Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes: Less Waste, Cheaper Salads 21

My local grocery store has about twelve linear feet, shelf upon shelf, dedicated to nothing but salad dressing.  If you’ve stepped foot inside a supermarket recently, you’ve probably walked past a similar display without giving it a thought. Thousand Island, Italian, French, Ranch – you name it, they’ve got it, ready to use and probably laced with an unpronounceable ingredient or two. A few brands come in glass, but most are sold in plastic bottles. Plastic bottles that we buy fully intending to add them to the waste stream. (Doesn’t that just make you wonder how we came to this??) Sure, maybe you’ll recycle, but that still requires fossil fuels for transportation and the reclamation process.

It’s just one more habit that’s been ingrained in us over years. Many of us don’t even think twice about buying something we could so easily make at home!

Making your own salad dressing at home is easy, much less expensive, and it tastes great. Just imagine how many bottles of dressing one store must sell in a day. It’s kind of mind-boggling, really. Especially when making salad dressing is such easy thing to do. I think Breaking the habit of buying salad dressing is probably harder than actually making it. So, first step: next time you find yourself ogling the vast array of options, step back and think about the waste and the fact that you are fully capable of making a lovely salad dressing at home for much less than you’d pay for one of those bottles.

Next, start trying recipes to see what you like. By far the easiest way to dress a salad is with vinegar and oil. Bring a pretty container of each to the table and let each diner pour on the amount they’d like. Easy, peasy – but not always what salad eaters are after. Personally, I like a bit more oomph.

Creamy VinaigretteRadish Leaf Salad Dressing

  • 3/4 olive oil
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (I’ve used red or white wine vinegar)
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a glass jar. Tighten the lid and shake vigorously until ingredients are well blended. Ta-da! You’re ready to dress your salad.

Creamy Radish Leaf Salad Dressing

  • Greens from one bunch of radishes (about 1 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Whir all ingredients together in a blender until smooth. Serve with salad or as a veggie dip.

If you’ve got radishes aplenty, you might also want to try making radish leaf pesto.

More salad dressing recipes to try:

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21 thoughts on “Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes: Less Waste, Cheaper Salads

  • Susan

    I make my own croutons with leftover bread, but I hadn’t thought to make my own salad dressing, too. Thanks for the suggested recipes!

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      Homemade croutons are yummy, too!

  • Jane Boursaw

    I really like just simple oil and vinegar for a dressing, but it certainly doesn’t take much to integrate a few other things and mix it up a little.

  • Claudine M Jalajas

    One of my standard go-to recipes is SO simple and fast and tasty. I use equal parts dijon mustard, canola/veg oil, and a dash of dried sage. (You can use fresh when it’s in season.. just cut it up for full flavor). I put a slight splash of water to thin it out.. and voila.. done. Throw it with some fresh grated parmesan.. it’s tasty. If you omit the water it makes a great glaze for chicken too.

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      I love how easy you make it sound. A splash of this, a dash of that – that’s how I cook!

  • Alexandra

    We always make our own, very simple: few teaspoons of wine vinegar, one teaspoon of lemon juice, the same number of teaspoons of olive oil, salt and pepper, and half a spoon to a spoon of Dijon mustard. You whip it with a fork. Then I add a clove of pressed garlic. Yum!

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      Garlic is the ticket, for me.

  • Jennifer Margulis

    My husband made organic Goddess dressing (so expensive and delicious to buy) and we all LOVED it. Now it’s a staple in our house. But he has to make a lot, since the kids gobble it up.

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      Is that the old 70s green goddess dressing? I’d like to try that.

  • Kerry Dexter

    we have enjoyed making our own dressings for some time — and you can include whatever spices strike your imagination, which is fun. adding a little (or a lot of!) cumin is a often a favorite thing to do at our house

  • Kris Bordessa Post author

    I like cumin, but I’ve never tried it in salad dressing. I’ll have to give that a go.

  • April

    I love to make my own salad dressing. I’ve been experimenting with ranch and may have come up with what I want. I’m making another batch tomorrow (bc I had to use up the rest of my current batch tonight). If I like it, I’ll share. I’ve found the key to some of these is letting them rest for at least 4 hours, especially if vinegar is involved.

    Here is a creamy Italian dressing one of my readers shared. I liked it. The key was letting it rest overnight. When I first made it I didn’t like it, but the next day it was great. http://www.ourfoodstorage.com/2011/08/03/zucchini-again-i-know/

    Balsamic vinaigrette. what I like about this one is I can really vary it by changing the amount of honey I use. If I use a little honey it’s got some bite. If I increase it, it becomes much sweeter (obviously), but just a different flavor. On that same post is a citrus vinaigrette that is not only good on salad, but excellent on salmon:


    I love thise poppy seed dressing recipe and the salad we use it on (the salad is good with lots of different fruits when strawberries are out of season like pears or blueberries):


    I also have a honey mustard dressing that I haven’t posted, but here it is:
    1/2 cup mayo
    1/4 c mustard
    1/4 c honey
    salt to taste
    pinch of cayenne

    I even make my own mayo with light olive oil to make my creamy dressings (or a sandwich ):

    Hmm. That was more than I realized I had posted.

  • April

    I would love that ranch dressing recipe and the green goddess recipe if they shared.

  • April

    Last thing, promise. I put my dressings and mayo in empty pint canning jars and use the plastic (I know!!) screw on lids you can buy at the grocery store. BUT I’m using them over and over again forever and ever. I have a cute little cruet for my vinaigrettes, but the creamy dressings go in my canning jars.

    And I was also going to tell you that I make a lot of my own seasonings, like taco seasoning, chili seasoning, etc. No buying those little foil and paper packets. I buy my seasoning in the larger containers at Costco (bc any bigger and I’d never get through them). They can be used for storing things like nails or screws or buttons or markers or all kinds of things.

    Ok, I think I’m done.

  • rhonda

    I like to make my own using healthy oils. Walnut oil, hazelnut, pumpkin seed, sesame, and avocado oil make nice dressings. My favorite is 2 spoons of hazelnut oil, 1 spoon of trader joe’s pomegranate vinegar, and 1/2 spoon of fig balsamic vinegar. This is enought to dress a big bowl of salad for two. Just put in a teacup and beat the crap out of it with a fork. Takes about one minute to make.

  • Diane

    The only dressing I buy is Annie’s Organic Roasted Garlic . It is really good on steamed veggies . I can’t remember the last time I bought anything else . My go to recipe is Cook’s Illustrated Low Fat Parmesan Peppercorn . However we have a new favorite that is very tasty . Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette . Ingredients: 6 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar, 1/4 Cup Honey, 3/4 cup Sunflower Oil, 1/2 teaspoon Dried Oregano,1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1-2 Chipotles in Adobo Sauce, 2 small cloves garlic minced. Combine all in blender or processer. Serve immediately or store in fridge !