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tomatolimequeso fresco

Queso Fresco: Tri-Color Salad with a Lime-Honey Vinaigrette

Yesterday, right after my blog turned 1 year old, I added a new category under Ingredients: Cheese.

This site is a continuous work in progress. As my husband notes, it is very time consuming, but as I always respond, it is immensely rewarding. Truth is, I can’t wait to keep on adding more. One of the things I have loved the most has been getting your requests, so please, keep them coming! Which brings me back to Mexican cheese, a topic I have gotten many requests for.

The first kind I added is the widely available Queso Fresco.  A deeply white, mild, fresh, light, barely salty, gently tangy and versatile cheese that crumbles right in your mouth the moment you take a bite. Yet, it also holds its shape beautifully if you dice it or cut it into sticks. So it lets you play with it in many ways.

Tri-Color Salad 1

Aside from crumbling Queso Fresco directly on plenty of antojos like tacos, tostadas and enchiladas, one of my favorite ways to use it is on top of salads. I know, Mexican salads are not that well known. That said, I have never, in my life, seen a taco salad on Mexican grounds. There is a universe of wholesome and delicious Mexican salads to be found in Restaurants, but mostly, in people’s homes.

Every Mexican household has a secret vinaigrette that is both regularly used and waiting to be screamed out. But you can rarely get the exact recipe, because they are typically made “al tanteo“, an expression that I love, which means by feel, as you go.

Rather than placing the ingredients in a mixing bowl and emulsifying with a whisk as the French might do, in Mexico ingredients are commonly added in a Tupperware and shaken up until well blended.

Here is the secret vinaigrette from our home, which I measured, so you can make it if you please. You can substitute the honey with brown sugar, the main point being, that you need a bit of sweet to make the rest of the ingredients shine through. I added Boston lettuce, tomato and Mexican avocado here, but you can play with more ingredients that you may have at home: asparagus, scallions, jí­cama, to name some…

Tri-Color Salad 2

Aside from making the salad more hearty and filling, the Queso Fresco adds a nice contrast to the vinaigrette with its subtle salty and tangy notes. I will give you more ideas for using Queso Fresco in upcoming posts, so when you see it in the store, bring some home!

Tri-Color Salad with Fresh Cheese and Lime-Honey Vinaigrette

Ensalada Tri Color con Queso Fresco y Vinagreta de Limón y Miel

Recipe Yield

6 to 8 servings

Cooking time

10 minutes

Rate this recipe

4 from 3 votes


For the salad:

  • 2 heads boston lettuce rinsed and drained
  • 1 pound tomatoes about 2, quartered, seeded and sliced
  • 1 large Mexican avocado halved, pitted, meat scooped out and sliced
  • 8 ounces queso fresco fresh cheese, may substitute with farmers cheese or feta cheese

For the vinaigrette:

  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey or brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons black pepper freshly ground
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil

To Prepare

To make the vinaigrette:

  • Place lime juice, vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl and thoroughly mix with a fork. Slowly pour safflower or vegetable oil and olive oil as you mix with a fork or whisk, emulsifying the ingredients so that they are well combined. You can also place all the ingredients in a tupperware or jar and shake until well mixed.
  • You may make the vinaigrette ahead of time, but be sure to cover and refrigerate. Whisk it again or shake it in a closed container so that it is emulsified before you add it to the salad.

To make the salad:

  • Place the lettuce leaves and tomatoes in a salad bowl. Add some of the vinaigrette and gently toss, so that the salad is moist but not soaked. Place the avocados and crumbled cheese on top. Drizzle some more vinaigrette on top and serve.


10comments inQueso Fresco: Tri-Color Salad with a Lime-Honey Vinaigrette

  1. Susan

    May 05

    Pati: What was the recipe you used last night (05/05/13) on the green tossed salad. I can’t find it, please advise. Thank you & I Love your show.

    1. Pati

      May 06

      Hi Susan, Thank you so much for watching! I think you are looking for the everyday green salad recipe:

  2. Joe Stubble

    Jun 06

    Caray! Paty,
    Ademas de cocinar bien! rico… Se ve que eres una mujer hermosa.
    Dichoso! tu marido.
    Gracias por compartir.
    Austin tx.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jun 12

      Es un placer. Muy amable por tus comentarios!

  3. heidileon

    Apr 07

    Pati, no lo puedo creer yo tampoco.
    Ya un anio!!.
    Y (para mi, como lectora asidua y amiga) ha sido un anio fantastico; como se, lo ha sido para ti.
    Te deseo todo el exito en este camino.
    Y mucho amor

    1. Pati Jinich

      Apr 07

      Heidi, Como vuela el tiempo?? Qué tal que gracias al blogging y el respectivo tweeting, nos conocimos! Mis mejores deseos también con todo mi cariño, a tí. Pronto, tendremos que conocernos en persona…. Aquí o allá. Besos, Pati.

  4. Sharon

    Apr 02

    Pat: Que delicia, como siempre todo lo que pones se me antoja, me haces recordar de donde soy, de donde vengo y recordar es saborear todo lo que veo aqui,ya me voy a cocinarlo….gracias! Que delicia! Sharon.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Apr 03

      Gracias Shar! Mira si respondo desde aquí ya te debería de llegar mi respuesta directo a tu email! Muchos besos, Pati.

  5. Moni

    Apr 02

    Yum! A yummy salad for a warm spring day. And I can’t wait for you to post on Queso Oaxaca, which is my favorite. I used to think queso fresco was it, but no… Jeje.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Apr 03

      Great! Will make a Queso Oaxaca post soon…. I love it too…

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