March 23, 2022

Making Salad Dressing at Home

I am a big fan of Salads and using vinaigrettes on roasted vegetables in grain salad bowls. I am always disappointed when I buy Salad dressings as they are usually full of preservatives and gunk and pack lots of calories for a little flavor. I read a book by my friend Pam Powell, called “Salad Days”. Pam is the original Salad Girl. I learned her basic vinaigrette recipe from there I have adopted it and added herbs, emulsifiers, and different flavoring depending on the type of flavor profile I am looking for.

Let me show you how I do it.


The basic salad dressing for two or to dress a medium-size salad is simple. It is a French formula that calls for 1 tablespoon vinegar or acid for every 3 tablespoons of oil. From there you can vary the elements you use for flavoring. I personally like a more zippy vinaigrette so if I am using lemon juice or a milder vinegar I will go 2 Tablespoons Acid to 3 Tablespoons Oil. Test your tastebuds as you go.

Oils to use for salad dressing can be Olive, Walnut, Avocado, Sesame, Canola or Sunflower Oil.

The vinegar you might consider is Balsamic which has a strong, rich woodsy flavor vs Red Wine Vinegar that’s a bit lighter and fruitier, or Champagne or White wine vinegar which is lighter still. Rice wine vinegar typically lends an Asian flair while Apple Cider vinegar pairs well with Fall vegetables and Shrubs are perfect vinegar stand-ins for fruitier flavors. Generally, I stick to Lemon Juice unless I want the dressing to be more assertive in flavor.

Emulsifiers are ingredients that give the vinaigrette more body like Dijon Mustard, Egg Yolk, Anchovy Paste, Tomato Paste, Yogurt, Mayonaise, Tahini, Blended Avocado, Nut Butters, or Buttermilk

Sweeteners are very often used in vinaigrettes to balance the acid of the vinegar. I like to use Maple Syrup or Honey or even Fruit jams, preserves or Shrubs, and Fruit Juices.,

Lastly, seasonings like Italian seasonings, fruit zests, Salt and Pepper, chopped herbs, garlic, or shallots can all create additional flavor profiles.

Here are 3 variations on the basic salad dressing recipe that should have you mixing up your own dressings in no time.


Oil Vinegar Emulsifiers Sweetener Seasonings
Olive Red wine Dijon Mustard Honey Herbs
Walnut White wine Egg Yolk Maple Syrup Salts
Sesame Champagne Anchovy Paste Jams and Preserves Peppers
Avocado Balsamic Tomato Paste Fruit Juices Soy Sauce
Sunflower Rice Wine Mayonnaise   Sriracha
Canola Citrus Juice Yogurt   Worsteshitre
  Apple Cider Vinegar Buttermilk   Citrus zests
    Tahini   Capers
    Avocado   Shallots
    Miso   Garlic
    Nut butter   Green Onions

Homemade Salad Dressings