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Do you make your own salad dressing?

For the first time I made a simple dressing and it tasted great. EVOO, parm cheese, 1 clove garlic, 1 lemon, s&p.
I know lots of people say never buy it because it is so easy to make and much better. Does anyone else have any good reciepes for basic or ranch or other yummy dressing? Care to share? TIA

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  1. 3:1 olive oil: basalmic vinegar with parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Simple and delicious! I've never purchased bottled dressing since being taught this.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ohiokavr

      Mine is similar, but I omit the parmesan cheese, and add dijon mustard and herbes de provence.

      1. re: ohiokavr

        How about substituting that olive oil with bacon fat. Mmmmmmm... bacon fat.


      2. Mine is similar to yours, but i add a finely grated shallot. It's fantastic.

        1. This is my fave blue cheese dressing:

          1/4 cup low fat sour cream

          1/4 cup low fat mayonnaise

          1/4 cup skim milk

          2 tablespoons chopped parsley

          2 tablespoons grated onion

          1 tablespoon lemon juice

          2 oz Danish blue cheese

          3 Replies
          1. re: DoubleBaconVeggieBurger

            I often do lemon juice/zest mixed with yogurt, salt, and sauteed garlic. I've tried the 3:1 oil to acid that's supposed to be the standard, but it tastes disgustingly oily and tasteless to me. If I do oil/vinegar, I use more vinegar than oil. I guess it's not proper salad dressing and doesn't emulsify, but it tastes much better to me.

            1. re: jvanderh

              I do the same with the oil/vinegar or lemon juice/ EVOO mix. I LUV it that way!!!

            2. re: DoubleBaconVeggieBurger

              For blue cheese dressing I like to thin with buttermilk. Other than that my basic recipe is similar with a sour cream and mayo base.

            3. I used to work for a sushi bar and I used to make the salad dressing - it was really delicious and easy.

              Bear with me - I havent made it in years - and I don't have measurements

              First, grate half a large or a whole small onion, add oil to cover, then add an equal amounts of rice wine vinegar and soy sauce, then plenty of black pepper and a bit of salt...then shake it up!...It's really very tasty

              1. this is one of the dressings that is always in my fridge. i posted the recipe for the whole salad (thanks tyler!) because it is so darn yummy with that watercress and goat cheese!!!

                Watercress Salad with Roasted Tomato Dressing


                * 1 pint cherry tomatoes
                * 1 clove garlic, smashed
                * Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling, plus 1/4 cup for the dressing
                * Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
                * 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
                * 1 teaspoon sugar
                * Handful fresh parsley leaves
                * 1/4 French baguette, thinly sliced croutons
                * 8 ounces (1/2 log) creamy goat cheese, room temperature
                * 2 bunches hydroponic watercress (feathery variety)


                Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

                Take a roasting dish and lay the tomatoes out with the garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 15 to 20 minutes until the tomatoes have burst and juices are slightly caramelized.

                Remove from the oven and place in a blender with all the pan juices. Add the red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, sugar, parsley, and salt and pepper. Pulse until well combined. Set aside to cool in the refrigerator while you prepare the croutons.

                Take a sheet tray and lay out thin slices of the baguette. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in the hot oven and bake until golden brown and crispy. The croutons will take 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from oven and while still warm, smear each piece with some goat cheese. Set aside.

                Take a platter and layer with goat cheese croutons. Top with mounds of feathery watercress and drizzle over the roasted tomato dressing.

                1. I make a wide variety of vinaigrettes, building on a foundation of oil and vinegar and then combining flavors to fit the dish I intend to use it with.
                  Fresh berries or wine, perhaps an essence of garlic or onion, a bit of sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, mustard, black or white pepper, herbs and/or spices and salt to taste.
                  Although I do use grated cheeses on my salads, I try to avoid making them an ingredient in the dressing. All too often that creates more of a slurry than a free flowing dressing and I believe that reduces the elegance of the salad.

                  1. I generally make a vinaigrette, changing the vinegar and flavorings to match the meal the salad is being served with. I might couple dijon with shallots for a continental meal, lemon juice and garlic with greek oregano for a Greek meal, tarragon for a roasted chicken, etc. I just try to pull a flavor from the entree to reuse in the dressing.

                    I love owning many vinegars and switching around based on some subliminal personal whim.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: smtucker

                      Can't remember when I purchased a premade salad dressing. My pantry is well stocked with multiple vinegars, oils and mustards as well as items from many different cultures. Acid, oil, emulsifier if desired, herbs, aromatics, spices and sweeteners can be mixed in endless combinations. I usually make my dressings in a small jar. Combine and shake well.

                    2. I do what everyone else here does but sometimes I add jam or preserves....such as orange or peach marmalade with sherry vinegar. I also used fig preserves with fig vinegar or boysenberry jam with raspberry vinegar. I usually add spicy dijon mustard to offset the sweetness.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sparkareno

                        Yum, I'm with you - a nice apricot jam or marmalade is very nice with vin/oil. couple nights ago I did nice one with soy, agave nector, vin, sesame oil, s&p. It was very nice on a spinach salad.


                        Place in a blender:
                        A carrot, peeled and sliced
                        A rib of celery, sliced
                        An orange, peeled and seeded
                        A lemon, peeled and seeded
                        Half a pineapple, sliced
                        2-3 scallions, sliced (white parts only)
                        about 1/4 cup of sliced, peeled fresh ginger
                        1/4 cup soy sauce - tamari is best
                        1/4 cup dark amber sesame oil
                        1/4 cup honey (or half honey and half Mirin wine)
                        1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

                        Blend this until it's thick. Don't serve until the following day, when the flavors have mellowed together. This is very similar to what they used to serve at the Benihana chain (and variations are served at many Japanese-style restaurants all over). There are two variations; one adds some thick mayonnaise, which makes it creamy. Another adds a tiny bit of curry powder.


                        1/4 cup finely minced onion (Vidalia or other sweet onion)
                        1/4 cup finely minced parsley
                        1/4 cup wine vinegar or white vinegar
                        a Tbs. of dijon mustard (or a tsp. of Colman's dry mustard powder)
                        juice of one lemon
                        1 cup olive oil (not extra-extra virgin)
                        1 Tbs. Fines Herbes
                        Salt and cracked pepper to taste

                        Shake this all up and let it sit. Sometimes simple is best. Our favorite salad with this dressing is one of spinach, rocket, escarole, mushroom slices and a few orange segments. Shower the salad with freshly-crisped bacon, chopped up, for a treat.

                        1. On of my favorite dressings is a simple vinaigrette made with apple cider vinegar, olive oil, chopped parsley, s&p, and a squeeze of chopped basil in a tube.

                          1. Balsamin vinegar, and bottled ranch dressing. I know you want to make your own, but if you try this, its pretty darn good.

                            Also, fresg lemon and champage, rice wine vinegar, 1/2 tsp sugar, walnut oil, or grape seed oil, black pepper, and smidgeon of water. Yum
                            Then there's a whole slough of dijon takes, dijon or honey mustard make great bases for dressings. I love fresh grated garlic in dressings with oil and vinegar.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: chef chicklet

                              These all sound great and I hope to try them. Thank you

                              Balsamic vinegar and ranch dressing sounds interesting. How much vinegar to the dressing?
                              Also, when using dijon mustard, how much do you use and can you make that in a jar or do you need to stir it in? The same question for the fig preserves. How much would I use? Thanks again.

                              1. re: odatlynn

                                I use about 1-2 tsp of dijon mustard to 1/4 c vinegar, 3/4 c oil. A jar is fine. I mix my dressing in a cruet. Start by adding the salt, pepper, and herbs, then the mustard, vinegar, oil, and shake vigourously to mix.

                                1. re: odatlynn

                                  yep, maybe a teaspoon of jam & teaspoon of mustard. Sometimes I don't even add the mustard or sometimes I use a hot mustard because I love sweet & hot together. I always use a jar with a tight lid so I can shake it---unless I use my mini food processor.

                              2. Yep, don't even have any bottled dressings anymore. I usually just take a base and tinker with whatever ingredients fit my mood/the meal. Mostly I make oil and vinegar, nut butter, or cream bases.

                                Mayo and mustard work great as emulsifiers. Don't be afraid to add a little sugar or honey. I think the classic 3:1 oil:vinegar ratio is way too oily so I adjust to what I like. For asian-ish dressings use some sesame oil and soy/fish sauce. If you're going to add salt something with umami is often better.

                                1. I also never buy salad dressing. My standard recipe is:

                                  1 part seasoned rice vinegar
                                  1 part fresh lemon juice
                                  1 part Dijon mustard
                                  3 parts extra-virgin olive oil
                                  if desired, add a small clove crushed garlic.

                                  1. Yes, but can't remember the last time I followed a recipe. Apple cider (an organic one from a company called Omega Nutrition rocks) and sherry vinegars are my favorite. I usually add a healthy dollop of dijon and a good pinch of salt. I often make enough to last a week or more, so don't usually add garlic or shallot, which tend to get unpleasantly strong after a day or two. I agree with someone above who mentioned that the classic 3:1 is too oily. That ratio might have worked better when only mild lettuces were available, but to me you need something punchier to stand up to the more bitter and flavorful greens available today. I favor something 3:2, or even closer to 1:1.

                                    Rice vinegar with a dollop of sesame oil and a couple tablespoons of sesame seeds make for a nice variation.

                                    1. I always make my own dressings now, and my mom always gets amazed about why my salads taste so much better. I usually start with a base of lemon juice (sometimes vinegar, but I always have lemons around so it's easy), sometimes mustard, and salt and pepper. These days I've been adding some chopped green garlic or spring onions to the lemon juice to sit while I get everything else ready, and sometimes whatever herbs I have on hand. Then I whisk in enough olive oil to taste. Sometimes I'll add some goat cheese, parmesean, or feta to the lemon juice mixture before whisking, or a little mashed anchovy.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: JasmineG

                                        My mom raves the same way! I have been the go-to salad girl ever since I started whipping up my own dressings. Of course, the salads themselves are pretty special, too ;-)

                                        Jasmine, I do something similar -- start with one finely diced *shallot*, and let it sit in 2 Tbsp (tarragon, etc) vinegar or lemon juice for 15 minutes with 1/4 tsp salt. If using the lemon juice, I add the zest too. Later I whisk in 5 to 6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, and some fresh herbs -- parsley, chives, tarragon, whatever I have. Grind in some black pepper. Sometimes I add a Tbsp mustard, sometimes a Tbsp sour cream (when I add the olive oil).

                                        1. re: twilight goddess

                                          Sounds great. Glad you don't let that zest go to waste. Zest adds such freshness to dressings. Makes them pop

                                      2. Olive oil, rice vinegar, toasted sesame seed oil, lemon juice.

                                        1. i made this bon appetite recipe and was amazed at how fresh the flavors were.

                                          Ranch dressing:

                                          * 1/2 cup buttermilk
                                          * 1/2 cup mayonnaise
                                          * 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
                                          * 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
                                          * 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
                                          * 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
                                          * 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

                                          Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                          i remember reading once that when Ranch dressing was invented, and they tried to bottle it, they fussed and fussed with it and the mass produced bottled version that the public first tried could never compare to the original but they had to settle for it. Obviously, that holds true for many things, but people ate up bottled ranch dressing like it was the second coming. Anyway, my standard dressing is a dijon/shallot//vinaigrette, or a lemon/shallot/vinaigrette, but this dressing blew us away... and i did mix it into mashed taters for thxgiving, never had it on actual salad, tho i'm sure it would astound there as well.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                            French Vinaigrette in the bowl:

                                            Chop one small shallot very finely. Place it into the bottom of a big salad bowl and cover the shallot just barely with a tasty red wine vinegar. Place clean, torn salad greens over the shallot-vinegar, cover and refrigerate or set aside with olive oil and utensils until needed for dinner. When it's time, first toss the greens with the shallot-vinegar, then sprinkle or lightly pour the amount of olive oil you like over and toss again. Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, and serve.

                                          2. So simple if you have a food processor. With the machine on, drop through the chute a quartered, peeled shallot. Stop the machine and add 1/2 cup vinegar and/or lemon juice, a goodly spoonful of dijon mustard (anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon) 1/2 t. or so salt, and goodly grindings of fresh pepper. Add any other herbs or spices that appeal, or not. Process briefly to blend. With machine running, pour in 1 cup salad oil of your choice. That's it. Makes a little over 1 1/2 cups. Keep refrigerated. My oil of choice is safflower. For vinegar, I usually use sherry vinegar or a mix of sherry vinegar and a good red wine vinegar, something that is very hard to find, in my neck of the woods. Using a white wine vinegar is just fine, too. It's all a matter of what tastes good to you. This makes a fairly intense dressing that still has flavor when used sparingly. If it doesn't taste flavorful to you, you need to add more salt. Add cheese to the salad, not to the dressing.

                                            1. If I'm in a big hurry, I'll just drizzle a little olive oil over the salad, then a little balsamic, then a little Roasted Walnut oil. If I feel like mixing in advance, I'll stir in a little dijon as well.

                                              Our Asian-inspired version is olive oil, rice vinegar, a little soy, and a little roasted sesame oil. Fantastic with mache and avocado!

                                              1. For each diner: 1 t. acid (vinegar of citrus juice), 1 T. oil, S&P. From there, you can add mustard, shallot, garlic, whatever.

                                                1. I make a basic vinaigrette from olive oil, mustard and either cider or white wine vinegar. I flavor it with whatever dry spices sound good at the time. I only make about a 1/2 cup at the time and store it in a spare glass Penzey's jar in the fridge.

                                                  1. When I first learned to cook, I used to buy Good Seasons Italian dressing packets but found the dressing too potent. Eventually I realized that I needed to cut back on the oil a little, and fill the cruet right to the top with water. I also preferred lemon juice to vinegar if I was marinating asparagus with it. And I realized that all I needed to recreate the powder was garlic powder, sugar, salt, pepper, and a dried herb or two.

                                                    Like my mother did, I make a Russian-like dressing - which also serves as a pink sauce for shrimp cocktail. Miracle Whip, or mayo with a little sugar, your choice. Whisk some prepared horseradish into it, then jarred chili sauce (the red stuff next to the ketchup). I've never measured, just tasted, and sometimes make it redder or pinker. I'd guesstimate 2 tbsp mayo, 1 tsp sugar, 2 tsp horseradish, and 1/4 cup chili sauce.

                                                    I generally wing it when making other dressings, because it's easy to adjust the flavors. Orange juice instead of or in addition to lemon or vinegar, sometimes. Yogurt if there's an open container of plain, etc. But if the 16oz bottles of ranch or other creamy dressings are on sale for $1.50, I'll buy them since my impression is that's pretty close to what homemade would cost.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: greygarious


                                                      You tugged at my heart-strings. My late father always made sure he had that chili sauce (the red stuff next to the ketchup) to put on all sorts of things, but the number one use for it was mixed with mayonnaise to make Russian dressing. I'm gonna buy a jar today.

                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                        I discovered that the supermarket brand of light ranch and light vidalia onion dressings is quite good, and often on sale at 99 cents for 16 ounces. So lately I've been buying that instead of making my own, which I don't think saves me money at that price.

                                                      2. I always make vinaigrette dressings at home.

                                                        My basic version is olive oil, red wine vinegar, a bit of fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper.

                                                        To that can be added a bit of fresh garlic (I crush a clove with the back of my knife, toss it in, and remove before serving), fresh or dried herbs (thyme is especially nice), or prepared mustard (dijon works well).

                                                        You can vary the vinegar - balsamic works very well, or you can try flavoured vinegars.

                                                        I find soy sauce makes a very nice addition to a vinaigrette, and adds a nice depth of flavour.

                                                        For an Asian vinaigrette, use sesame oil, rice vinegar and soy sauce, optionally with some finely julienned or diced fresh ginger.

                                                        Sometimes I just use olive oil and lemon and a bit of garlic- no vinegar. The result is a tart, fresh dressing.

                                                        Another variation is honey mustard - olive oil, vinegar, prepared mustard, honey, salt and pepper, and a bit of garlic if you want.

                                                        I don't do cream dressings as often, but for a very simple one take half and half or table cream, add white vinegar until it thickens, then sugar to taste (it should remain a bit tangy) and a bit of salt, and add finely chopped green onions. We always had this with fresh garden leaf lettuce.

                                                        Yoghurt can make a good base for a creamy dressing as well - add garlic, lemon juice salt, pepper and your choice of seasonings. Cumin and coriander work well, and dill and garlic with some finely diced cucumber is good too.

                                                        1. Here is a great herb dressing I use a lot all year long, but especially in Summer. Great on a Tomato Salad, delicious on a Spinach Salad with Bacon. We first tasted this dressing at THE DOCK restaurant in Montauk, and the waitress wrote out the recipe for me. Also great on Grilled Fish or Chicken.

                                                          Put everything in your blender. Pulse until emulsified. This keeps for a few days in the fridge, in a glass jar, tightly covered.

                                                          1 C Fresh Basil Leaves
                                                          1/4 C Fresh Parsley, stens removed
                                                          3/4 C EVOO
                                                          1/4 C Good Wine Vinegar or Lemon Juice
                                                          1 1/2 tsp Cumin
                                                          Salt and Pepper to taste

                                                          1. Years and years ago I conned the owner of C'est ci Bon Restaurant in Port Angeles, WA, out of
                                                            his "house" salad dressing. Still love it and am still using it, almost weekly. Glad to share.
                                                            1/2 C. soy sauce... 1/2 C. apple cider vinegar... 1 C. safflower oil... 1 T. dried basil... Salt and pepper to taste. Sometimes I add a crushed garlic clove, just to jazz things up a bit, but the
                                                            original is great.

                                                            1. I make my dressing in a 10 oz jar- I think it was a mayo jar, and shake to mix. I always make my dressing at least an hour before serving.

                                                              Everyday dressing: Olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, crushed garlic, S&P, fine chopped parsley (or other light herbs that are available)

                                                              Blue Cheese: use everyday dressing, but champagne vinegar instead of the lemon, add blue cheese (pref: Roaring 40s Blue) and sour cream.

                                                              Thicker than everyday: Add fresh chevre, or mayo, or sour cream, or creme fraiche and shake with the everyday dressing.

                                                              Summerier: dice a ripe Cherokee Purple tomato into the Everyday dressing, shake.

                                                              1. We almost always make our own. The stand-by is 2 tsp olive oil, 1-2 tbsp balsamic, touch of honey, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper. Variations additions/replacements include: ginger, rice wine vinegar & sesame oil, lime/orange juice, mustard or fresh herbs like basil, dill, chives, cilantro, thyme and tarragon.

                                                                1. My latest fav is one that uses rice vinegar, orange marmalade, honey & smoked paprika--I think it's a Bobby Flay creation.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: sparkareno

                                                                    has to be Flays with the sweet, sour, heat thing going.

                                                                  2. I "invented" this House Dressing a few years back. Never had store-bought dressing since.

                                                                    In a Good Seasons cruet, I put red wine vinegar up to the "W" mark. I add 1 tsp each of Kosher salt, fresh ground garlic powder, mustard powder, onion powder, fresh ground black pepper, and 2 tsp of dried Italian herbs. Shake to combine. Add EVOO up to the "O" mark and shake again. Put in the cabinet until needed. No refrigeration needed.

                                                                    I have used balsamic vinegar, but DW prefers the red wine variety. "Fresh ground garlic?" you say? I get lots of garlic from a friend, more than I could use before it goes south. So I slice it thinly and dry it in my dehydrator. I put the resulting chips in an air-tight container and grind them up when needed.

                                                                    1. Try shaking everything up in a small jar. Works like a darn. Don't forget to put the lid on tight. LOL

                                                                      1. Yes. Always. I am so picky about salad dressings. My favorite is:

                                                                        1 med. clove of garlic mixed with salt to make a nice paste. Add about 3T of red wine vinegar, pepper and a pinch of dill and another mixed herb blend. I'm partial to Penzey's Parisien Bonnes Herbes blend. Let that sit for a bit and add a mix of extra light olive oil and extra virgin - about 4T and whisk until ready. Add more S&P as needed.

                                                                        Sprinkle your salad with feta cheese and this dressing and it's AWESOME.

                                                                        1. This is a great easy vinaigrette recipe originally from Tartine in Martha Stewart:

                                                                          Herb Vinaigrette

                                                                          1 shallot, finely chopped
                                                                          1 tablespoon grainy mustard
                                                                          1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
                                                                          1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
                                                                          1/2 teaspoon each finely chopped fresh thyme and tarragon
                                                                          Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
                                                                          1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

                                                                          Whisk together shallot, mustard, lemon juice, vinegar, thyme,
                                                                          tarragon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Gradually whisk
                                                                          in oil.

                                                                          1. Unless I am making Caesar dressing, I always make mine in the salad bowl. Typically dijon, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper, then olive oil drizzled in and whisked to form an emulsion. Acids and oils vary and cheese is often added, but I make only enough for that salad. Do most of you make larger quantities and stash them in the frig?

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: escondido123

                                                                              Escondido, I too only make enough for the salad I'm going to serve right away. Made-ahead salad dressing usually ends up at the back of the fridge and I like it fresh.

                                                                              Here's a good blue cheese dressing, the recipe for which I got from the chef of a local bistro:

                                                                              Blue Cheese Dressing:
                                                                              1 8oz container plain yogurt
                                                                              1 4oz package of crumbled blue cheese
                                                                              1 T mayo
                                                                              1 tsp. minced garlic

                                                                              Whirl all ingredients in blender.

                                                                            2. An easy, typical Middle Eastern dressing is:
                                                                              Lemon juice,

                                                                              1. I know this is an old thread, but some things are always changing. My take on a basic starting point is to purchase "Newman's Own" olive oil & vinegar dressing...wonderful in itself, but I always pour some in a small jelly jar & add whatever ingredients strike me as tasty at the moment. You could scan through the posts here & use your imagination to mix & match your additional ingredients. By mixing a small batch in a jar, you can have the option to change ingredients for the next salad.

                                                                                I normally don't like purchased salad dressings at all, but his dressings are especially good & not cloying like some others. What got me started on his olive oil dressing was someone had requested the recipe at a fancy restaurant for their olive oil & vinegar recipe. Well, the first ingredient listed was Newman's dressing followed by several other spices & herbs, fresh lemon juice & fresh finely grated parm cheese.

                                                                                Hope this helps.

                                                                                1. Always. It would not cross my mind to buy it.