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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thursday Recipe - Vinagrette Dressings

Buying salad dressing can be expensive. Making your own isn't that hard. Here's the basic recipe for a vingrette, a vinegar and oil dressing:

1/3 c. vinegar
1/2 c. oil
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper

Put everything in a tightly capped bottle and shake well. Refrigerate for one hour to let the flavors blend.

Simple, yes? The dressing will separate, so serve it in the bottle with the tight lid so people can shake it right before serving. Some people will be tempted to cut down on the oil in the dressing because they are watching their weight. Don't. The oil helps the rest stick to your salad. Just use less of it. And make sure you use a good oil, any oil will do but a good olive oil or canola oil will taste good and be good for you.

Now for the fun part - variations. Don't be afraid to experiment. Try a flavored oil or an exotic one. Try a gourmet vinegar. Try other spices or herbs. If you aren't sure, just cut the recipe down and try a little. Here are some ideas:

Sesame dressing: substitute 2 T. sesame oil for 2 T. of the oil in the recipe. Add 1 t. lemon zest (the yellow part of the peel, grated and chopped fine), 1/2 t. garlic powder, and 1 T. toasted sesame seeds.

Italian: Add 1 T. finely minced onion, 1 t. finely chopped garlic, 1 t. dried oregano, 1 t. dried basil, and 1 t. dried parsley.

Ceaser: Use the Italian variation and add 2 T. finely grated parmesan cheese.

Red wine dressing: Substitute red wine vinegar. Add 1 t. dried rosemary and 1/2 t. garlic powder.

Balsamic sweet dressing: Substitute balsamic vinegar. Add 1 T. sugar, 1/2 t. dried thyme, and 1/2 t. rosemary.

Orange ginger dressing: Substitute orange juice for the vinegar. Add 1 t. orange zest (the orange part of the peel, chopped fine), 1 t. ground ginger, 1/2 t. garlic powder, 1/2 t. onion powder, 1 T. soy sauce, and a dash of red pepper flakes. Use more if you like it spicy.

Peanut curry dressing: Mix 1 T. creamy peanut butter with the oil until smooth. Whisk in the vinegar, salt, pepper, 2 t. curry powder, 1 t. onion powder, 1/2 t. garlic powder, and red pepper flakes to taste.

Go try something new with your salad dressing.


  1. Recently got the 'how to cook without a book' book as a present. It has nearly the same proportions, except it halves the vinegar (I think, calls for 3 Tbls instead of 1/3 C (which is nearly 6 Tbls right?). Aaron's preferred salad topping is straight lemon juice. So I think we'll like your version much better. =)


  2. Um, I think you misspelled Caesar.
    And where's the deliciously tasty lime poppy seed dressing. No salad dressing list is complete without that!
    Thanks for the recipes!

  3. You can cut down the vinegar if you don't want it as strong. I like lots of vinegar so those are the proportions I use. Stronger flavored vinegar can be cut down, the milder ones like rice wine vinegar you can use more of.

    Caeser - Ceaser, doesn't matter to me. Either one is used. The lime poppy seed dressing isn't a vinegrette. I'll post it later.


Keep it clean, keep it nice.