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11 Easy Salad Dressing Recipes You Should Always Make At Home

HuffPost logo HuffPost 5 days ago Lee Breslouer

Healthy Organic Salad © Getty Healthy Organic Salad Before you buy that next bottle of salad dressing at the grocery store, think about opening your wallet, feeding bills into a paper shredder and covering a bowl of salad with ’em. Instead, keep the money in your wallet and make your own delicious, inexpensive and easy-to-prepare salad dressings at home.  

We spoke to Mamie Fennimore, author of Dressings: Over 200 Recipes for the Perfect Salads, Marinades, Sauces, and Dips, about the 11 dressings she says you should never buy from the supermarket, and how to make them easily in your kitchen. 

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Here’s why you should make dressing at home

There are a few major reasons to skip the store-bought stuff, according to Fennimore:

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If you make your dressing, you’ll know exactly what you’re pouring on the salad.

While Fennimore used to buy dressings in supermarkets, she never quite felt good about it. “I would read the label and think, ‘I don’t know half these ingredients,’” she told HuffPost. “I was getting more flavor ― and more security ― in what I was making for myself and others when I was making my own.” For example, EDTA is an ingredient found in many salad dressings. While the Food and Drug Administration says it’s safe to consume, some have concerns that it can cause allergic reactions, asthma attacks, skin rash and possible kidney damage.

Dressing takes almost no time at all to prepare.

Great news: You don’t have to be a James Beard Award-winning chef to whip up dressing. “Some of the most basic ones [like vinaigrette] take four minutes,” Fennimore said. “You literally pour oil, vinegar, salt and pepper all into a Mason jar and shake it for a minute. It’s so easy.” Even the more slightly complicated Caesar and blue cheese dressings can be done in five to 10 minutes if you have a blender or food processor handy.

It tastes better.

Nothing beats the taste of homemade food, and that includes salad dressing. “Sure, salad dressing has a good shelf life, but they’re dead in the bottle,” Fennimore explained. “There’s nothing flavorful about them.” Something changes when you prepare dressing right before you eat it. “People notice the freshness right away when you make something homemade!” she told HuffPost.

It’s less expensive in the long run.

Obviously, the price of a bottle of salad dressing varies depending on the ingredients, but let’s say the average price is about $4-5(£3.13-3.92). You can make it at home for much less, especially if you’re making something simple like a lemon vinaigrette. “If you think about it, one lemon is 50 cents, a tablespoon or two of olive oil from a $10-15 (£7.84-11.76)bottle is a few cents, and balsamic is the same price,” Fennimore calculated. “I’d say it’s probably $2 (£1.57) to make your own dressing, maybe less.” 

Here are 11 salad dressings you can easily make at home

Fennimore breaks up her book into a few categories, and this list of 11 dressings pulls from a few of those categories, including vinaigrettes, creamy dressings, dressings with bold flavors and sauces. From blue cheese to ranch to a ton of easy vinaigrette recipes, here are 11 dressings you can make in 10 minutes or less.

All recipes courtesy of Dressings: Over 200 Recipes for the Perfect Salads, Marinades, Sauces, and Dips by Mamie Fennimore.

a cup of water © Dressings: Used by Permission (C) Cider Mill Press Book Publishers

Classic Ranch

Yield: 3/4 cup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Buttermilk © Getty Buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon chives, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • Dash of hot sauce

Whisk all the ingredients in a bowl until they’ve emulsified.

Classic Caesar Dressing

Yield: 3/4 cup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Egg yolk © Getty Egg yolk

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 5 anchovy filets
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2-3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sherry or red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and puree until emulsified.

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Classic Blue Cheese Dressing

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

mayonnaise © Getty mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco
  • 2-3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup crumbled Gorgonzola or Stilton
  • 1 tablespoon chives, chopped (optional)

Blend the ingredients until smooth, stirring in Gorgonzola or Stilton and chopped chives at the end. If the mixture needs to be thinned slightly, add a dash of buttermilk.

Pesto Potato Salad Dressing

Yield: 3/4 cups

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Fresh basil leaves © Getty Fresh basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (grating before juicing lemon is much easier)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced 
  1. In a food processor, combine the basil, pine nuts, salt, pepper, lemon juice and lemon zest into a coarse chop. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil until mixture becomes a fine paste.

  2. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and diced bell pepper. Toss on cooked and marinated potatoes and serve. Note: You can add a little olive oil (1 tablespoon) to the potatoes pre-pesto to keep them from drying out if you like.

a close up of a glass cup on a table © Dressings: Used by Permission (C) Cider Mill Press Book Publishers

Lemon-Thyme Dressing

Yield: 3/4 cup

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

lemon zest © BB2tx0h lemon zest

Whisk all the ingredients in a small bowl or shake them in a jar and serve.

Classic Balsamic Vinaigrette

Yield: 3/4 cup

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

Shake all ingredients in a jar and serve.

Classic Lemon Vinaigrette

Yield: 3/4 cup

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Lemon Juice © Getty Lemon Juice
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Zest the lemon before juicing.

Whisk all the ingredients in a small bowl or shake them in a jar and serve.

Honey © Getty Honey

Red Raspberry Vinaigrette

Yield: 3/4 cup

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

  • 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries, mashed with fork (can sub preserves or frozen raspberries)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Whisk all the ingredients in a small bowl or shake them in a jar and serve.

Creamy Dijon Vinaigrette

Yield: 3/4 cup

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

White sugar © Getty White sugar
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Blend all ingredients until they are creamy and emulsified.

Pecorino Romano and Black Pepper Vinaigrette

Yield: 3/4 cups

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano, freshly grated
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed for added flavor
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Whisk all the ingredients in a small bowl until mixture has emulsified, making sure to pour the oil in slowly.

a close up of a glass of orange juice © Dressings: Used by Permission (C) Cider Mill Press Book Publishers

Honey-Black Pepper Vinaigrette

Yield: 1 cup

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey, warmed for easy mixing
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, torn

Combine everything in a jar. Tightly seal the lid and shake until the mixture is creamy.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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