Never Buy Salad Dressing Again

April 30, 2013   37 Comments

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

Homemade Salad Dressing

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.

Homemade Green Salad Dressing Recipe

1.6 from 24 reviews

Makes about 3/4 cup

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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.

Nutrition Facts

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. See all Snack Girl Recipes

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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!!

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!!!

How long will this last in the fridge?

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

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..

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 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.

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.

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.

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.)

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.

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

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!

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
pepper if you like

sprinkle of sugar (like the secret ingredient)

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!

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!

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!

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!!

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

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

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.

I was tired of my lettuce going bad so i started replacing lettuce with homemade sprouts (broccoli sprouts, alfalfa, clover, etc...) They really add crunch to salads and are wonderful with homemade dressings. Add a tablespoon of dressing on a plate and build your salad from there. I can't wait to try the recipes with my sprout salads.

Patti, my garlic press is the easiest in the world to clean (not sure of the brand--maybe Good Cook? I got it at Kohl's Department Store). It has a self cleaner side that you just flip the other way and it pushes ALL the gunk backwards out of the holes--just rinse under hot water. No need to put in the dishwasher.

I recently made a salad based on one I found online, but with modifications. I used spinach and added dried cranberries (full of extra sugar, I'm sure), pecans, a bit of red olive separated into 1/4 rings, and oranges. I cut the oranges in 1/2 and sectioned them. After dumping in the sections, I squeezed the remaining orange skins (still containing a good bit of juice) over the salad. Finally I added a bit of olive oil. It was delicious!

Yup. What you've got there is a traditional French Dressing! Not the French Dressing as we know it, but the one they actually use in France. You aren't offered any options when you order a salad, you get what the chef knows is best. ;-)

I like to use a good quality, expeller pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Italy. It should be greenish in color, not golden or brown. I agree, the quality of dressing makes a difference! I have olive oil I cook with and olive oil I use for "finishing".

A quick dressing that is delicious if you like vinegar is to make any Good Seasons flavor using the carafe but reverse the amounts of the olive oil and the vinegar. Tangy good!

I've been making my own dressing for all my married life-over 40 years-My grandma's French dressing, Marian Burros' Thousand Island, and my new favorite from a Minnesota restaurant, the Angry Trout-Maple Mustard with oil, maple syrup, and dijon mustard-the BEST!

I know we are talking about dressing here but I am SO thrilled you love Ina Garten! I have all her cookbooks, love her TV show. She is so calm and practical and a little pudgy which makes everything just seem wonderful.

Walden Farms makes good calorie free dressings - esp. the "asian" one and I hate most low or no calorie dressings.

Looks tasy, but I do love my Champagne vinagerette

SG, thank you for this post! Now that it is spring, I am back on my week day salad kick for lunch. I am always so tempted to buy dressing at the store, but thanks to you I look at the ingredients and put it back on the shelf and run. I have been changing up my dressing daily. I usually mix approximately 1 TB olive oil with 1 TB of the following: red/white/balsamic vinegar and a dash of S&P and a dash of dried herbs or fresh herbs from my garden (basil, thyme, oregano). It doesn't matter as long as there is a 1 to 1 ratio.

Last year I made a mason jar full of homemade honey mustard dressing. Overall, pretty healthy compared to store bought. Check out the recipe:… I made this for a backyard barbeque with my neighbors and they wanted the recipe!

agree w/patti, bonnie, re: dress your salad fresh every time! we use this dressing from my croatian ex: cold-pressed evoo, the best you can afford balsamic vinegar, prob. 3:1 ratio, pinch good salt, few grinds fresh ground black pepper, toss, eat.

I like using balsamic vinegar from TJ's that is reduced down to a thick consistency. Nothing else needed.

Joan, your recipe is similar to what I do--I think Patti & I were talking about garlic presses for fresh garlic & cleaning them. I mentioned a Misto, which is great for keeping EVOO fresh (nice and dark) while giving great, easy control over the amount/calories used. Freshly made is always great, but when there's nothing to go bad in the dressing, it's also nice to have some ready to go when crunched for time, and it would still beat store-bought processed dressing. :)

My dad used to make a salad dressing... vinegar and oil (whichever brand or type you prefer) add salt and pepper to taste, a little dry mustard, and crumbled Blue Cheese!! He called it, Panther Perspiration!! It tasted wonderful, though, and I still use his old dressing cruet to serve it -- brings back the memories!

My husband makes the best dressing... Olive oil, vinegar, black pepper, salt, garlic, and honey. It is awesome! Everyone loves it and is often requested from family and friends! It keeps about a week and then whatever is leftover (which is usually none) we use as a marinade for whatever meat we are grilling.

I make mine with 1 tbsp. olive oil and 3 tbsp of rice vinegar (very mild taste), salt, pepper to taste and a pinch of sugar or half a packet of Stevia. Add a couple tbsp water to this also. We like it more vinegary than oily and it doesn't have many calories. This is just enough for one time for two people

I've become a purist as well. No bottled dressing in my house. Every day I eat a salad for lunch. All I put on it is a teaspoon of EVOO and my favorite vinegar: Cuisine Perel's Late Harvest Riesling Vinegar. It's sweet and expensive, but I only need a tablespoon for each salad.

Lisa, I make my own vinaigrette,and it's my fav! First, infuse orange flavor in abt a cup or two of EVOO, as Rachel Ray says, by thinly paring peel of an orange and letting "soak" in EVOO for 3-4 days; remove said orange peel. I then measure out 1part of the EVOO, mix w/2 parts balsamic vinegar, a minced garlic clove or 2, and add any spices you may like, fresh or dried, like basil, thyme, oregano. (I too am lazy half the time & use "canned" minced garlic)! Mix altogether and use right away if using fresh herbs, otherwise no need to refrigerate. This is particularly good w/spinach, dried or fresh fruit, some feta, and an ounce of chopped nuts or sliced almonds! Can always add some chicken breast or shrimp!


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