan.

But you know what I do like?

Come on! You do… it’s cumin. So I give you: Southwestern Cumin-Lime Dressing.



Southwestern Cumin-Lime Dressing from Well Fed

Serves 2-4 | Prep 5 min | Whole30 compliant

  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil Mayo

  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced (about 1/2 teaspoon)

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

  • a few pickled jalapeño rings, finely minced (optional)

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

  • salt and black pepper, to taste


Place mayo in a small bowl. Add garlic, cumin, and jalapeño, if using; blend well with a fork.


Mix in the lime juice, then taste and season with salt and pepper. If your dressing is too thick, add either a little more lime juice or water – a 1/4 teaspoon at a time – until it’s the right consistency. Keep in mind that it will get slightly more liquidy as you toss it with ingredients.


Let the flavors meld for about 10 minutes before devouring.

Tasty Ideas

Make a meal: Cook ground beef with a little cumin and chili powder, then drizzle with cumin-lime dressing.


Dip it! Use the dressing as a dip for red pepper strips, cucumber slices, tomato wedges, and matchsticks of jicama.


Amp up your guac: Blend with an avocado to make extra-creamy guacamole.


Replace plain mayo: Use in tuna or egg salad instead of plain mayo.


Place on a spoon; eat. (I’m only halfway kidding.)


Garnish: Drizzle over a freshly-grilled burger or steak.


Make a chopped salad: Toss with cold steamed shrimp, cubed avocado, and tomato.


Salad: And yes, this is really great on a regular ol’ lettuce salad, too.

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  • kathleen c says:

    Sounds delicious! Can't wait to try it. I've been avoiding trying the mayo recipe because I don't like mayo in the first place but now I have to because I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my ranch and miss it much since starting Whole30. The lime flavor sounds particularly yummy!

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Hey, Kathleen! I wholeheartedly encourage you to try the mayo because it can be used as a base for so many good dressings/sauces.

    Here's a Ranch dressing recipe for you. I haven't tried this one, but it looks like it should work just fine. YOu might have to play around with the amount of lemon juice… or add some water, depending on thickness:

    1 cup mayonnaise
    1 teaspoon lemon juice
    1/8 teaspoon paprika
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon black pepper
    1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
    1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
    1/4 teaspoon of dry dill (or a teaspoon chopped fresh)

  • JL Autry says:

    Made this last night and…hot damn! That stuff is amazing!! I'll try the ranch later when I make another batch of mayo…Don't quite have a cup left after my recipes from yesterday.

    As always…love reading your stuff! You're so creative 🙂

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    JL Autry –> Hooray! So glad you liked it! And thanks for the compliment… those keep me going!

  • Brittany says:

    Melissa, I have licked my Tupperware clean at work for the last two days. I wish I were kidding, but I'm not. This is sooooo good! I ate it with raw cucumbers and carrots…and then by itself. Now I have to make more homemade mayo! Rock on!

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Brittany –> I feel ya! Sometimes I have to remind myself that I'm supposed to put the dressing and mayo ON things (other than a spoon or my fingertip).

  • Brittany says:

    I made another batch of this, and I love it, but for some reason, the mayo emulsion has been breaking somewhere between adding cumin and cayenne and eating the dip. I like to bring it to work to use as a dip for carrots, but today, it was like slightly thicker olive oil with some emulsion. And this from a creamy, solid jar of homemade mayo. I didn't add lime juice this time, either, because I didn't have any. What's up with that?

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Brittany! I really don't know the answer to your question. Hmmm… the only thing I can think of is if you're keeping it cold enough on the transport from home to work? My mayo is very firm in the fridge, but gets really liquid-ish if I leave it out on the counter too long (like when I'm stuffing my face full of tuna salad and forget to put the mayo back in the fridge).

    Also, I've never made the dressing and waited to eat it. I always mix and eat immediately, so maybe it's the time lag?

    Wish I could be more helpful. Maybe you can experiment — and then let me know what happens. Take the mayo in a little container and the spices/lime juice separately… see if it transports OK, then mix at work and eat?

  • Brittany says:

    Ah, the temp change is probably it. It probably sits out for about an hour while I'm making my lunch in the morning, driving to work, etc. I'll have to experiment with keeping it in the fridge until the last minute. I'll report back – thanks for the ideas!

  • Quinn says:

    first attempt at the mayo was a success– prepping for a road trip this weekend and this delicious stuff is sure to be sitting next to my huge bag of blanched veggies in the cooler!! thanks!!!

    • Mel says:

      Hooray! Glad you the mayo worked out, and yeah, it’s a great base for all kinds of veggie dips. Safe driving, happy eating!

  • emily says:

    Lovin’ this one too! Surely you can come up with a type of caesar dressing, huh?? Come on…it would make my hubby so happy! 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Ooooh! I love a challenge!

      I will see what I can come up with… it’s tricky ’cause we can’t use parmesan, but I’ll play around and try to come up with a reasonable substitute. Stay tuned!

  • Renee says:

    I made the mayo and it’s a nice consistency, but not even close to white in color. Is it supposed to be? How does that happen with yellow egg, yellow mustard powder, yellow(ish) olive oil? BTW, my 15 year old just asked for some of my tuna salad when she saw how good it looked. I slathered some of the mayo and tuna salad on…BREAD (she’s not even close to paleo) and she’s wolfing it down before swim practice. I enjoyed it without the bread for an afternoon snack that kept me going strong down the clean path I’ve been on for the past few days. Yea!

  • Danielle says:

    Ok . . . this has basically convinced me to break down & try the mayo recipe, if only because I see how it can be such a great building block in so many other sauce recipes.

    Like kathleen, I am NOT a mayo person. Not mayo, not Miracle Whip, never have been, never will be. HOWEVER, I AM a person that loves to dip things. Although most of my diet is pretty Paleo-safe anyway, my veggies & ranch/tortilla chips & dip are staples in my diet, and I really need to find a Paleo-friendly, satisfying sub for those items.

    I will be giving the mayo a try, as well as other dips based on it. If I can find subs for my “downfall” foods that are just as easy & satisfying, I’ll consider myself a convert!

    • Mel says:

      Honestly, I was never a mayo person either, until I made homemade. Now I think of excuses to use it! 😉

      The dressings are really awesome — and being able to make tuna salad, crab/salmon salad, etc. is so satisfying.

      Hope you like it!

  • Tianna says:

    I must have bought the wrong kind of olive oil because my mayo is super olivey tasting still…instead of extra virgin, I bought one that was yellow and just said ‘olive oil’. BUT turn it into cumin lime dressing and I’ll probably have the whole jar gone in a few days. My boyfriend is convinced I’ll be morbidly obese soon due to my love of all things doused in mayo haha.

  • Meechie says:

    Holy mother of pearl! I just made this for some grilled pork chops and I can’t stop dipping my finger in and tasting it. This stuff would be amazing on a taco salad.

  • Jen Green says:

    Ha!!! Couldn’t wait ten minutes to let the flavors meld…it was just to tempting and yes it tasted amazing!!!

  • Deidre says:

    I am a vinaigrette fan….to make this into vinaigrette should I just use olive oil and lime juice and spices? Or would I need something else?


    • Mel says:

      Yes! Just replace the mayo with olive oil, taste the result, and adjust with more lime juice, or oil, or seasonings as necessary. It should taste great.

  • Sherri says:

    This is amazing on sweet potatoes. Tastes just like the dip that comes with sweet potatoes fries in restaurants. I wasn’t trying to paleofy anything, just a happy accident!! Thanks so much for all your recipes. They are teaching me how to combine flavours I would never have thought of on my own!

  • MiShelley says:

    Hi Mel,
    Tried the Cumin Lime Dressing last night on some beef and had more this morning at brekky. God it was good…deeeelicious.

    On Day 2 of my Whole 60 (I’ve done a Whole30 before) and looking forward to branching out past my old faithful recipes. Have spinach and beef muffins and home made mayo in the fridge, chocolate chili in the freezer. MMmmmmmm.

    Have a fab day.

    • Mel says:

      Hooray! So glad you like this dressing!

      Best wishes for an awesome Whole60! I was *just* thinking about meat and spinach muffins this morning… might be time to make a batch!

  • Amanda says:

    I just tried this recipe and I was a little skeptical. Could it really be THAT good? I “tested” a piece of my grilled steak with this dressing and O. M. G. !! It’s sooo delicious. I may or may not have eaten the entire steak standing in my kitchen because I could not stop! LOL Thanks for this yummy recipe!

  • Nancy says:

    I have a variation on the delicious mayo recipe. It happened by accident, but I love the result and I make this almost exclusively now. I was doubling the recipe, but as I was halfway through the process, realized that I was short on the light olive oil by about half a cup. What I did have was a special bottle of basil infused olive oil from my favorite olive oil shop (We Olive, Long Beach, CA). So I held my breath and added the non-light oil. It turned the whole concoction so thick (and green) that my blender slowed down to a crawl. But OH! is it yummy! And it makes the best tuna or salmon salad. I’m hooked! Looking forward to trying the cumin-lime dressing, but I may want to make the mayo without the basil first. Thanks for your fantastic cookbook! I’ve recommended it to so many friends. Keep up the good work!

  • Shannon W says:

    I have to say, I completely understand your comment about only halfway kidding about eating this off the spoon. Made this last night to put on some Southwestern style burgers with your Chopped salad on the side. Zomg! I’m in week two of a whole 30 and this sauce just became my go-to dressing for everything.

  • Lorri says:

    I appreciate the way that you go the extra mile with your recipes and add in ideas and ways to use the recipes (as in this dressing recipe) or good sides to go with the recipes (Bora Bora Fireballs with their nice little mention of Confetti Cauliflower – must try soon!)… Thanks for posting such wonderful recipes!

  • Jessica says:

    I have a question that kind of concerns a few of your other sauces, is the crushed garlic raw, or is it roasted at some point? Thank you!

  • Melissa Crawford says:

    This. Was. So. Good. I made it to eat on a taco salad (Whole30!) with seasoned ground beef (with onions and garlic), crunchy romaine, and lots of tomatoes. Was going to add guac but it didn’t need it. This has the best flavor! I didn’t have jalapenos, but I minced up about 1/2-1 teaspoon of a chipotle chili in adobo. Just the right amount of heat and smokiness. Delicious on the salad, and then I too licked out the container. Holy cow. I used mayo made with avocado oil (made mine with ACV, mustard powder and lemon juice), and I love it. Going to try your ranch recommendation for my kiddo next. What are the best herbs for ranch, you think?

  • Mike says:

    Great recipe. I’m new to Whole 30 (Day 3)

    I made this recipe and used it as a salad dressing. It was a little too tart, so I added a teaspoon of unsweetened apple sauce. The natural sweetness of the apple sauce balanced out the flavor. I also added a tablespoon of minced cilantro.

    I will make it again!

  • stephanie says:

    this was fabulous. thank you.

  • Stacie says:

    This is REALLY good on carnitas and zucchini noodles!!