Tag Archives: salad dressing

My most-used, must-have dressing and dip recipes

most-used, must-have dressing and dip recipes

In this new mini-cookbook, I’ve collected all the dressing recipes I use again and again. They’re the most basic, most versatile dressings: many of them can also serve as dips for veggies, and as a spread for sandwiches, burgers, and other entrees.

Some of the recipes in this book are scattered throughout this blog, but with this downloadable, printable pdf, you won’t have to hunt all over to find them. Also, a few of these recipes have never appeared on this blog.

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book cover; dressings, dips, and spreads

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The pdf book includes:

  • 4-ingredient mayo
  • Honey-mustard dressing
  • Easy aioli (garlic mayo)
  • Dairy-free Ranch
  • Avocado Ranch
  • Creamy Italian
  • Tex-Mex
  • Sugar-free strawberry poppy seed
  • Blue cheese (tastes like my favorite restaurant version!)
  • Easy Caesar
  • The last vinaigrette recipe you’ll ever need

You’ll also find tips for using these recipes beyond salad, as well as a complete shopping list for every recipe.

View it on your device (handy at the grocery store), or print it out to keep in your kitchen.

Buy it here.

Or get it for free when you subscribe to my monthly newsletter. (Also free.)

Citrus avocado salad with orange vinaigrette

citrus avocado salad with orange vinaigrette

This salad is beautiful, and scrumptious, but it’s also super easy to throw together. You can use whatever sweet citrus you have available. I used Cara Cara oranges this time, but you could use regular oranges, blood oranges, or any kind of orange cousin: tangerine, clementine, mandarin, satsuma.

The hardest parts are slicing the avocado and citrus, but that’s not really difficult, once you see a demonstration…

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Greek salad with tzatziki dressing

gyro-inspired salad

This sort-of-Greek salad was inspired by a gyro wrap: it has all the contents of a gyro, minus the pita wrap, with a modified tzatziki dressing. Gyro is a Greek dish featuring meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie, and usually served wrapped in pita bread, with cucumber, tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce. Tzatziki is traditionally made using yogurt, cucumber, garlic, and dill, mint, or parsley. Sometimes they’re also served with french fries stuffed inside.

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Dairy-free Ranch Dressing (Dump Ranch)

Dairy-free Ranch dressing - dump ranch

If you’re not avoiding dairy, my Buttermilk Ranch Dressing recipe is a delicious option. If, however, you have a milk allergy, living the Paleo diet, or doing a Whole30, this Dairy-free Ranch Dressing is a fantastic alternative. And in fact, I think I might just like it better than the traditional recipe!

This was inspired by and is a slight variation on what the blogging duo Whole Sisters call “Dump Ranch.” As in, you just dump it all in a blender and mix!

Made with the lesser amount of coconut milk, it makes an addictive veggie dip…

veggie tray with dairy-free ranch dressing

 

I’ve added it to one of my variations on tuna salad

tuna salad with ranch dressing

 

It’s also great drizzled over fresh summer tomatoes, sprinkled with bacon!

paleo-dinner-bacon-pork-chop-asparagus-tomatoes-600x430

 

And schmeared on a burger!

burger with ranch dressing

 

I don’t have a pic but it’s aMAZing drizzled over hot broccoli! It melts quickly, blending the flavors into every tiny crevice. Yum!

I’m sure it’ll be great on salad, too; just haven’t got to that yet!

Here’s my spin on it…

Dairy-free Ranch Dressing or Dip

(aka, “Dump Ranch”)

• 1 & 1/4 c. mayonnaise

— (OR 1 c. light olive oil, 1 egg, 1 T. lemon juice and 1/4 t. salt)

• 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (or other light-colored vinegar)

• 1 teaspoon black pepper

• 1 teaspoon granulated onion or onion powder

• 3/4 teaspoon salt

• 3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder

• 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk, or other milk of your choice (1/4 c. for dip)

• 1 handful fresh or frozen parsley, coarsely chopped

• from 1 pinch up to 1/8 t.  dill, fresh or dried (adjust according to your love for dill)

• optional: snipped fresh chives and or fresh basil to taste

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Note: Do NOT use less vinegar. I tried that once, and the mixture did not emulsify.

If you have a stick blender / immersion blender, just blend everything together in the carafe till well mixed. (Chop the basil coarsely before adding. I use one large leaf.)

I use this stick blender and the carafe that came with it, and this works great. I don’t bother to bring the egg to room temperature.

If you don’t have a blender, use already-made mayo, mince the herbs fine, then just whisk everything till well blended.

Refrigerate for one hour at least, if possible. Four is better. Taste, and adjust seasonings if needed.

Makes about 16 oz of dressing, or 14 oz of dip. Lasts in fridge up to one week. (But it’ll probably be long gone before then!)

(Stick blender link goes to my Amazon store; I get 4% – which doesn’t affect your price at all. I only list products that I actually use and love.)

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Dairy-free Ranch dressing - dump ranch

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Super-simple creamy Italian dressing

creamy Italian dressing - sugar-free option

Creamy Italian dressing is one of my husband’s favorite salad dressings. It’s getting harder to find in the grocery store, and the ones that we had tried tasted so fake and sugary — the side effect of making pretty much all your salad dressings from scratch.

Then I found this one! The original recipe is on AllRecipes, but I’ve tweaked it to make it my own; I reduced the sugar and made a few other minor tweaks. Make it without the sugar, and use homemade mayo, and you’ve got a Paleo, Whole30-compliant Italian dressing!

Tried it; loved it; it’s a keeper!

I made it as a spread/dip for homemade submarine sandwiches a couple nights ago. My husband still misses a sub that Pizza Hut used to have on the menu, which had a similar spread on it, and this recipe is a good fit. Then the next day for lunch, I had a sub-sandwich-inspired salad (shown in the photo above). Romaine lettuce with diced ham, pepperoni, and salami; mozzarella cheese, and diced tomatoes. And pickled onions — which are also a great sandwich topper.

It’s really quick and easy to make. Tastes best if you make it a few hours or a day ahead, but I’ve made some notes in the recipe about how to adapt it if you need to serve it right away.

Yay! No more store-bought creamy Italian dressing!

Creamy Italian Dressing (low or no sugar)

1 clove garlic, minced
1 T. olive oil
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 T. red wine vinegar
1 T. water
1 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. granulated onion
1/4 t. white sugar*
1/4 t. Worcestershire sauce (optional)

Place the minced garlic and olive oil in a small dish and microwave for 30 seconds.

Combine this and all the other ingredients in a 12 – 16 oz. jar and shake well.

Refrigerate for a few hours; better overnight.

*If you will be storing it 24 hours before use, you might skip the sugar. If you are living sugar-free, you can leave it out or replace it with your favorite sweetener. If you will be serving it right away, you might want to reduce the vinegar slightly and increase the sugar to taste.

 

Seven simple salad dressing recipes

salad-dressing-montage-500x720
One of the easiest and most delicious things you can do to put healthier food into your body is to learn some recipes for homemade salad dressings. Once you start, you’ll probably never buy the bottled stuff again! Homemade dressings just taste so much fresher.
Plus, they’re so much healthier! Most “Lite” salad dressings you buy in the store are low fat, but that just means a higher percentage of the product is carbs, and almost always sugary ones. When you make your own, you can be sure there’s no corn syrup or {insert evil sweetener of your choice here} in it! I usually use Splenda, but use whatever you want.
Update: I rarely use Splenda any more; usually stevia. I’ve found that one small scoop of stevia extract powder equals one packet of Splenda, but every brand is different, so you might need to experiment.

Here are seven of my favorite homemade salad dressing recipes I’ve posted here in the past. For a healthy body, and happy taste buds!

Buttermilk Ranch (made with Greek yogurt)

simple salad dressing recipes - ranch
 

Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette

easy balsamic vinaigrette recipe

Tex-Mex Dressing (just three ingredients!)

simple salad dressing recipes - Tex-Mex

Ginger-peanut Salad Dressing 

simple salad dressing recipes - ginger sesame

 Almost-Panera’s Asian Chicken Salad Dressing

simple salad dressing recipes - Asian salad dressing

Lemon (or Citrus) Poppyseed Dressing

easy citrus poppyseed dressing recipe

 Caesar Salad Dressing

Easy Caesar salad dressing recipe

 

Update: bonus recipe…

Creamy Italian Dressing

antipasto salad

Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing recipe (no coddling needed!)

caesar-salad-gh-400x4001
Genuine Caesar dressing involves codding an egg; that is, cooking it till the white is just cooked and the yolk is slightly thickened but still runny. While delicious, that’s a little fussy for my taste. Also, there is the risk of salmonella.
I discovered this Caesar Salad Dressing recipe in a Good Housekeeping mag a few years ago. (And just now tracked it down online, here.) It uses mayo (light or egg-free, if you want; better yet, homemade), in place of the usual eggs. It’s a great base, but I love a garlicky ‘Caesar, so I’ve added some fresh garlic and tweaked a few other ingredients.
Here it is: super easy to throw together, but it ranks up there with good restaurant salads. It also makes a nice dip for veggies.

Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing Recipe

1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1 T (or more?) olive oil
1/2 to 1 tsp. anchovy paste
1 garlic clove, crushed (1 large or 2 medium)
optional – 1/4 to 1/2 t. Dijon mustard
optional – fresh ground pepper to taste

First a tip: I grate the Parmesan first. To avoid a mess on the counter or an extra dirty dish, I place the 1/4 measuring cup in the bottom of my mixing bowl and grate right into that. Sure, some extra will spill into the mixing bowl, but this is a case where exact proportions of ingredients aren’t crucial. And a little extra Parm? Never a bad thing!

Then, after dumping and removing the measuring cup, I scoot the grated cheese aside and place all the other ingredients in the void. Whisk those ingredients together, then stir in the cheese. chill for an hour.

Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. If it’s too bland, add more garlic or parmesan. If it’s too sharp, add more olive oil.

Here is the nutrition data from Good Housekeeping; it includes romaine and croutons:
4 g. protein
13 g. carbs (w/ croutons; it would be far less without, for those doing low carb)
8 g. fat

photo credit: Tara Donne, via GH