DIY Salad Dressing to Make Your Salads Sing #GuestPost

Last week, Joy shared salad suggestions. This week she has a full range of do-it-yourself salad dressings that you can make at home to jazz up your favorite side salad. They are easy enough that even I could make these at home.


Ingredients make the salad, but the dressing makes it sing...and sing in different keys, depending on the choice of dressing. Being able to make your own dressing, rather than depending on commercial brands, is like arranging the song to suit your mood. Last week, while writing about different ideas for side salads, I realized that dressings would be a good topic. So here I am with the results of my investigation of salad dressings.

To start,  let’s talk about the commercial products available. If you include the generic, ethnic, gourmet, as well as the big and small brand names the number is only surpassed by the number of flavor varieties to choose from. There seems to be something for everyone, so why make your own? 

Well, first the commercial brands all contain artificial ingredients, preservatives, and generally a high amount of salt, sugar and fat. Making them yourself gives you control over these things. Second, commercial dressings usually are close to the flavor ceiling. They won’t accept any taste adjustments .you might want to make. Third, the cost is rising, and basic, simple dressing ingredients are found in most homes, especially those for vinaigrette. Why pay to have several bottles open, when you can make them fresh as needed using items you keep in supply?

Please understand I’m not going DIY on salad dressings.  Many can’t be easily duplicated without a specific flavoring agent. It’s senseless to buy such products and only use a fraction, just as it is to buy several ingredients in an attempt to recreate a product you like. However, for the everyday salad side, snack or light meal, making the dressing is easy, economical and fun.  Most entrĂ©e salad recipes include directions for a specific dressing, Cobb and Nicoise Salads for example, not to mention all the grilled chicken ones out there, so you probably already have experience.

In most countries, the salad’s ingredients determine its dressing and a “house” salad is dressed as the chef decrees. Americans expect to be offered a selection of dressings especially for a side or light meal salad. If having this option appeals to you, make several vinaigrettes with different infusions to use alone or have ready to add other ingredients to make more complex dressings. As always, the possibilities are endless. Just use your imagination. 

Following are basic directions for vinaigrettes and other easy dressings, with suggestions for variations. Also, don’t forget that dressings can double as marinades. Simply reserve enough to dress the greens, use the rest to flavor the meat. 

Basic Vinaigrette
The fundamental ratio is 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil, with salt and pepper to taste. Dissolve seasonings in vinegar. If making in a jar, add oil in 3 parts, shaking between. If using a blender or bowl add oil in a thin stream with machine running or constantly stirring.

A Simple Dressing Allowing Variations   
Double basic proportions of oil and vinegar
1 small shallot or 1/3 a small onion – minced
½ garlic clove- minced
½ tsp. each salt, pepper and Dijon mustard
OPTIONAL 1-2 tsp. dried herbs of choice like an Italian blend

For Low-Fat replace 1/3 oil with juice, broth, fruit or vegetable puree. Tea lowers vinegar’s  acidity. Reducing oil content further thins the liquid too much to coat, requiring the addition of gelatin or cornstarch..

For a full range of dressing recipes visit

Included in her posting are directions for Creamy dressings like Ranch, Russian, Italian, both regular and low-fat as well as:

  • French Roquefort Dressing
  • Asian Peanut Dressing
  • Yogurt-Fruit Dressing   
  • Raspberry-Wine Dressing  


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