Smoky Sharp Vinaigrette with Guajillo Chile

When it comes to salad dressings, I am a dedicated extra virgin olive oil-lemon/red wine vinegar girl. We don’t normally have those heavy, creamy thick salad dressings at home unless there are chicken wings or cut-up vegetables as appetizers.

I am also the type that stays away from the dark red chiles at Compare Supermarket when I see them piled up in the dry legume/rice section. They look great but somehow I think the dark red color speaks volumes about that chile’s hotness.

It was not the case with these Guajillo chiles. They have the smokiness and spiciness but no hotness that would prevent me from eating. Balsamic vinegar gives it a sharp edge though. But that sharpness is softened by sweet apple slices and soft goat cheese crumbs.

Several months ago, I took a homemade dairy class at Johnson&Wales on a Saturday morning. One nice thing about the class was also the recipes we made by using the fresh cheese. This vinaigrette recipe comes from that class, a favorite of our teacher. She said she got this recipe from Rick Bayless’ Mexican Everyday.

I was so proud of myself finally walking out with a bag of chiles from Compare Supermarket. And I just wanted to share this recipe with all of you who might be scared of adding chiles to your table.


Guajillo Chile Vinaigrette

From Chef’s Choice Class Handout Notes of Johnson&Wales Charlotte Campus

  • 2 dried Guajillo Chiles
  • 2 large cloves of garlic (whole)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar (if you don’t like balsamic taste overpowering the dressing, you can start adding half of this amount and taste as you increase the amount gradually)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1. Clean the chiles with a damp paper towel, pull of the stem, cut it open like a book.

2. Discard the seeds and veins.

3. Heat a skillet on medium heat, toast the chiles for 30 seconds until they turn their color somewhat orange color.

4. Put chiles in a food processor.

5. Heat olive oil and garlic cloves in the skillet until cloves turn golden brown on medium heat.

6. Pour the olive oil and garlic in the food processor, let it cool for 10-15 minutes.

7. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until everything is smooth, chiles are broken down to small pieces.

8. Serve over a bed of greens, apple slices and goat cheese crumbles.



  1. by Shelley
    4:58 pm
    Dec 8, 2011

    Learning to use chilis more and to pick them appropriately is on my to-do list since we’ve become non-native Texans. I’ve always shy away from the red chilis, too, but they make such a pretty looking salad dressing, I may have to get out of my olive, balsamic, and herb dressing rut.

  2. by Lisa
    10:49 pm
    Dec 8, 2011

    Would you believe I have about a pound of dried guajillo chiles? I got them in a sampler with other dried peppers, hot and sweet. Now I know what I can do with them! This viniagrette looks and sounds awesome! Love the photo of the pepper against the lights, the seeds sgowing through the brilliant red-orange, gorgeous!

  3. by Parsley Sage
    9:01 pm
    Dec 9, 2011

    Okay 1) your photos are gorgeous and 2) I’m so jealous of you ability to pop over to Johnson and Wales for a morning cooking class! Le Sigh. Your vinaigrette sounds fabulous. I definitely prefer that kind of dressing to the creamy stuff :)

    Sorry to hear the prices to Cayman scared you off however…stayed tune to TDD! I MAY just have a big giveaway coming up :)

  4. by achowlife
    1:50 pm
    Dec 11, 2011

    My husband and I debate about chilies constantly. He loves the heat. I do too, but I worry about breastfeeding my little one with hot milk. Ha! This dressing looks gorgeous, as always. Yum! xo

  5. by Peggy
    6:49 am
    Dec 12, 2011

    So lucky of you to have Johnson & Wales so close and to be able to attend wonderful classes! The chef I work for now is a graduate and he is amazing, so I can just imagine the wealth of knowledge that is being presented to you! This vinaigrette is definitely unique and I’m sure tasty to boot =)

  6. by rebecca
    12:21 am
    Dec 13, 2011

    oh this looks great I really want to check out these classes in future let me know when you go again

*: required fields

Leave a Comment

Read the fine print

By submitting a comment you grant Ilke's Kitchen a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate and irrelevant comments will be removed at an admin’s discretion. Your email is used for verification purposes only, it will never be shared.