Cheesecake Factory Santa Fe Salad Dressing

The Cheesecake Factory Santa Fe Salad dressing is a cilantro-based salad dressing used in the Santa Fe Chicken Salad. You can recreate this famous salad dressing at home.

a jar of copycat Cheesecake Factory Santa Fe dressing in front of two salads.

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Southwestern Sante Fe Salad

One of my favorite things to get at the Cheesecake Factory is the Santa Fe Salad. I just love the cilantro-lime dressing that adds a perfect refreshing zest to this Tex-Mex inspired dish.

So, if you’ve had the Santa Fe Salad at the Cheesecake Factory and wished you could make the dressing at home, this copycat salad dressing recipe is for you.

Santa Fe Style Dressing

Santa Fe Salad Dressing is a delicious way to add a lot of punch to even the most basic salad. Chockfull of fresh ingredients such as cilantro, garlic, ginger, lime juice, vinegar, and spices, it beats anything you can find on the store shelves, hands down.

If you prefer a salad dressing that is really flavor-forward, you will love this Santa Fe Salad Dressing inspired by the version served at The Cheesecake Factory.

Why This Is the Best Santa Fe Salad Dressing Out There 

There are no hard and fast rules about the ingredients in a Santa Fe Salad Dressing. You can find recipes that use thyme instead of cilantro or even versions that resemble ranch dressing with buttermilk and mayonnaise on the list of ingredients.

But this recipe resembles (and dare I say, improves on) the original The Cheesecake Factory Santa Fe Salad Dressing recipe. The secret to why this salad dressing tastes so much better is the freshness and quality of the ingredients, so always choose the highest quality you can find. 

Recipe Ingredients

To make Santa Fe Salad Dressing, you will need:

  • Garlic
  • Fresh ginger
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Wine vinegar
  • Ground cumin
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Honey
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Canola oil
  • Olive oil
Cheesecake Factory Santa Fe salad dressing ingredients.

Recipe Variations

Feel free to customize this Cheesecake Factory salad dressing recipe. Here are a few suggestions you may want to try:

  • Add half an avocado to the recipe to give the dressing a smooth mouthfeel. 
  • Seed a jalapeno pepper and add it to the food processor for some additional spice.
  • Swap out the white vinegar for rice wine vinegar for a bit more of a bite. 
  • Use queso fresco instead of parmesan to reduce the grittiness of the dressing.  

Equipment You May Need 

A food processor is your best option for making this dressing, but you can also use a blender. Just be aware that blenders tend to purée ingredients much finer than food processors and heat them.

Use the PULSE option on a blender to break up the solid ingredients. Then transfer them to a bowl to finish making the dressing using a hand whisk.

How to Peel and Mince Fresh Ginger

Fresh ginger has a wonderful taste and can enhance many savory and sweet dishes. Its versatility means that it can be found in a variety of recipes.

Ginger is also widely believed to have many health benefits, so a cup of hot ginger tea with lemon and honey might be the perfect pick-me-up if you’re under the weather.

There are several methods for peeling and mincing fresh ginger – click on this link to read about them.

How to Make Santa Fe Salad Dressing

  1. Drop garlic cloves and ginger through the feed tube of a food processor while the motor is on. Continue processing until garlic and ginger are finely minced.
chopped garlic and ginger in a food processor.
  1. Add the cilantro and process until finely chopped.
  2. Add spices, lime juice, vinegar, honey, and parmesan cheese. Process until well mixed.
chopped herbs and garlic in a food processor.
  1. With the motor running, slowly pour the oil through the feed tube. Let it process one more minute.
Cheesecake Factory Santa Fe salad dressing in a food processor.
  1. Transfer the dressing to a jar.
  2. Enjoy the dressing on a mixed green salad or a copycat Cheesecake Factory Santa Fe salad.
copycat Cheesecake Factory Santa Fe salad dressing and two salads behind it.

Cheesecake Factory Santa Fe Salad

To make the Santa Fe Salad the way the restaurant serves it:

  1. Slice a grilled chicken breast into bite size pieces or thin strips.
  2. Place the chicken strips on top of a bed of mixed greens. Use your favorite salad blend or baby leaf lettuce and romaine.
  3. Garnish with whole kernel corn, black beans, diced tomatoes, shredded Monterey jack cheese, and corn tortilla strips.
  4. Place the dressing on the side or drizzle it over the salad.
overhead view of copycat Cheesecake Factory Santa Fe dressing and salad.

How To Store Cheesecake Factory Salad Dressing

Keep the salad dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

How Long Does It Last 

Try to use the Santa Fe Dressing within three days to prevent the cilantro from turning brown and the garlic from overpowering the dressing. 

Other Possible Uses for This Homemade Santa Fe Salad Dressing 

This salad dressing makes an excellent marinade for chicken, or go ahead and use it as a sauce for grilled chicken or a firm white fish such as tilapia, Atlantic cod, and sole. It is perfect for adding extra zip to fish or chicken tacos!

copycat Cheesecake Factory Santa Fe dressing and two salads.

Did you love the Cheesecake Factory Santa Fe Salad dressing or maybe you only go to the Cheesecake Factory for their irresistible cheesecake?

Or, maybe you are hungry for more copycat Cheesecake Factory recipes? If so, let me know which ones.

And, I would love to hear what your favorite Cheesecake Factory recipe is – drop me a line in the comments section below.

Can’t get enough of the Cheesecake Factory? Try these copycat recipes!

Favorite Salad Dressing Recipes

Be sure to check out more of my homemade salad dressing recipes and the best copycat restaurant recipes.

Thanks to dsign4you for sharing this salad recipe.

a jar of copycat Cheesecake Factory Santa Fe dressing in front of two salads.

Cheesecake Factory Santa Fe Salad Dressing

Make the Cheesecake Factory Santa Fe Salad Dressing from scratch.
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cheesecake Factory Recipes, Santa Fe Salad Dressing
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 300kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
  • 2 bunches cilantro rinsed well, most of the stalk ends trimmed off, and finely chopped (about 1 cup loosely packed)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • teaspoons wine vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Instructions

With a food processor

  • Drop the garlic cloves and ginger through the feed tube while the motor is on. Mince well.
  • Add the cilantro and process until finely chopped.
  • Add the lime juice, vinegar, salt, spices, honey, and Parmesan cheese. Process until well mixed.
  • With the motor running, slowly pour the oils through the feed tube, and process for one more minute.

Without a food processor

  • Mince the garlic, ginger, and cilantro, and place them in a mixing bowl with the lime juice, vinegar, salt, spices, honey, and cheese.
  • Whisk in the oil until it is emulsified into the dressing.

Notes

To make the Cheesecake Factory Santa Fe Salad, you will need mixed greens, shredded grilled chicken breast, corn kernels, rinsed black beans, bell pepper, chopped tomato, shredded cheese and toasted tortilla strips.

Nutrition

Calories: 300kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 427mg | Potassium: 61mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 255IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 0.3mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Joann

    There is a fair amount of Parm in this recipe and I wanted to make it vegan. Anyone try it without the parm and can tell me how it was? I would use another sweetener as well. Im hoping if I leave those out and add peanut butter, it will still be amazing!

      • Lori

        5 stars
        Using this recipe as a starting point I made an oil-free vegan version *with* peanut butter and OMG it is DELISH! I’m thrilled to be able to enjoy my former fave dressing while maintaining my plant-based lifestyle choices. Yay!!

  2. Joyce. Boerman

    We were at your Tucson restaurant Thurs night and shared the Sante Fe chicken salad, My husband said it was the best salad he ever had. I agree. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  3. Kelly

    5 stars
    I made this recipe tonight and it was very delicious. I used only one bunch of cilantro and it was enough for me. I used EVOO for the oil. Will definitely make it again.

  4. Andre

    Thanks for all the effort and hard work you put into this website! When you say 2 bunches of cilantro, the one I buy at the grocery store are pretty big, I would say the size of a soft ball, should I use 2??? I am afraid it will overpower! Thanks! Andre

  5. Tappy

    I eyeball everything, I don’t measure because you can taste the ingredients once they are mixed together.
    This by far the best copykat. 🙂

  6. Sandra

    Delish! My cilantro bunches were pretty large, so I only used one. I was out of ginger so I used 2 tbs of crystallized ginger instead. Thanks for the recipe

  7. Rhonda

    I have looked on here but cant find the recipe for the spicy peanut dressing form The Cheesecake Factory can anyone help me??

  8. Sarah

    I tried it and it came out super good but my only question is what is meant by 2 2 bunches cilantro, I used about 1 cup but it was ok, can u give me the exact amout of cilantro plz!!

  9. Elizabeth

    Does anyone know the recipe for the Caesar Salad dressing from Cheesecake Factory? I love it! It’s super garlicky and spicy…

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