The Benefits of Making Homemade Salad Dressing and Recipes!

January 27, 2011Katie

When the bottles of salad dressing in my refrigerator run out, I am not buying anymore store-bought.

Seriously, I recently began making my own dressings at home and it’s very simple and way more economical, especially if you have a few mason jars to shake them up in.  Keep a few staples in your pantry and refrigerator, and you can whip up a variety of salad dressings at any given time.

Keep things stocked at home like red wine and white wine vinegar (Just a couple dollars per bottle).  And also extra virgin olive oil, sugar-free jam, honey, fresh garlic, and Dijon mustard.  Or for creamy dressings keep mayonnaise, sour cream, plain yogurt and milk.  If you’ve got some dried herbs like basil, dill, rosemary and thyme, you’re all set for bottles and bottles of the fresh stuff.

The benefit of making your own dressing is that you can control what goes into your dressings (and body!).

First off let’s examine a few things in the dressing we buy at the store…

There are things like Xanthum Gum, a thickener made from bacteria.

Things like Sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, and calcium disodium EDTA, which are preservatives, some of them being suspected of links to cancer.

There are also “gems”  like large amounts of sugar, high fructose corn syrup and modified food starch.

Or how about those food dyes? Red dye 40, blue dye 50 and so on?

You know what?

I prefer the simple things…like real food ingredients – you know,  things like vinegar, olive oil, honey and Dijon mustard?

I’ll show you the latest one I made today.  At the end of the post will be this recipe and another of my favorite dressings and salads.  And remember, you can always adjust any cream based dressing to be healthier by using low-fat mayonnaise or sour cream. I’ve even substituted plain, non-fat yogurt and had delicious results!

I’ll show you one I made today and it was fantastic!

This was a spin on my favorite basic vinaigrette, like I use on my Nicoise Salad.  This is a neat concept – and in this recipe, I just add a bit of sugar-free seedless jam to change things up a bit!

I started with 3 tablespoons of blackberry sugar-free jam.

We don’t need the sugar, because we’re going to use honey as our sweetener (which actually tastes just as good), and it also acts as a thickener for our dressing.

In a jar (that has a lid), dump in 3 tablespoons of blackberry jam (you could also use raspberry, strawberry or even peach!).  Add in 1/3 cup of red wine vinegar.  Add in 2 teaspoons of dried rosemary.  If it’s summer, and you grow herbs, substitute a tablespoon of the fresh stuff.  Also add in a tablespoon of Dijon mustard.

Add in 1/3 cup of honey and a pinch of salt and pepper.

If you’re not a dummy like me, you can keep on going in your large jar, but since I grabbed a small one, I ended up dumping mine into a bowl to continue.  But this way, I can show you both options…

Well, sorta.

If you’re using a jar, put on the lid, shake it up real good and then remove the lid again.  If you’re using a bowl whisk everything up, and then drizzle 1/2 cup of olive oil into the bowl, whisking quickly to incorporate it.  If you’re using a jar, just dump the whole thing in and shake again!

See how easy that was?

For a little spin on this, you could add in a tablespoon or two of mayo, sour cream or yogurt for a creamier effect, which is also delicious.

If you do this in a mason jar, you have a built-in quaint dressing jar to store in the fridge.

If you’ve looking for something different, watch garage and estate sales for pretty bottles.  You can use a funnel to pour your dressing through into them.

I actually picked up this bottle at Wal-Mart for about $2.

Also, play around with new and exciting salads.  The one I made with this today had crumbled Stilton bleu cheese, chopped red onions and walnuts on it.

Here is another salad I made recently using my favorite dressing -Garlicky Vinaigrette.

I sauteed some portabello mushroom slices in olive oil and put them on a bed of Cress that I got fresh at one my local favorite foodie stores.   I shaved some parmesan cheese over top with my potato peeler, sprinkled on a few chopped sun-dried tomatoes.  Then, for some protein, I added a poached egg.

Oh my, was this delicious!

Stay tuned for a healthy recipe alternative to Ranch dressing in the next few days.

And try your hand at whipping up one of these yummy salad dressings!  Start to play around with some new flavors and create your own.

Blackberry Vinaigrette
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Salad Dressing
Serves: 8
  • 3 T. blackberry jam
  • ⅓ c. red wine vinegar
  • 2 t. dried rosemary (or 1 T. fresh)
  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • ⅓ c. honey
  • ¼ t. salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • ½ c. olive oil
  • Optional: 2 T. sour cream or yogurt
  1. INGREDIENTS for Salad:
  2. c. Spring mix salad
  3. oz. Stilton bleu cheese, crumbled
  4. T. chopped red onion
  5. /3 c. halved walnuts
For Salad dressing- Whisk first 7 ingredients together. Keep whisking briskly while drizzling in olive oil. Add in sour cream or yogurt (if using) and herbs and whisk again.
For Salad - add spring mix to large bowl or plate. Crumble bleu cheese over top. Sprinkle walnuts and onion evenly over all. Add dressing in quantity desired.

Here are some other homemade salad dressing ideas to try!

Garlicky Vinaigrette with Warm Mushroom Salad

Pancetta Tomato Bibb Lettuce with Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing

But remember, if you do, you need to come back here and brag about it!

Also, here are the links to my posts about Blue Cheese Dressing and also Poppyseed Dressing and if you still want more, visit my Salad Recipes page here!

Do you have a favorite homemade dressing? Share it below in the comments section!



  • Annie Joy

    January 27, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Sounds delicious and I'm ready to jump on the bandwagon. One question (and maybe it's not important, since the homemade dressings will probably be used up quickly): how long will these dressings last in the refrigerator? Thanks!
    1. dishinanddishes

      January 27, 2011 at 12:12 pm

      Annie - about a week without fresh herbs (they will get a little funky I think) and only a couple of days with the garlic. Always stored in the refrigerator. You might want to halve the recipe and make fresh each time for best results.
  • Mikki

    January 27, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    What a great post!! We make our own ranch dressing all the time, but I cheap out on the others. I should venture out into homemade dressing more often. Great post.
    1. dishinanddishes

      January 27, 2011 at 3:53 pm

      Mikki - you're supposed to share the recipe! How do you make your ranch? And thank you...!

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