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What's your favorite salad dressing (homemade)?

linguafood Nov 23, 2007 02:21 PM

Hi hounds. I saw a similar posting for favorite soup recipes, and figured I'd get many interesting responses....

I always make dressings/vinaigrettes from scratch, and am thus always looking for new ideas. I have a variety of oils, such as olive (d'uh), lemon, walnut, roasted peanut, and roasted almond; I also have a bunch of different vinegars: white wine, red wine, white balsamic, regular balsamic, sherry, malt.... and a couple of different mustards.

What is YOUR favorite dressing?

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  1. v
    Val RE: linguafood Nov 23, 2007 02:42 PM

    I keep on posting this one for Miso Vinaigrette from Epicurious when folks ask this question... I always double the fresh ginger,,,as an alternative to this, I usually just use crushed fresh garlic, extra virgin olive oil whisked together with either 1. fresh lemon juice OR 2. balsamic vinegar...the bottled stuff just has WAY too much sodium!


    2 Replies
    1. re: Val
      alex8alot RE: Val Nov 23, 2007 02:49 PM

      I was going to post this one as well as soon as I saw the subject. It is great. I only use about a third of the oil as it is too heavy.

      1. re: Val
        kkak97 RE: Val Nov 26, 2007 06:27 PM

        I use this exact same dressing, and I love it.

        I also use a bit of champagne vinegar, mustard, fresh lemon juice, olive oil and S&P to taste.

      2. Wahooty RE: linguafood Nov 23, 2007 07:04 PM

        This is not fancy, but I DO love it. The basic components are lime juice (a little white wine vinegar to stretch it if things are getting too tart for taste), salt & pepper, LOTS of cumin, garlic, LOTS of cilantro, extra-virgin olive oil. It ain't much, but it always makes me wish the salad were bigger.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Wahooty
          piccola RE: Wahooty Nov 24, 2007 10:24 AM

          One of my faves, too - esp. with mint and/or cilantro. Makes a simple tomato-cucumber salad sing.

          I really like curry dressing, too. I make it with plain yogurt, curry powder, lemon or lime juice, salt, and a little honey. (A quick variation: sub wasabi for curry, rice vinergar for lemon, stir in a little soy sauce.)

        2. d
          dibob817 RE: linguafood Nov 23, 2007 07:12 PM

          JUst a simple italian ma taught me,and made the salad first,and then put the spices on top and the oil , etc and mixed it by hand. blk pepper, garlic powder, basil, oregano, pinch sugar, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and a small splash of balsamic. I get a lot of compliments on it.

          1. linguafood RE: linguafood Nov 24, 2007 09:16 AM

            Thanks for the replies so far.... though there must not be a lot of salad eaters out here, it would appear. Bummer.

            I do it the 'Italian' way sometimes, too, where you just throw the vinaigrette ingredients on top of the salad and mix it all in. Messy, but good.

            1 Reply
            1. re: linguafood
              Val RE: linguafood Nov 24, 2007 10:04 AM

              Lingua, you might also do a 'search' on this board of your topic if you haven't already...I know for sure it has come up before--I've posted that recipe many times under similar posts. During the summertime, salads are a pretty popular subject.

            2. k
              Kelli2006 RE: linguafood Nov 24, 2007 10:11 AM

              I use a Tsp of Bertmans mustard and then add equal parts of extra virgin olive oil and either homemade red wine or cider vinegar, plus my own spice mix.

              I bought a small jar of Penzeys vinaigrette spice mix, but it has sugar and too much salt.

              Did anyone notice that commercial vinaigrette has HFCS in it? I know that HFCS is cheap but why does everything need to be sweetened?

              (Fights the urge to go O-T and rant about HFCS)

              2 Replies
              1. re: Kelli2006
                Val RE: Kelli2006 Nov 24, 2007 10:25 AM

                I also like Dijon and vinegar mixed together, very nice with finely chopped shallot or crushed garlic, too.

                I am SO with you on the HFCS...they put it in breads, even stewed tomatoes...I recently bought a can of Publix brand stewed tomatoes and then e-mailed Del Monte to say "I could have bought YOUR brand but didn't because you add HFCS...why are you putting bad ingredients in your products? I refuse to purchase products that contain HFCS and I'm telling you so." They e-mailed me back some corporate bull-honkey reply like: "At Del Monte, we use only the finest quality ingredient for our customers." Sickening--what liars.

                1. re: Val
                  NYchowcook RE: Val Nov 25, 2007 06:52 AM

                  I did the same rant to Schwepps -- emailed them that I would no longer purchase their tonic water because of HFCS. There went my summer Gin and tonics!
                  (switched to chile-infused guava margaritas, so no complaints!)

              2. revsharkie RE: linguafood Nov 24, 2007 10:17 AM

                I have a recipe someone gave me a very long time ago for "Garlic Cheese Dressing," basically a really good creamy blue cheese dressing. It's really, really good; but the recipe makes about a quart of dressing, so I don't make it very often because Mike doesn't really care for it and I can't eat that much dressing by myself.

                2 Replies
                1. re: revsharkie
                  Eric in NJ RE: revsharkie Nov 24, 2007 07:33 PM

                  And the recipe is?

                  1. re: Eric in NJ
                    revsharkie RE: Eric in NJ Nov 28, 2007 04:58 PM

                    Garlic Cheese Dressing

                    6 cloves fresh garlic
                    8 oz. cream cheese
                    1/2 to 1 c. mayonnaise
                    1/2 t. dry mustard
                    Juice of 1/2 lemon
                    Cheese of choice (bleu, gorgonzola, roquefort, etc.)

                    Mince garlic in food processor. Add cream cheese, mayo, dry mustard, and lemon juice. Thin with milk to a little runnier than desired (it will thicken as it chills).

                    Blend in kind and amount of cheese to suit individual taste. Do not overprocess once the cheese has been added; this will leave some chunks of cheese in the dressing.

                2. toodie jane RE: linguafood Nov 24, 2007 10:48 AM

                  it's very 90's but I love honey-dijon with plenty of fresh garlic and ginger. I use a mild olive oil and add 1T. toasted walnut grapeseed oil as my 'secret ingredient'. I use this on green salads, coleslaw, oven roasted veggies, rice and veg salads, etc. Very versatile. Not too sweet, with a good mirin vinegar bite.

                  1. chef chicklet RE: linguafood Nov 24, 2007 10:55 AM

                    I almost didn't answer because I don't have a favorite. Ok if I had to choose 3 bare with me.
                    Creamy blue cheese
                    Balsamic and with a smidgen of ranch or blue cheese with the crumbles is delicious
                    Red wine and olive oil with salt and pepper. LOVE IT.
                    or Champagne citrus dressing. very refreshing too! oops that was 4/sorry! But it also depends on the weather/time of year and what else I'm making. They all become my favorite at the time and I have many others that I make and wouldn't dare list.

                    1. Den RE: linguafood Nov 24, 2007 10:59 AM

                      My MIL's 1000 Island but if I posted the recipe my wife would kill me!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Den
                        scuzzo RE: Den Nov 26, 2007 01:46 PM

                        Come on, I dare you. I won't tell. But I will make it!

                      2. Tom P RE: linguafood Nov 24, 2007 06:51 PM

                        I usually start with minced shallots and minced garlic sitting in vinegar (red wine, or red wine and champagne combined). Then I add olive oil, a little Creole mustard (with seeds), lemon juice and lots of thyme, salt and fresh black pepper. I like a ratio of 3 or 4:1 olive oil to vinegar.

                        This is a great base. I often just use it on it's own. You can add crumbled blue cheese for an excellent blue cheese vinaigrette. Also, recently, I like to add some buttermilk and mayonnaise for an excellent buttermilk vinaigrette. It is light: you could add a lot of buttermilk and mayo or sour cream if you wanted it creamier.

                        I don’t know why anyone buys salad dressing at the store, it is so easy to make at home and infinitely better.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Tom P
                          NYchowcook RE: Tom P Nov 25, 2007 06:54 AM

                          I like the technique of putting shallots in wine vinegar for at least 15 mins to kinda mellow while I do other things before whipping up the vinaigrette. Though I'm a garlic fanatic and consider it a major food group, I generally use just shallots in my vinaigrette.

                        2. menuinprogress RE: linguafood Nov 24, 2007 07:05 PM

                          We are vinegar fiends, so our staple is a simple oil and vinegar (usually red wine) with salt and pepper and a bit of dried herbs. Contrary to most recipes, we use about 2-3 times more vinegar than oil.

                          The key is finding a vinegar you really like.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: menuinprogress
                            diablo RE: menuinprogress Nov 26, 2007 05:59 PM

                            I do the same, mip. I am a huge vinegar fan. Been known to drink it straight as a kid, but like it with some olive oil, leeeetle bit o' garlic, s+p, and dijon now.

                            1. re: menuinprogress
                              howboy RE: menuinprogress Nov 27, 2007 10:34 AM

                              Me too, love vinegars. I usually use a few drops of balsamic vinegar, a splach of rice wine vinegar and some fresh lemon juice along with garlic, s&p, good EVOO....sometimes some walnut oil or some fancy artisinal oil if I have it. I like the depth of floavor when I use a few different oils and vinegars.

                            2. j
                              JGrey RE: linguafood Nov 25, 2007 06:19 AM

                              I attempt a copy of my favorite restaurant salad dressing

                              Mayo and yogurt or sour cream as a base (I use more yogurt than mayo)
                              lemon juice or red wine vinegar
                              Dijon mustard (to taste-- I like it sinus-clearing)
                              Cayenne or "cajun seasoning" (no salt if using that)

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: JGrey
                                linguafood RE: JGrey Nov 26, 2007 02:49 PM

                                That sounds really good, too! I can't wait to try all those recipes.

                              2. NYchowcook RE: linguafood Nov 25, 2007 06:55 AM

                                I would love a good buttermilk/blue cheese dressing.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: NYchowcook
                                  foxy fairy RE: NYchowcook Nov 27, 2007 10:25 AM

                                  This one calls for feta, and it's just delicious. I can't see why blue cheese wouldn't make it even better?? I'll confess to using this as a dipping sauce for anything in the kitchen - it's just that good. I also like it with Nigella's ultra-simple Ritzy chicken - plus, you can use some more buttermilk there.

                                  Blend: 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 Tbsp vinegar (white wine or cider), 1 clove smashed-up garlic, 1 teaspoon fresh dill, 1/3 cup feta cheese plus 2 Tbsp extra crumbles. Keep the blender running, as you slowly add 1/3 cup buttermilk. Grind on black pepper.


                                2. JoyM RE: linguafood Nov 26, 2007 12:09 PM

                                  I keep a jar on my spice shelf called "salad spice." It's a mixture of dried oregano, basil, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, cumin and dill. I crumble it as small as possible as I move it from the individual spice jar to the salad spice jar. To make the dressing, I put a few pinches of this mixture (crumbling it up a little more) in a small dish, mix with about a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, add about the same amount of soy sauce, and then several tablespoons of vinegar (I use red wine but it should be find with any type). Then I add about the same amount of olive oil. Shake well, don't refrigerate.

                                  I find that I eat much more salad with this dressing. At least for me, it has just enough taste to add deliciousness to the salad but not so much taste, like many bottled dressings IMO, that it actually takes away from the taste of the salad veggies.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: JoyM
                                    linguafood RE: JoyM Nov 26, 2007 01:26 PM

                                    Soy sauce. Interesting. I assume you don't add any salt to this? It sounds good, and I'll have to give it a whirl. I am partial to fresh herbs, but in these corners, you have to buy a tree of anything, so sometimes I use dried.

                                    1. re: linguafood
                                      JoyM RE: linguafood Nov 28, 2007 04:21 PM

                                      I generally don't like dried herbs all that much, as compared w/ fresh, but for some reason they work really well in this dressing, maybe because the soy sauce, vinegar and mustard are so strong. And it never goes bad. And, no it doesn't need any salt, but probably most people would add pepper too.

                                  2. p
                                    potterybliss RE: linguafood Nov 26, 2007 12:48 PM

                                    I make a simple balsamic vinaigrette with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and dijon mustard. It's wonderful on a salad with orange sections, avocado, and Trader Joe's glazed almonds.

                                    1. s
                                      swsidejim RE: linguafood Nov 26, 2007 12:50 PM

                                      I enjoy making 1000 Island, and then making some Rueben's at home. The fresh dressing makes the sandwich even better.

                                      1. jfood RE: linguafood Nov 26, 2007 01:02 PM

                                        Jfood has a very hard time with salad dressings. And if anyone has a recipe to make at home he would very much appreciate it. The dressing he uses all the time is Olde Cape Cod Honey French Lite. Say what you may, but it's delicious.

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: jfood
                                          linguafood RE: jfood Nov 26, 2007 01:30 PM

                                          jfood could try mixing his fave vinegar & oil 1:3, add garlic, tsp of dijon (or no mustard), salt & pepper, and voilá: gentlemen, behold = vinaigrette. Doesn't get much easier than this, and beats any bottled dressing.

                                          Or use some canola oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper, fresh dill & sour cream for a fresh and crips cuke salad... add some radishes.

                                          I guess it's obvious I like my salads :-D

                                          1. re: linguafood
                                            jfood RE: linguafood Nov 26, 2007 03:12 PM

                                            jfood understand the theory but unless it has the tangy red taste then it just another vinaigrette.

                                            And although those recipes sound like good suggestions, it just ain't the same.

                                            thanks for the try

                                            1. re: jfood
                                              linguafood RE: jfood Nov 26, 2007 03:27 PM

                                              if by 'tangy red taste' jfood means red wine vinegar, or balsamic (not tomato ketchup, which may be an ingredient in his favorite commercial dressing), that tangy taste will most certainly be there if above mentioned vinegars are used.

                                              1. re: linguafood
                                                jfood RE: linguafood Nov 26, 2007 04:40 PM

                                                tangy as in:


                                                see it's backordered. everyone loves it.

                                              2. re: jfood
                                                othervoice RE: jfood Nov 26, 2007 03:31 PM

                                                I love that stuff and I've tried to replicate it several times. Nothing gives it that tang. Old Cape Cod makes several good things, I use their honey mustard all the time. also something with cranberry in it. can't recall the exact name but it's very good.

                                            2. re: jfood
                                              diablo RE: jfood Nov 26, 2007 06:01 PM

                                              Olde Cape Cod uses no GMO's. Just for the record. Go OCC!

                                            3. arifa RE: linguafood Nov 26, 2007 01:07 PM

                                              the is my favorite version of those ginger dressings you get at the Japanese teppan grill places. i should make some more... i need to boost my veggie intake after all those mashed potatoes and stuffing!

                                              Ginger Dressing
                                              from Mitsukoshi Teppanyaki Dining Room, Epcot

                                              1/2 cup sliced onions
                                              1/2 cup vegetable oil
                                              1/4 cup white vinegar
                                              1/4 cup Japanese soy sauce
                                              2 teaspoons sugar
                                              2 tablespoons chopped gingerroot
                                              1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
                                              1/2 teaspoon salt
                                              1/2 teaspoon pepper

                                              1. Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend on low for 1
                                              minute, then high for 30 seconds.
                                              2. Add additional salt or pepper to taste. Chill.
                                              3. Stir before serving on salad.

                                              Yield: 1 1/2 cups.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: arifa
                                                linguafood RE: arifa Nov 26, 2007 01:27 PM

                                                You know, I tend to shy away from using ginger in a 'regular' salad -- such as baby romaine or arugula w/tomatoes, toasted pumpkin seeds, or the like... I could see using it in a more Asian-themed salad, but maybe the ginger doesn't come through as much as I think it would?

                                                1. re: linguafood
                                                  arifa RE: linguafood Nov 26, 2007 08:10 PM

                                                  oh no - it totally comes through. you definitely want this on a crunchy romaine kind of salad maybe with some carrots, but nothing too fancy.

                                              2. pikawicca RE: linguafood Nov 26, 2007 03:37 PM

                                                In the food processor, equal parts (by weight) of Roquefort, Hellman's mayo and sour cream. A squeeze of lemon juice and lots of freshly ground black pepper. A touch of sea salt, if needed. Bliss! This is my "let's indulge ourselves" dressing. The standard house dressing is EVOO, lemon juice, champagne vinegar, dijon, salt and pepper.

                                                7 Replies
                                                1. re: pikawicca
                                                  linguafood RE: pikawicca Nov 26, 2007 04:20 PM

                                                  Sounds like it could be kinda thick... do you serve it with leaf lettuces, or more robust stuff like Belgian Endive, or Radicchio, or iceberg? Other than that... thanks for another delish suggesh. ha.

                                                  1. re: linguafood
                                                    pikawicca RE: linguafood Nov 26, 2007 05:02 PM

                                                    It is thick, but that just means that you toss more. With any salad dressing, you just want to lightly coat the lettuce.

                                                    1. re: pikawicca
                                                      linguafood RE: pikawicca Nov 28, 2007 10:55 AM

                                                      Yes, but the thickness of the dressing means you also need to consider the type of salad you'll use -- arugula, or any mesclun mixes would wilt or simply not survive being tossed with something so heavy.

                                                      So for a mix of romaine & sliced zucchini, I ended up riffing on your dressing with crumbled blue cheese, sour cream (and very little mayo), lemon juice & white balsamic, s&p, 3 garlic cloves, scallion, some cayennne -- it came out very nicely. First I hadn't added salt because of the cheese, but it became very apparent that extra salt was needed to actually bring out the blue cheese flavor more. I'll have to make this again.

                                                  2. re: pikawicca
                                                    Eric in NJ RE: pikawicca Nov 26, 2007 05:47 PM

                                                    Thanks I'll give it a try. Just a thought, using a plain yogurt in place of the sour cream might thin it out a bit. I would probably love the thick one though.

                                                    1. re: pikawicca
                                                      Tom P RE: pikawicca Nov 27, 2007 08:23 AM

                                                      I love this, too. My only changes are additions: a little red pepper, a little minced garlic and a dash of worstershire. Is there anything better than a great blue cheese/roquefort dressing?

                                                      1. re: Tom P
                                                        scuzzo RE: Tom P Nov 27, 2007 08:30 AM

                                                        No, there is nothing better. Silly question!

                                                        1. re: scuzzo
                                                          howboy RE: scuzzo Nov 27, 2007 10:37 AM

                                                          On a cold wedge of Iceberg lettuce!

                                                    2. saraeanderson RE: linguafood Nov 26, 2007 06:18 PM

                                                      One of my favorite and most simple staples is 1 part oil (whatever you like), 1 part cider vinegar, 1 part brown sugar and 1 part tamari.

                                                      I also love garlic dijon vinaigrette, balsamic vinaigrette, and my husband makes a great lime-mint vinaigrette, too.

                                                      And, as an aside, I don't understand why making your own dressing has acquired a reputation as a foodie habit - I buy salad dressing on occasion, but I always end up throwing 3/4 of it out after it sits in my fridge for 6 months. When you make your own, you only need to whisk together enough for however many are eating; I find it to be a lot simpler and cheaper.

                                                      1. Gio RE: linguafood Nov 27, 2007 09:38 AM

                                                        A salad is one of my very favorite foods to eat. When I'm not using a simple vinaigrette (EVOO, RWV, S & P) I like this Bleu Cheese Dressing:
                                                        In a mixing bowl goes....
                                                        3/4 cup sour cream
                                                        1/2 t dry mustard
                                                        1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
                                                        pinch of sea salt
                                                        1 t Worcestershire sauce
                                                        Whisk together....then....
                                                        Add 1 1/2 c mayo
                                                        Crumble by hand 4 oz. Danish Bleu Cheese
                                                        Add to mixture and mix well.
                                                        This dressing ought to sit in fridge for at least 24 hours, but you know what it's like to wait...so I've used it immediately to rave reviews. Also, depending on my mood, the quantity of the ingredients changes.
                                                        Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

                                                        1. Bat Guano RE: linguafood Nov 27, 2007 11:56 AM

                                                          I just make a standard olive-oil vinaigrette (balsamic, dijon mustard), but add lots of crushed garlic (2 large cloves per 1/2 cup dressing), some fresh lemon juice and a bit of soy sauce and - my secret ingredient - a couple of drops of fish sauce. A bit of walnut oil if I have any on hand is good too.

                                                          1. a
                                                            atomic RE: linguafood Nov 28, 2007 09:53 PM

                                                            2-3 tbs. tahini paste + juice of one lemon + 1 clove minced garlic + salt & pepper + 2-3 tbs. olive oil

                                                            This is reminiscent of a Caesar but is vegan and very tasty. I also like to mix equal parts honey and mustard on a simple romaine salad.

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