Homemade salad dressings

Making our own salad dressings…once upon a time, that’s what everyone did, but today…most grocery stores have an aisle filled with salad dressings of many kinds.  Most of us think that “making our own” is going to be complicated and hard work.  Many of us have never even made mayonnaise from scratch.

One family favorite when I was a child was “sweet & sour dressing”.  My mother made it to serve over leaf lettuce and to dress cole slaw.  It was never measured…it was done to taste and in whatever quantity she needed for the next day or two at the most.  I like it on spinach as well, and here’s the version I use.

Honey & Garlic Dressing

  • 1/3 c. red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • one clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 c. mayonnaise

Mix vinegar into mayonnaise gradually, stirring until smooth.  Add remaining ingredients.  Place in jar in refrigerator to “mellow” for 1 hour before serving.  Keeps for 2-3 days if refrigerated.

Ranch dressing is another favorite these days, and is served with lots of different things.  This version avoids high fat mayonnaise and uses low fat yogurt instead, keeping the creamy consistency.

Low fat Ranch dressing

  • 1 c. low fat yogurt
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly cracked coarse black pepper

Slowly combine yogurt and buttermilk, stirring until smooth.  (If too thick, add more buttermilk.)  Add remaining ingredients.  Put in a jar and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.  Keeps 2-3 days if refrigerated.

Another favorite for the modern palate is this Vidalia onion dressing.

Vidalia Onion Dressing

  • 1 medium Vidalia onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 c. cider vinegar
  • 1 c. vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp. poppy seeds

Place vinegar and onion in blender and puree onion until smooth.  Add mustard, salt, sugar, and honey.  While blender is running, slowly add the vegetable oil in a thin stream.  Pour dressing into a jar, and stir in poppy seeds.  Chill for 1 hour before serving.  Dressing will keep up to a week in the refrigerator.  (If dressing gets too thick, stir in a tablespoon of vinegar to thin it.)

Another basic is an Italian-style vinaigrette.  Use a good quality extra-virgin olive oil–it will make a difference!

Italian Vinaigrette 

  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. Italian herb mixture
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard

Place all ingredients in jar.  Shake to mix well.  Chill for an hour before using.

Thousand Island dressing is another basic, and it makes a good “secret sauce” for your burgers too!

Thousand Island Dressing

  • 1 c. mayonnaise
  • 1/2 c. ketchup
  • 1/2 c. sweet pickle relish
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper

Mix ingredients well.  Store in a jar in the refrigerator.  Will keep up to a week when kept refrigerated.

One essential is mayonnaise.  It’s really NOT hard to make, especially if you use a blender.

Blender Mayonnaise

  • 2 c. vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. white vinegar OR lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Put eggs, lemon juice and salt into blender and begin blending.  Slowly add the vegetable oil in a very thin stream with the blender running.

Store mayonnaise in a tightly sealed jar in the refrigerator.  Keeps up to two weeks in refrigerator.

With these simple recipes, you’ll never make another frantic trip to the grocery store for salad dressing, nor will you be forced to pay outrageous prices for less-than-wonderful versions of  dressings.  Mastering making your own dressing, you will also soon feel comfortable enough to adjust the recipes to your family’s tastes, as well as explore other versions for variety.

For some reason, I’m thinking about an apple-and-cabbage slaw dressed with a blueberry vinaigrette now…not that I have ever HAD it…but it is sounding good!

About giascott

Writer, blogger, cook, grandmother, mother, wife, radio personality, outdoor enthusiast, dog enthusiast, crafter, artist, and part-time nut~~I've earned a lot of t-shirts in my day! I'm one of those crazy independent women who can cut down a tree, build you a shed, sew you a dress, cook your dinner, make some soap, pitch a tent, build a fire, catch some fish, dig in the garden, chase a kid or two, write you a poem, paint you a picture, and a dozen other things...just don't ask me to sing! I'm also embarking on a relatively new portion of my life, one of being disabled. I'm learning some lessons along the way about a lot of things too.
This entry was posted in Budget, Easy, Entertaining, Make-Ahead, Salads, Vegetables and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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