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Guide to Homemade Salad Dressings

Guide to Homemade Salad Dressings

If you make a lot of salads, you might get bored with the same old couple of bottles in the fridge. You can increase your salads’ originality (and save some money) by making your own. Bonus: It’s very easy!

Here are the very simple†basic ingredients you should have on hand to make your own fabulous dressings. Use your creativity, and the sky’s the limit! †

Oil. Use extra virgin olive oil with a bright, fruity flavor. Often, the darker green the oil is, the better its flavor. Many farmerís markets and grocery stores have olive oil tasting stations. Test a few and pick your favorite. If the oil tastes good on plain bread, itíll be great on greens. The bold flavors of sesame and nut oils also stand out in homemade dressings.

Vinegar. Wine vinegars are classic in vinaigrettes, but ciders and balsamics work well, too. Opt for an aged balsamic if you want a rich, sweet dressing.

Salt. Sea salt is much more flavorful than table salt, and a coarse grind adds texture to dressings. Try various flavored or smoked salts for different effects.

Pepper. You can experiment with any of the many kinds of peppercorns, but the key to delicious seasoning is always freshness. Buy whole peppercorns and use a grinder.

Garlic and Herbs. Be generous with seasonally available fresh herbs, and add finely diced fresh or roasted garlic to taste.

Additional seasonings. Play around to find the combo thatís destined to become your signature household recipe. Classic standbys include mustard, sugar, olives, anchovies, smashed berries and various cheeses. Add a little of something that entices you, taste and adjust. You might consider substituting citrus juice for vinegar or bacon grease for oil.

Need some inspiration? Try these four amazing salad dressing recipes!

Photo by Tim Nauman

Read more: Food, Soups & Salads, Vegetarian

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Jessica Kellner

Jessica Kellner is the editor of Natural Home & Garden magazine, a national sustainable home and lifestyle magazine. She is dedicated to helping readers create more sustainable, delightful homes that are in tune with the natural world. She is also the author of Housing Reclaimed: Sustainable Homes for Next to Nothing, published by New Society Publishers in autumn of 2011. Email her at


+ add your own
7:15AM PDT on May 11, 2013

Thanks for the info.

6:54AM PDT on Apr 1, 2013

Sounds brilliant.

1:16AM PST on Feb 24, 2013

Thanks for sharing

8:15PM PST on Dec 16, 2012

Thanks - your article inspired me to try making my own dressing in future. I rarely eat salad, partly because I don't like commercial dressings even the ones in the refrigerated area.

12:24PM PST on Nov 26, 2012


6:11AM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

thanks for sharing

5:01AM PDT on Jun 3, 2012

thanks for the info

8:44AM PDT on Apr 30, 2012


8:42AM PDT on Apr 30, 2012

Thank you

7:52AM PDT on Apr 6, 2012

good info

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