Three Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes: Better For You, Better For Your Wallet

Written by Shannon of Nourishing Days.

Now that the temperatures are warming up salads are a great main or side dish for every night of the week. But who wants to spend a lot of money on a bottle with questionable ingredients?

One of the first things I realized on my real food journey was that when I make things from scratch for health reasons, I also save money. Salad dressings are no exception.

And the best part? They are super easy to make!

A Basic Formula For Homemade Salad Dressing

Making homemade salad dressing is a bit intimidating at first. Especially if you are like me and thought that salad dressing only came from a grocery store.

When making a vinaigrette, a combination of oil and vinegar or lemon juice, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Keep the oil to vinegar ratio at about 3:1
  • If you want a smooth consistency in which the oil and vinegar do not separate you must use an emulsifier. Dijon mustard and egg yolks from pastured chickens are my favorite options.
  • Add lots of flavors like onion, garlic, spices, herbs, and honey.
  • For simplicity use pint-sized jars for easy dump, shake, and serve salad dressing.

With the above thoughts in mind you can create flavorful salads in a myriad of flavors.

My Go-To Salad Dressing Recipes

These are the dressings that I make on a regular basis. All three use healthful fats like extra virgin olive oil and cultured dairy.

They are also family-friendly and diverse, making it easier for my family to down our garden’s bumper lettuce crop this year.

Photo by felipe_gabaldon

Garlic-Herb Vinaigrette

This is my go-to salad dressing. We love garlic and all of it’s health benefits and the herbs are usually whatever I have in the house, dried or fresh. See… simple.

  • 1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • generous pinch of sea salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh herbs or 2 teaspoons dried (basil, oregano, chives, and thyme are all nice)
  • scant 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
  1. Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a jar. Stir well with a fork.
  2. Add olive oil, cover tightly, and shake well until combined. You can also use a blender and drizzle the oil in slowly while it is running.
  3. Serve over your basic green salad with added chopped vegetables.

Photo by mr_t_in_dc

Balsamic Vinaigrette

This dressing reminds me of the super-sweet bottled Russian dressing I grew up eating. It is a nice change of pace for a salad, but also works well for flavoring cooked or grilled meats and vegetables.

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (no need for the really expensive stuff)
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram (or oregano)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a jar. Stir well with a fork.
  2. Add olive oil, cover tightly, and shake well until combined. You can also use a blender and drizzle the oil in slowly while it is running.
  3. Serve over a basic green salad or toss with grated carrots, minced red onion, and sunflower seeds.

Photo by whitneyinchicago

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

This is a great salad dressing to serve to your family if they are having a hard time letting go of their favorite creamy bottled dressing. My husband loves this stuff and I love that it is actually really good for him. When I don’t have homemade mayonnaise in the fridge I substitute an additional 1/4 cup creme fraiche to avoid the unhealthy oils found in most commercial mayonnaise.

  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream (I save money by making my own)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 4 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed (or 1 teaspoon fresh)
  1. Combine all ingredients in a quart jar. Stir well with a fork or seal tightly and shake.
  2. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Taste and additional salt as necessary. This makes for a fairly thick dressing. If a thinner consistency is desired replace part of the sour cream with additional buttermilk.
  3. This is delicious over a chopped salad with bacon, hard-boiled egg, and lots of vegetables.

Use these homemade dressings throughout the hot summer and watch your family gobble up their vegetables.

What’s your favorite way to dress a summer salad?

About Shannon

Real food, sustainability, and homesteading are inextricably intertwined on the off-grid homestead Shannon, her husband and three children inhabit. She shares the insanely beautiful and shatteringly hard of it all on her blog Nourishing Days. She also works as a content writer and blog editor for Cultures for Health.

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  1. I found your post today when searching for olive oil salad dressing. I am so glad I did! I tried your balsamic vinaigrette today. I made a salad of fresh greens (Organic Girl), heirloom tomatoes, Gorgonzola cheese crumbles, walnuts, and quinoa. I used Boulevard Ale mustard in the dressing instead of the dijon. The dressing was wonderful especially with the cheese and heirloom tomatoes. My husband was impressed. This was the first time I have made homemade dressing. Now I am excited to try your other recipes.

  2. Hi, I made your garlic and herb dressing a couple months ago, but forgot it was in the fridge. I found it recently, but I’m unsure how to tell if it’s still good. How long would it take for this dressing to spoil? And how would I know if it has? Thank you so much!

  3. Hi, thanks for the recipes. About how long do these dressings last in the fridge? I am trying to save money and time by making dressing in bulk, but I would hate for it to spoil unexpectedly.

  4. This website initiated an “Obfuscation 2901” virus when I opened it. You may want to check on that.

  5. In the creamy dressing would non fat Greek yogurt work for mayo?

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