What’s in your bottled salad dressing? Unfortunately it’s not a pretty picture for most store-bought options. The good news is making your own homemade salad dressing really doesn’t take much time or skill. And not only are they usually a whole lot cheaper, but homemade dressings also taste better and contain real ingredients.
My son and I used to use Girard’s Champagne dressing. I thought because it was premium that it had to be “better”—boy was I wrong! With MSG, caramel coloring, preservatives, and lots of other processed ingredients, I ultimately decided to make a change. So when we started our real food journey we gradually made the move to homemade.
After a bit of experimenting I finally came up with my own homemade option that’s delicious and versatile enough for a lot of different tastes. Just choose your preferred vinegar for the base, and you’ve got an oil and vinegar dressing that’s tailor-made for your family. 🙂
- ½ cup vinegar (white wine, red wine, or balsamic are our favorites)
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon dried organo
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ¼ teaspoon onion granules (see notes)
- ¼ teaspoon salt or less to taste
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- Choose the vinegar you want for the base of your Italian dressing and pour into a salad dressing carafe.
- Add olive oil, garlic, and dried seasonings.
- Shake and it's ready to serve.
Organic onion granules don't get all rock hard or dried up like onion powder does, so I prefer the granules. Onion powder will work just as well though.
If you're transitioning from bottled salad dressings, you may want to add a touch of sweetness to get your kids on board. Usually 2-3 teaspoons of sugar, honey, or maple syrup is more than enough. Gradually, over time, reduce the amount of sweetener you're adding and your family won't even know the difference 🙂
Feel free to adjust the seasonings to your tastes. Basil yields a slightly sweeter flavor while oregano is more savory. And if you prefer to use fresh herbs, double the amount of basil and triple the amount of oregano.
Making the dressing several hours or even the night before gives a chance for the flavors to come alive more ... so avoid the last minute crunch and make this recipe up ahead of time!
Store unused portion in the fridge. The oil will solidify when cold so be sure to take it out of the refrigerator and warm it up before serving. I usually set the carafe in some warm water for a couple of minutes.
So whip up a batch of my homemade Italian dressing today! It’s super easy and WAY delicious! And if you haven’t checked me out on Pinterest yet, I’ve just posted a visual version of my homemade Italian dressing recipe PLUS you can find all my other recipes and a whole lot more!
Kitchen Tips and Resources:
- Looking for something to mix up your salad dressing in? Mason jars are a great option that most of us have on hand. I especially love these 16-ounce mason jars. Their wide mouth makes it easy to pour in ingredients, and the graduated measurements along the sides allow for the quick addition of just the right amount of oil and vinegar. The Kolder salad dressing bottle is another good option although its narrower, traditional bottleneck makes it a little harder to quickly add ingredients. The bonus of the Kolder salad dressing bottle is that it has a variety of recipes on the bottle.
- Do you bring salads to work or school for lunch but hate the mess that salad dressing containers can make? Then here are two great options. GoToob travel bottles are not only perfect for your travel needs, but they’re amazing for salad dressing on the go. Made from food grade silicon (100% BPA/polycarbonate free), these bottles are simply amazing. I can personally vouch for them—they’ve NEVER leaked on me yet! Can your travel bottle say that? The other option that I have less experience with (but many folks swear by) are the Dressing 2-Go squeeze bottles.
- A great garlic press makes child’s play of mincing garlic. I just mince the garlic right into my salad dressing shaker. I love this top-rated one, but there are lots of great alternatives out there at all sorts of kitchen, department, and discount stores.