Five Easy Homemade Salad Dressings!

We eat salad every night at dinner. I make homemade salad dressings to keep in the refrigerator for the week. Dressings are a cinch to make and turn a boring salad into something interesting and inviting. Here are my 5 simple go to dressings that I make over ands over. Need some inspiration to spice up your salads? Look at my idea list below for some new ingredients to try.

1. Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette 

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tsp. dark brown sugar

1Tbsp. chopped garlic

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup olive oil

*Mix vinegars, sugar garlic, salt, & pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil until combined.

Katie’s Tip: This is the time to use quality balsamic.  I buy mine from Olive & Vinnie’s in Glen Ellyn. For olive oil, sometimes I swap out olive oil for vegetable oil OR extra light tasting extra virgin olive oil.

From food network -Emeril Lagasse

2. “Anchovy free” Caesar

1 extra-large egg yolk at room temperature

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 large cloves garlic, chopped

freshly squeezed juice from two lemons

2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups mild olive oil

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

*In a food processor or blender combine all ingredients up to pepper. Slowly add olive oil until combined. Add parmesan cheese and mix.

Adapted from Ina Garten Caesar Dressing

3. Poppyseed Dressing:

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. dry mustard

1 tsp. salt

1/3 cup white vinegar

1.5 Tbsp. poppyseeds

1 cup vegetable oil

*Mix all ingredients together through poppy seeds. Slowly whisk in oil until combined.

Katie’s Tip: This is a sweet dressing and pairs well with strawberries & goat cheese. 

4. Honey Dijon

1/3 cup honey

1/2 tsp. salt

dash of white vinegar

1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

3 Tbsp. dijon mustard

2 Tbsp. poppyseeds

1 cup vegetable oil

*Add all ingredients through poppy seeds. Slowly whisk in oil until combined.

5. Italian 

2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup white vinegar

4 dashes hot sauce

2 Tbsp. fresh italian flat leaf parsley

1 cup vegetable oil

*Mix all ingredients through parsley. Slowly whisk in oil until combined.

Katie’s Three Salad Tips

  1. Always toss the salad ingredients with dressing right before serving. Serving dry salad and drizzling dressing over the top is my pet peeve. Every ingredient should have some dressing on it. Sorry mom-I can never order dressing on the side to save calories at restaurants!

  2. Watch out for over dressing. There is nothing worse that lettuce sopping in dressing. Lightly toss salad with dressing and you can always add more.

3. Try new combos. Romaine lettuce needs some help so add whatever looks good in your pantry. I like to add these toppings to keep my salads colorful, interesting, and a featured course of dinner.

IDEAS-Think outside the box:

cheese: parmesan shavings, shredded cheddar, crumbled blue cheese, fresh goat cheese, gorgonzola, mozzarella cubes, diced provolone, feta cubes

nuts: slivered almonds, candied walnuts, chopped pecans, pistachios, toasted pine nuts

fruit: apples slices, fresh pear, grapefruit segments, berries, oranges, jicama, pomegranate seeds,  dates

vege: sliced peppers, shredded carrot, cucumber, small diced tomatoes, sliced red onion, cherry tomato halves, celery, corn, fresh peas, edamame, pitted olives

bread: I like to use day old bread made into home-made croutons. Saute small cubes of bread in olive oil until light brown. Sprinkle with sea salt.

meat: rotisserie chicken, diced salami, diced pepperoni, flank steak, grilled chicken

grains: quinoa, small pasta called ditallini, farro

beans: black beans, garbanzo beans, cannellini beans

Any ingredients I missed? Comment below!