A Spicy Lime Cilantro Sauce to Kick Up Your Summer Cooking

by Pamela

cilantro sauce, lime cilantro sauce, cilantro recipes, 5 ingredients or less recipes

Have you ever eaten something topped with a spread or sauce on it that makes you want to eat even more? Or maybe you just decide to leave out the middle stuff and grab the bowl or jar of that magic mix of ingredients and just start to spoon it into your mouth. Meat and veggies be damned! Gimme that sauce and get out of my way. That’s the way you’re going to act once you taste this spicy lime cilantro sauce. I swear!!!

I just got back from visiting family back in Ohio and am so glad to be back home. I don’t go back often, and usually try to avoid the summer months because of the wretched heat and humidity. I, being of the fragile flower type. But mother nature decided to really bitch slap me on this trip. The day we left (and not a moment too soon I might add) it was 94 degrees and 89% humidity. I took 2 showers that day and truthfully, I never felt like I ever toweled off from either. Is it possible to drown by breathing air with a high humidity? Yes, I was a drama queen…what about it?

I miss my family (especially my niece and nephews), but I’ve got to admit that I am very happy to be back home in temperate California (no, I do not live in the hot part of the state). I was also pretty happy to be back to eating some home cooking. Visiting family means lots of eating out. Not that the family doesn’t cook, they do, but with time being so limited there’s lots of meals that occur on the run. Plus, we’ve got to check out some of the new restaurants that have opened since the last time we were home. And there are LOTS of them.

Firing up the grill is one of our favorite ways to make dinner. It’s less mess and the food is just a little more fun when it’s cooked over those grates and lots of fire. So we picked up a huge piece of skirt steak and dinner was already half done.

Cilantro Recipes

We weren’t too sure what skirt steak recipe we were going to use, if any, so I decided that we would probably need some kind of a sauce to put over it whether we just sliced it as is or made tacos out of it. Since I had a fridge full of cilantro and a bowl of limes, I knew we were looking at a cilantro recipe of some sort.

Another ingredient that I always have on hand is a bag (truth time: 4 bags) of dried peppers. Pasilla, guajillo, ancho….these peppers, in their dried form, are a great little thing to keep around to add flavor to all kinds of recipes. Soak them in warm water for a few minutes and you can chop them, or puree them, and add a bit of heat and depth to dishes. And just like Italians use some of the water that boiled the pasta to add to sauces, you can add the pepper soaking water to add more flavor while thinning the consistency of your recipe. Why just thin with plain ol’ water when you can also add flavor?

This spicy lime cilantro sauce is pretty perfect as is and we slathered it all over our skirt steak tacos. But this would work great as a spread on a turkey sandwich or stirred into a pasta or quinoa salad. You could also take this cilantro sauce and stir it into sour cream, or plain yogurt, and turn it into a tasty dip for chips or veggies. You gotta love a multi-purpose recipe.

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Recipe: Spicy Lime Cilantro

Summary: Makes Approximately 1 Cup


  • 2 Dried Guajillo Peppers
  • 1 Large Bunch of Cilantro (thick stems removed)
  • 1/3 Cup Red Onion (roughly chopped)
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1/4 Cup Lime Juice
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper


  1. Remove the stems and seeds from the peppers.
  2. Pour 1 1/2 cups hot water over the peppers and soak until they become soft and pliable (approximately 15-20 minutes)
  3. Remove the peppers from the soaking water and drop them into a blender.
  4. Add the cilantro, onion, garlic and lime juice to the blender.
  5. Cover and puree until smooth. If you need to thin the sauce, add a tablespoon of the pepper soaking water. Continue adding the water (a tablespoon at a time) until the desired consistency is achieved.
  6. Pour the sauce into a container and add salt and pepper to taste.

Preparation time: 25 minute(s)

Cooking time:

Diet type: Vegan

Diet tags: Reduced fat, Gluten free, Raw

Number of servings (yield): 1

Culinary tradition: USA (General)




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Belinda @zomppa June 25, 2012 at 2:26 pm

94? That’s nothing! Sure want this sauce, though. I LOVE being the cool aunt!

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