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Jan 25, 2009 02:21 PM

Got a good salad dressing recipe?

I think I've had enough of commercial salad dressing and all the junk that's in it, not to mention cost. This is one area where the decent ones are also the priciest.

I basically do the tired but true balsamic vinegar and olive oil otherwise. ..zzzz.....

I know I can easily search this in a multitude of sites, but I'd like first hand experience :)

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  1. Funny you should ask, but I recently made a salad dressing with grated (peeled) ginger, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, wasabi, and a health dose of sesame oil. Blend it all together with a whisk (or in a food processor if you prefer, but not necessary), and let it sit in the fridge overnight so the flavors blend and meld together. This last step is important, don't use immediately -- flavors have to get acquainted and fuse together. Sort of like a Vulcan mind meld ...

    4 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Yum, I make a ginger sesame that's almost exactly like this (but no wasabi) and toasted sesame seeds. Oh, and hoisin sauce.

      1. re: ipsedixit

        Sounds interesting! How much and how much and how much? When I do the tired EVOO and ving, I shake it in a jar. I assume this is okay?

        Thanks to everyone! This is GREAT!!

        1. re: Whosyerkitty

          Hmm, well, I have no idea exactly on this one - when I make it, I get my ingredients out and wing it from there. But basically, it would be:

          1 cup of sesame oil (it's a nice, mild tasting oil, I wouldn't substitute)
          probably a quarter cup each of soy sauce and rice vinegar,
          2- 3T of fresh, grated ginger (tip: freeze your ginger, makes grating a breeze)
          a couple cloves of garlic, minced
          about 2T of hoisin,
          2T honey or some sugar, to taste
          and a splash of orange juice if I have it, or the juice of a half a lemon.
          1/4 C sesame seeds, toasted

          I just mix everything while my sesame seeds are toasting so a jar would be perfect, then add them in at the end.

          This is also a pretty killer marinade for chicken for an Asian chicken salad - I use less oil for the marinade - then just stir fry the boneless/skinless chicken pieces and give some snow peas and shredded carrots (or "broccoli slaw") a quick run in the stir fry, then serve over whatever salad greens I'm in the mood for, with dressing, toasted almonds & more sesame seeds. You know how salads are - that's just a basic idea, the actual recipe changes everytime I make it, depending on what looks/sounds good for salad. But basically the only "warm" things are the chicken, snow peas, and carrots and/or broccoli slaw.

          1. re: Whosyerkitty

            I don't use exact measurements. I add and adjust and taste as I go along. Obviously, if you like things a bit more fiery, increase the wasabi to soy sauce ratio and vice versa if you prefer a more mild dressing.

        2. For 4 servings:

          2 T. EVOO
          1T. Hazelnut oil
          1T. sherry vinegar
          2 T. crumbled blue cheese
          s & p to taste

          I like to mix this up about an hour ahead of time, so that the cheese starts to dissolve into the dressing.

          1 Reply
          1. Honey dijon goes well with a LOT of things (grilled chicken salad in particular).

            1/2 cup mayonnaise
            2 tablespoon mustard (I like a smooth dijon for this, but a large seed dijon is good too)
            2 tablespoon honey
            1 tablespoon lemon juice

            That's it, and it's SO good.

            1. All-time favourite in my family. Sounds a bit weird but tastes like a light, tangy version of Thousand Island dressing


              1/4 cup drained canned diced tomatoes
              1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
              1/4 cup cider vinegar
              1/4 cup mayonnaise
              1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
              1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
              1 garlic clove, minced
              1 teaspoon sugar
              1/2 cup olive oil
              salt and pepper (to taste)

              Puree all ingredients except oil, salt, and pepper in processor.

              With processor running, add oil; blend until smooth.

              Transfer to small bowl. Season with salt and pepper

              17 Replies
              1. re: beggsy

                Has anyone ever tried any of the Penzey's dried mixes?

                1. re: mkel34

                  Never heard of it. Not sure it's in my area (Chicago).

                  1. re: mkel34

                    An enthusiastic YES on the Penzey's salad mixes. I love their Country French Vinaigrette (it's made up in the fridge right now) made with rice wine vinegar instead of red wine vinegar. Their Parmesan Peppercorn and Green Goddess are very tasty, you can use the seasonings for other things than dressing (e.g., Parmesan Peppercorn is a nice addition to mashed potatoes).

                    And, katty to kitty, you can find Penzey's in Naperville or Oak Park. Here's a link to all Penzey's retail locations:

                    There are large jars of each spice for sniffing and recipe cards throughout the store. Always a fun trip!

                    1. re: kattyeyes

                      I have a question that has been bugging me forever. Where do you find rice wine vinegar? Is it in a gourmet store? All the ones I have found just say rice vinegar. Are they one in the same? It doesn't sound like it. The ingredients list glutinous rice that has been fermented and nothing else. Is the fermentation considered the wining it? Sorry if it sounds so dumb but I really would like to know.

                      1. re: Neta

                        yes, they are the same, although the label just says "rice vinegar." i think kattyeyes was thinking of the "red wine vinegar" and just typed "rice *wine* vinegar" as its counterpart. the most prominent national brand in most every grocery store is "maruchan."

                        there is a rice wine (proper), mirin, used in japanese cooking.

                        1. re: alkapal

                          Thank you for the clarification. I have been using the Maruchan for years and also the mirin but always wondered if there was something else that I was missing in the markets. A lot of the cooks on Food Network use the term rice wine vinegar (Bobby Flay) which just added to the confusion.

                          1. re: Neta

                            actually, when i looked at my bottle, i realized that it was "marukan" -- although i could swear that it used to be maruchan. ok. officially crazy!

                          2. re: alkapal

                            OOPS, sorry Neta, and thanks alkasis! Yes, we use Maruchan, too. I didn't mean to make it sound more exotic than it was because my mind drifted to wine. ;)

                      2. re: mkel34

                        I love Penzeys Italian dressing mix, I just buy a one pound bag for $11 or $12 and it lasts me a year, I just mix with my own Oil and Vingegar "YUM" sometimes I do balsalmic, sometimes red wine whatever but I have all of their dressings and love them. It was a Bday present from my Hubby a year or so ago and I still use them.


                        1. re: tidecreek

                          My friend gave me a basket for Christmas of misc dressing, bottled, dry, tongs, just a fun basket of stuff found NOT in FL. She had a couple of Penzeys dressing Mix. It started one night when we got home from fishing late and I was cooking pork tenderloin. Well no marinade so I mixed up some Good Seasons Garlic Herb with a little oil, vinegar, not the recommended amount, a bit less and marinaded for just a hour or so. It was great. She loved it so for Christmas she got me some of the penzyes. It was great. Much better.

                          1. re: tidecreek

                            Penzey's Peppercorn dressing mix is AH-MAZING. I mix it with nonfat Greek Yogurt instead of mayonnaise and sour cream and I know I am eating the best non-fat dressing out there!

                            1. re: Ashley12

                              how about blending in some fresh parm, too? ah-mazing ++

                        2. re: beggsy

                          When I was young, one of my grandmothers (the one who didn't know how to cook) would make a tomato-ey salad dressing out of a can of Campbell's tomato soup, a can of sugar, and don't remember what else. When I was 8 years old, I loved it.

                          1. re: somervilleoldtimer

                            My kids still ask for this once in a while. It's not really a 'homemade' dressing, but here' s the recipe, just because.

                            1 can tomato soup
                            3/4 cup salad oil
                            3/4 cup cider vinegar
                            3/4 cup sugar
                            1 teaspoon paprika
                            1/2 teaspoon pepper
                            1/2 teaspoon salt
                            1 teaspoon yellow mustard
                            1 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

                            Blend everything together until smooth - and refrigerate.

                            1. re: jeanmarieok

                              You know, I think that's the one! I'm just checking in many months later. Thanks so much for sending it along!

                              1. re: jeanmarieok

                                i use ketchup instead of soup, and add some garlic powder and grated onion, plus a dash of toasted sesame oil. as i posted below (dec. 3), this is *fabulous* on spinach salad -- esp. the one with crumbled bacon on top.

                          2. I dress a salad the way my Italian grandmother taught me. It's quick, easy and very healthy.

                            Put your greens in the salad bowl - hold all the other ingredients until have you've dressed the salad.

                            Salt the greens to wilt. The amount of salt varies by the amount of greens I use and I salt to taste. You don't want to oversalt, but when you taste the greens they should taste lightly salted. Let the greens set about 1/2 hour.

                            After the greens have wilted a bit, toss with light olive oil. Enough to coat the greens lightly. Again, taste, taste, taste. You shouldn't have oil sitting in the bottom of the bowl.

                            Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the greens. Again, this is to taste. I usually use 1 good size lemon unless I have a ton of greens. Then toss in a good handful of grated parmesan.

                            Add the other salad ingredients like mushrooms, broccoli, baby corn, baby carrots, radishes, whatever. Toss the whole thing together.

                            It might take a couple of salad to get the technique to your liking, but this is the BEST tasting way to eat a salad!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: janetms383

                              Janetms383, thank you so much for explaining this great technique!. I have a number of great salad dressing recipes that turn out wonderfully when I follow the directions and measurements, but I've always wanted to be able to just toss a salad with olive oil and lemon and seasoning and have it turn out right without all the measuring. Now that I understand the part about just lightly drizzlng the oil on first, and tasting, tasting, tasting, etc., it all makes sense! I've made this about three times so far and each time was better than before. You're right, a couple of times to get the technique and I've got it! Thank you!!

                              1. re: janetms383

                                hi janet,
                                thanks for the tip. why did she salt the greens to wilt? why do we want wilted greens in our salad? don't we want crisp and fresh tasting?

                                thank you for helping me to understand.