Never Buy Salad Dressing Again

Homemade Salad Dressing

April 30, 2013   37 Comments

Someone put something on that naked salad up there! Man, that looks cold.

And a wee bit boring.

I am a fan of putting dressing on my salad or other raw vegetables. Turns out that it is healthier to use a little fat to aid the digestive system to absorb the nutrients in lettuce and other vegetables - see: A Little Fat Helps the Vegetables Go Down.

Isn’t that funny? It tastes better and it is better for you as long as you don’t drown your lettuce so it needs to be rescued by a lifeguard.

Here is the label from a popular dressing in the supermarket:

Okay, there are a lot of ingredients there and the first one is water. Water isn’t one that I would think of when it comes to dressing. The second, soybean oil, lacks flavor. When I eat a salad, I want it to taste delicious. There are a bunch of ingredients here that many of you will not like. This is a label for ranch dressing - and my friend Katie shared a great homemade one here: healthier ranch dressing.

My favorite salad dressing is comprised of oil, vinegar, and a little Dijon mustard. Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, has an informative and fun video on her site for how to make vinaigrette: Ina Garten Makes Salad Dressing.

I mention Ina because I love her work, and my salad dressing is almost the same except for these facts:
1. No garlic - I am too lazy to chop it.
2. She whisks in a bowl - I shake in a Mason jar. No whisk or bowl to clean up and I can store it in the fridge.
3. She is a much better chef. I mean LOOK at her salad. yum.

Here is a photo of my "house" dressing (ha!):

Ina and I agree on California olive oil. I am a fan of California Ranch olive oil, which I can find at my Stop & Shop. It has a buttery flavor without any bitter or spicy kick and is my favorite for the price. To make a tasty salad dressing, you MUST have good quality olive oil. I know that sounds like I am some Food Network tyrant, but I have tried lesser brands and they just don’t taste very good.

Do you make your own dressing? What do you use? Please share.

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Homemade Green Salad Dressing Recipe

Makes about 3/4 cup

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil

Mix mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper, and extra virgin olive oil in a small jar by shaking it. Pour over washed fresh lettuce. Store leftover in your refrigerator for a month.

For 1 tablespoon: 74 calories, 8.4 g fat, 1.2 g saturated fat, 4.8 g carbohydrates, 0 g sugar, 0.0 g protein, 0.0 g fiber, 152 mg sodium, 3 Points+

Points values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only.
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Snack Girl receives a small percentage of sales from links to Amazon.com.

CALIFORNIA OLIVE RANCH OIL OLIVE XVRGN EVRYDY CALIF, 750 ML

$17.66   $16.31

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First 20 Comments: [ see all 37 ]

One of my kids really loved vinegar. He trained me to make it equal parts oil and vinegar and we love it that way. So, fiddle around with that part of the recipe until you see what your family likes!!

on April 30, 2013

Adding a little fresh lemon juice does wonders :) also try using flavored vinegars and/or olive oils! Sometimes I add some pureed fruit (raspberry, strawberry, even tangerines) for a fruit vinegrette dressing. It so much fun (and cheaper) to play around with the various favors! Enjoy!!!

on April 30, 2013

How long will this last in the fridge?

on April 30, 2013

Ina Garten Makes Salad Dressing Link does not work in the above email?

on April 30, 2013

Ever try grapeseed oil - yum - so light - just started cooking with it (unfortunately $$ more) but results in cooking and baking are great - I'm going to try it in my salad dressing which I'm collecting recipes to use..

on April 30, 2013

I am making my own dressings in the bullet blender. Use a fresh, organic tomato (otherwise it will be a GMO tomato for sure), few Tablespoons of sesame seeds (which have some naturally occuring oil...no need to use olive oil), water, salt and pepper, and whatever flavor you want add either the veggie (garlic, scallions) or seasonings. I sometimes make it spicy with chili powder and cayenne, or Indian seasonings, or a whole fresh lemon including zest. This is creamy and totally healthy!

The healthy oils are coconut and cold pressed extra virgin olive. Any others increase inflammation in the body includung Canola (it's also got GMO's), soy oil, safflowe, and even sunflower oil. They sound so pretty, but are best avoided.

on April 30, 2013

Julie, yes to grape seed oil! I forgot that one. I have some, but it spoils so fast, even in the frig and it's pricey, as you said. It's not to be cooked and MUST be kept in frig.

on April 30, 2013

I absolutely detest olives and olive oil. I've tried all price ranges. My fav dressing is nonfat buttermilk, tiny bit of mayo, lemon juice, and parmesan cheese.

on April 30, 2013

I've been using some spritzes of EVOO from my Misto, some fresh garlic (using a garlic press) and either some apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar or lemon juice. Then shake or toss in the salad. Maybe some added black pepper. (I'm interested in any homemade dressing with EVOO that lasts, and can maybe even be stored/used in a Misto.)

on April 30, 2013

I'm seconding grapeseed oil. Comes highly recommended from Chef Robert Irvine from Dinner Impossible fame. Very light, almost no taste really and for cooking has a much higher burning/smoking point.

on April 30, 2013

Regarding homemade salad dressings...I find Good Seasonings is excellent..it's the only store bought dressing I would buy for myself...

on April 30, 2013

I don't like using a garlic press because they are hard to clean and my dishwasher does not like it much. I use a screw-down pill crusher and it works great and is easy to clean!

on April 30, 2013

We've made exactly the same dressing for years and everyone seems to like it (very similar to yours):
Rice bran or light olive oil (it's just less viscous - more fluid, not lower in fat)
some lemon juice
apple cider vinegar
salt
pepper if you like
sprinkle of sugar (like the secret ingredient)

on April 30, 2013

Here is the vinaigrette I have made for years. I based it on a recipe from Sara Moulton of Food Network and made additions/changes.

1/4 C apple cider vinegar
3/4 C oil of your choice
1 t dijon mustard
1/4 t kosher salt (I cut the salt down)
1 clove garlic (I use a garlic press)
1 pinch sugar
1 T Parmesan Cheese
fresh Rosemary chopped, amount to taste
dried oregano (a few shakes)
dried basil (a couple of shakes)
Use your food processor for a few seconds.

I keep it in my old Good Seasonings cruet for a couple of weeks. It is so much better than the packets which have too much salt among other things. Use on salad or marinate chicken or shrimp. Or wash button mushrooms and marinate them for a day in this dressing. Delish!

on April 30, 2013

Oh yes - I almost always make my own dressing! I confess - there are a few commercial dressings that I like so I do use them sometimes.I know that a good olive oil is important and I've tried a few over the years. My current favorite is Colavita. I do a really nice basic dressing with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, miso paste, garlic (store bought already chopped, cause I'm lazy too!)and agave syrup. It's really good and good for you too!

on April 30, 2013

I totally agree on the good olive oil as a must. I just recently tried California olive oil and it is great. I make my dressing even simpler: drizzle good olive oil over baby greens, pinch of salt, grinding of pepper. The greens speak for themselves!

on April 30, 2013

I am sorry about the Ina Garten link - it is now working. I think that this would store for months in the refrigerator. What is going to go bad? If you add something fresh, like garlic, it would have a shorter shelf life. I always use mine up in a week so I haven't tested it for longer. Thanks, as always, for your questions!!

on April 30, 2013

I use organic hemp seed oil and braggs apple cider vinegar, and a touch of liquid aminos and frozen crushed garlic .. Delicious !!!

on April 30, 2013

I, too, use the ratio of half oil/half acid with a bit of dijon to help emulsify. My favorite acid is lemon juice...gives the dressing such a fresh taste! Have made ranch using greek yogurt and low-fat buttermilk. You don't even miss the mayo!

on April 30, 2013

I have returned to my root - my Italian grandmother used to put olive oil and vinegar on her salad, and that is all I use now.

on April 30, 2013

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