Your favorite salad dressing recipe, please!

I’m a good cook. I can make all kinds of things, but I seem to have been born without the salad dressing gene. I make simple vinaigrettes, but they are always too vinegary or too bland or too whatever. I’ve read a million recipes, I use quality ingredients, so I don’t know why I have a problem! Yesterday, at a pub in Sonoma, I had a fantastic salad that was just mixed halved cherry tomatoes with olive oil, vinegar, fresh basil and sea salt. It was perfect. Could I duplicate it at home? I doubt it. What’s your favorite oil and vinegar dressing and how do you make it? I will be forever grateful for your advice and recipes.

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I include the thick juices from the canned kidney/cannelini/garbanzo/etc beans when I make bean salad. Just not the water from the green and wax beans. I add a packet of dry Wish Bone Italian dressing mix seasoning, extra garlic powder, white vinegar, and not much oil. Sorry, no measuring but probably a half cup of vinegar and a quarter cup of oil. Plus a glug of water or some of the wax bean water. The large batch, comprised of at least five cans of beans and a large sliced onion, needs several days in the fridge for the flavors to meld. When the salad is gone, the remaining liquid is my favorite homemade dressing for simple green salads.

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I don’t do it often, but when I make a vinagrette, I often refer to The Food Lab Turbo: How to Make Vinaigrette (and Dress Your Salad Right)


Nurdling the vinegar transforms vinaigrette beyond recognition, IMO.

Pour the top inch from a pint bottle of white wine vinegar. Add 3 or 4 cloves of garlic (unpeeled is fine, and just halve them lengthways if they’re too fat for the bottle neck) and a good teaspoon of dried tarragon (or a couple of fresh sprigs, if you have it). Agitate every so often for a couple of weeks, and then you’re ready to go: 6 evoo to 1 vinegar (double the oil of many recipes, I know, but please try it), and a little s&p. I think it works really well.

This base version is great as it is, but can easily be varied at the mixing stage by adding something like a little truffle oil, or maybe a teaspoon of Dijon mustard.

When a bottle gets a bit low I start a new one (the initial pour-off going in to the previous bottle), so I’m never short of this lovely stuff.


What is nurdling?

Very handy term for adjusting facts and events in your favour. Widely used in the financial markets and by car mechanics.

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I’ve got 3 for you:

House Vinaigrette. I wish I knew who to credit this to but I have been making it for so many years I cannot remember. I am eternally grateful to him/her though.

1 medium shallot, minced
2 T any kind of citrus juice
2 T rice vinegar
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup EVOO or to taste (I use a bit more)

Put everything but the EVOO into a lidded jar and allow the shallot to temper in the acids for 10 minutes or so, then add oil and shake well.

Mustard Caper Vinaigrette (adapted from a recipe in Bon Appetit back in 2001)

1/4 cup lemon juice (don’t substitute)
1 shallot, minced
3 T drained capers
1 T Dijon mustard
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1/2 cup EVOO

Soak shallot briefly in lemon juice, then add capers, mustard, RPF and blend. Add EVOO and whisk or shake in jar to blend.
This is especially good on sliced avocado and summer tomato salad. I also use it to make potato salad, pouring it over hot sliced red potatoes.

Green Goddess Dressing (courtesy Chowhound roxlet many years ago)

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon tarragon vinegar (or use white wine vinegar with a tiny dash of tarragon)
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
1/4 cup (up to 1/3 cup) finely chopped green onions or chives
1/4 cup (up to 1/3 cup) chopped parsley
1 cup mayonnaise (reduced fat is OK per roxlet)
4 anchovies, chopped
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup sour cream

Temper the garlic in the lemon juice and vinegar in the blender while you measure everything else.
Put all the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the sour cream into a blender.
Blend until all ingredients are well amalgamated and herbs are minced very fine, scraping the sides down several times.
Remove to a bowl and stir in the sour cream. Do not blend with the sour cream!
Chill before serving. If it gets too thick, you can thin it with a spoonful or two of buttermilk or regular milk.
Outstanding for about 3 or 4 days, then it starts tasting fishy.

ETA: sorry, you were only looking for vinaigrettes but this dressing is so tasty I am going to leave it here anyway.


Thanks to all of you for your recipes. Much appreciated!

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@TheLibrarian - no recipe but a little advice; I only learned this a couple years ago. Always dissolve your salt in the vinegar portion, along with any dried herbs you might be using to soften them. If you add salt to the oil, the salt can suspend in the oil particles and you can’t taste it. This is true for marinades as well. I always wondered why some of my vinaigrette’s were blah while others were fabulous. Same with marinades. Will add that I love to use walnut oil with fruity vinegars like raspberry, add shallots, garlic and seasoning to taste. It’s reallly good.


All of the above dressing recipes and instructions are classic and delicious. Probably the minefield is how much dressing for how much greens.

We have finally arrived at a method that works for us. Place salad ingredients in a large bowl. Season with good salt and cracked pepper. Add just enough EVOO to coat the leaves. Toss. Add a proportionate spoonful of excellent vinegar (Banyuls, a combo of sherry and balsamic, your favorite) and toss well. Serve NOW.


@pilgrim - good advice, over dressed greens are horrid IMO. As well, salt on the leaves makes them much more flavorful.

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While not my style, too sweet for me, here is a recipe from DH’s family.
1 cup catsup
1 cup sugar
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
Salt and pepper
Either blend for a smooth dressing or just shake together for a more textured one.


Great thread! My mom has made this dressing FOREVER. I’ll need to ask her where she found this from originally. I love it and for years she gave me a batch as part of my Christmas stocking. I have since graduated to making it myself. Embarrassingly easy with a mini food processor to mince the garlic.

2 C vegetable oil
6 large cloves garlic, minced
½ C fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ C tamari soy sauce (I use low sodium tamari)
Heat oil. Gently cook garlic in oil until barely golden.
Remove from heat. Cool, whisk in lemon juice and
tamari. Keeps 1 month in refrigerator.


That’s what I lime.

I’ll ask before someone brings it up. Is there a botulism prism with the garlic in oil ?

Well. We haven’t died yet ha!

But I thought that by cooking the garlic in the oil, that removes the botulism risk. I thought the issue was raw garlic in oil. I got curious and started googling but couldn’t find a definitive answer on it actually. Anybody have a good link on this topic?

Rice vinegar
Sliced fresh ginger root
Roasted sesame oil
Blend in jar, chill at least 15 mins. I keep on hand.

Love this simple blend on cucumbers, micogreens, cold noodles. Kani salad.


Homemade vinagrette: oil, vinegar, garlic, S&P.

Whoa. I am going to make this today for cucumber salad tonight. Yum! Thank you!

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Should read toasted sesame oil. :wink:

Ha, I figured as much. Guesstimate on proportions?