I’ve been cooking from scratch for so long that there’s certain things I just assume everyone else makes from scratch, too, like salad dressings. But over the years, I’ve noticed that lots of people still use store bought bottled dressings. Why?
Taste? Convenience? Health? Phooey. Making a dressing from scratch is one of the quickest, easiest and most fool-proof things you can do in the kitchen. Plus, you get to control the ingredients, so you can customize the flavor while avoiding all the nasty preservatives, added sugars and artificial ingredients lurking in the bottled stuff. Best of all, you can whip up a big batch in a matter of minutes, so you’ll always have a good quality, homemade dressing on hand.
Not only are homemade vinaigrettes tastier and healthier, they’re arguably just as convenient as anything you can buy at the store. There’s no right or wrong way to make one, either. Use the recipe below as a guideline, and adjust the ingredients to suit your preference. Once you’ve mastered the classic, change it up and play with the ingredients, or try one of these variations:
Asian: Ginger + Garlic + Shallot + Dijon Mustard + Soy Sauce + Rice Vinegar + Sugar + Vegetable Oil + Sesame Oil (optional)
Great on slaws, noodles and other Asian salads.
Citrus: Shallot + Orange or Grapefruit Juice/Zest + Lemon or Lime Juice/Zest + Dijon Mustard + Vegetable or Light Olive Oil
Lovely with roasted beets or poured over fish.
Apple: Shallot + Whole Grain Mustard + Honey + Apple Cider Vinegar + Olive Oil
Perfect on any type of salad with apples.
Greek: Red Onion + Honey + Red Wine Vinegar + Lemon Juice + Oregano or Dill + Your Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil
For Greek salads, tomato/cucumber/red onion salads, or drizzled over gyros.
Italian: Garlic + Red Wine Vinegar + Pinch of Sugar + Oregano + Thyme + Onion Powder + Olive Oil
Awesome on antipasto salads or classic garden salads.
Spanish: Garlic + Sherry Vinegar + Honey + Smoked Paprika + Olive Oil
Try it tossed with arugula or warm, roasted potatoes.
Bacon: Shallot + Whole Grain Mustard + White Wine Vinegar + Honey + Bacon Fat
You’ll love this on a spinach salad, kale salad or potato salad.
Balsamic: Garlic + Balsamic Vinegar + Honey + Olive Oil
Great all-purpose dressing for mixed greens and tomato salads.
Creamy: Add a bit of mayonnaise, sour cream or plain yogurt to any of the above recipes to make a creamy variation. Just be sure to scale back on the oil.
One Year Ago: Celery Root and Parsnip Gratin
- 1 small shallot, finely minced, about 2 tablespoons
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey (optional)
- 2 tablespoon vinegar (white wine, red wine, sherry, apple cider, etc.)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, or more, to taste
- Whisk together the shallot, mustard, honey and vinegar, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Slowly stream in the olive oil, while vigorously whisking, until emulsified. Taste, and adjust as needed.
- Store in a jar or resealable container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.