Or, are you thinking, "no way, who has time for that?!"
Believe it or not, homemade dressings are so much easier than you think...not to mention, more fresh, flavorful, nutritious...and cheaper!
Do we have your attention yet?
One of our amazing Eat REAL America members shared with us that she used to only eat salads prepared by other people (you know the ones, either at a restaurant or pre-made in the store)…now she makes her own salads and eats them EVERY DAY! She also swore that she was never going to be the kind of person that made her own salad dressing, and now says "look what Zonya and Krista have done to me...I am now making homemade dressings and loving it!"
Everything from a basic Balsamic Vinaigrette to a Strawberry Mint Vinaigrette to a REAL Green Goddess dressing. With over 200 dressings, we know it can be easy to overlook and miss out on some of these flavor-loaded creations. We strongly believe the perfect salad is a combination of different flavors and textures, and the right dressing can bring everything together to excite your taste buds!
Since we just wrapped up virtual grocery store tours on cooking oils, vinegars, and salad dressings, we thought this would be the ideal time to provide you with a resource to quickly access our favorite homemade salad dressings! Think of it as a one-stop shop for a variety of truly flavor-loaded dressings. Yes, it was challenging, but we narrowed the list down to 50 of our favorites! We know, you are thinking 50?! So, we struggled to pick our top 10 all-time favorites and gave the others honorable mention! These dressings are all delicious and super quick and easy to whip up in a mason jar (or, for some, a quick whirl in your Ninja or food processor).
This one tastes great and deserves special mention because it is our fallback when we are really pressed for time, or when we are about to dive into dinner and realize we forgot the dressing!
It only takes seconds to make and our kids even refer to it as the 2-1-1:
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil + 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar + 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard.
Of course, the great thing about this particular dressing, you can customize the ratios to your preference...for example, you could do a "2-2-1" that includes equal amounts of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar plus the Dijon mustard.
TOP 10 - our favorite and most flavorful dressings!
- Apple cider vinaigrette (simple and delicious)
- Asian sesame vinaigrette (pairs great with all kinds of Asian-inspired dishes)
- Basil vinaigrette (you will want something to soak up every last drop of this irresistible dressing)
- Blue cheese dressing (a healthy way to make your own blue cheese dressing)
- Caesar style dressing (a very versatile - and oil free - dressing)
- Cilantro lime ranch dressing (cool, flavorful and also oil free)
- Creamy sriracha dressing (always gets rave reviews from family and friends)
- Honey lemon vinaigrette (a great choice for Cobb salads)
- Honey lime vinaigrette (fantastic combination of flavors...goes great with the Chile Lime Salmon Fajita Salad)
- Maple almond vinaigrette (simple and flavorful...inspired by one of our favorite restaurants in Kansas City)
- Russian dressing (excellent for roasted vegetables)
(We know, we know, there are 11 here...we really DID try to pick just 10!)
Honorable Mention (which means these are all insanely good homemade dressings!):
- Asian peanut dressing (even better if you give it some time for the flavors to come together)
- Avocado basil dressing (oil free)
- Avocado crema (oil free)
- Balsamic reduction (great on salads, pizzas, meats, fruits and so much more)
- Caesar Avocado Dressing
- Catalan vinaigrette (make this when tomatoes are in-season)
- Chimichurri dressing (ideal for roasted or grilled veggies and great with grilled meats too)
- Chipotle balsamic dressing
- Cilantro orange dressing
- Creamy apple walnut dressing (oil free - goes great with a Waldorf salad)
- Creamy Dijon dressing
- Creamy wasabi dressing
- Curry inspired vinaigrette (when you are craving a subtle curry flavor)
- Fresh herb dressing
- Garlic Dijon dressing
- Garlic lemon vinaigrette
- Goat cheese vinaigrette
- Greek vinaigrette (fantastic with grilled veggies)
- Honey mustard vinaigrette
- Horseradish dressing (oil free)
- Indian inspired dressing
- Italian vinaigrette (so versatile and flavorful)
- Jalapeno lime vinaigrette
- Lemon caper vinaigrette
- Maple balsamic vinaigrette
- Maple mustard vinaigrette
- Maple wasabi dressing
- Orange honey vinaigrette
- Orange sesame vinaigrette (light and refreshing)
- Poppy seed dressing
- Rosemary vinaigrette
- Secret sauce (oil free)
- Sesame soy dressing
- Simple almond butter dressing (oil free)
- Sun-dried tomato vinaigrette (great for mason jar salads)
- Sweet and spicy vinaigrette
- Tasty tahini dressing
- Thai peanut dressing (absolutely delicious...a member favorite)
- Traditional fattoush dressing
- Tzatziki (oil free)
We have to admit, it was a little painful narrowing this down to 50 (OK, technically 51!). There were some we had to take off the list that are still SO GOOD. So, remember, it you are looking for a specific type of dressing, you can always use the search bar on the website.
And, here are a few more homemade dressing tips:
- Make more than you need and save the leftovers in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
- For leftover dressings you are using from the fridge, pull them out about 10 minutes before serving. The flavors are typically best at room temperature.
- If you have a healthy fat in your salad already, such as an avocado, feel free to select an oil free dressing to have the healthiest balance.
- If you have a good quality, aged balsamic vinegar, you can drizzle this on your salad and use it as a dressing all by itself. The flavors are that good! It will typically be thicker and have a deeper, smoother flavor than "every day" balsamic vinegar. Our favorite aged balsamic vinegars are Napa Valley Naturals Grand Reserve Balsamic (25 Stars) and Fustini's 18-Year Traditional Balsamic Vinegar (Zonya's favorite!)
You will be a homemade dressing master in no time!
Even with a variety of over 200 salad dressings, we are always on the lookout for new flavor creations, so if you have a favorite, please share with us! Or, if we don't already have a good substitute for your favorite dressing, and you want to break free from the bottle, please let us know and we will come up with one -- we love a good challenge!