ITALIAN STYLE SALAD DRESSING
Ingredients and Directions:
1. Measure 2/3 C olive or vegetable oil into bowl or pint jar with a cover.
2. Add 1/3 C of your favorite vinegar or other acid of your choice, such as lemon juice
3. Add ½ tsp Dijon mustard and 1/8 tsp each of salt, pepper, dried basil, oregano and garlic powder OR 1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning mix.
4. Whisk with a whisk or fork or shake a covered jar vigorously to help the dressing emulsify.
5. Taste and adjust your ingredients.
6. Pour a small amount over greens and toss with two forks or spoons. You want the greens to be coated, but not “swimming” in dressing with no puddle at the bottom of the salad bowl! Add more, as needed.
7. Label the container and store any leftovers in the fridge. You may need to shake it before using to remix the oil and vinegar. Double or triple the recipe to have extra on hand! This also makes a good dip or a marinade for roasting vegetables.
BASIC CREAMY STYLE SALAD DRESSING RANCH STYLE
Ingredients and Directions:
1. Combine 1/4 C each of mayo and sour cream, 2 T milk, 1 tsp lemon juice into bowl or jar with a cover.
2. Whisk or shake covered jar vigorously to help the dressing emulsify.
3. Add seasonings (1/4 tsp dry dill weed, 1/8 tsp each garlic powder and onion powder, salt and pepper to taste. Repeat step 2, taste and adjust your ingredients!
4. Pour a small amount over greens and toss with two forks or spoons. You want the greens to be coated, but not “swimming” in dressing with no puddle at the bottom of the salad bowl! Add more, as needed.
5. Label the container and store in the fridge. You will need to shake it before using.
This also makes a great dip or addition to baked potatoes! Add more sour cream and / or mayo to make it thicker, if you like!
Note: The photo above come from Victoria of Mason Jar Recipe whose site also features Mason Jars as gifts, decorations and other crafts.
Variations: The Ranch above can be improvised with salsa and taco seasonings to make a Fiesta Dressing. Sweeteners like honey, various mustards, fruit puree or various vinegars with one with complex flavor like balsamic can make the vinaigrette your own.
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Making salad dressing from scratch is a pretty quick, healthy, economical way to add taste to the variety of greens we now enjoy from the garden, the farmer's market or the produce aisle. Reusing the jars makes sense, too! You can do so for a special occasion or make home made part of your routine.
Tamra Dickinson and I shared these recipes with our after school cooking class students at Hillside Elementary in spring 2022. It was fun to watch them wash greens and spin them dry in make-shift kitchen towel salad spinners. They shook jars of dressing ingredients with every muscle they had and we all enjoyed a spring kale salad!
I don't recall bottled salad dressing on the table until I was college age. They taste good, but the ingredient list often includes high fructose corn syrup and ingredients far too hard to pronounce. For our family, salad was usually spring garden lettuce or iceberg lettuce with a vinegar and oil dressing made in the bowl right before dinner. More bitter greens like endive and chard were for the adults. The few times we visited a restaurant, one treat was serving yourself from one of the 3 offerings of salad dressing, typically French, Bleu Cheese and Vinegar and Oil in those cool decanters we passed around the table. One legendary Italian restaurant in Hurley, Wisconsin swore its staff to secrecy when making their signature Caesar salad dressing!
What are your salad and dressing habits or memories? What's Cooking America? shares histories of famous dressing makers like "Marzetti", "Hellmann", Kraft Cheese Company; dressings like Thousand Island, Green Goddess and Russian; and salads like Caesar, Cobb, King Louis, Panzanella and Nicoise.