A Simple Guide to Homemade Salad Dressings

A Simple Guide to Homemade Salad Dressings

A good dressing absolutely makes a salad. If you love the dressing, salad consumption is a magical thing–every single leaf becomes a pleasurable bite. If the dressing is boring, cloying, or too vinegary, eating  salads start to feel like a chore.

Like (almost) everything else in the world, it’s healthier to make salad dressings yourself. Even dressings that promise to be low-fat, low-sodium, vegan. organic, and so on are usually crowded with additives and flavorings that you don’t wanna mess with. Plus, is anyone else freaked out by pre-made creamy dressings that aren’t refrigerated? Weird.

If you have a blender, a food processor, or a Magic Bullet, you can whip up one or two different dressings at the beginning of the week, and store in the fridge for the week’s salads. You can also use a whisk or a fork for dressings that don’t have large components (like nuts) that need to be broken down. There’s almost no prep time necessary for these recipes; it’s more a matter of throwing delicious things into something that blends, and pouring the smooth, creamy result into a jar.

The Equation

3 parts oil to one part acid, + add-ins.

The Options


olive oil
grapeseed oil
sesame oil
flax seed oil
hemp seed oil
walnut, pecan, peanut, hazelnut, and other nut oils


lemon juice
lime juice
orange or grapefruit juice
balsamic vinegar
apple cider vinegar
rice wine vinegar
white wine vinegar
fancier vinegars: champagne, herb-infused, etc.

For creamy dressings

cashews, soaked in water for 20ish minutes beforehand
sour cream
buttermilk/vegan buttermilk


maple syrup


fresh herbs
red, green, or yellow pepper
mustard (any kind)
jalapeno or other spicy element
peanut butter (for Asian-inspired dressings)
soy sauce
nutritional yeast
poppy seeds
flax, chia, or hemp seeds
salt and pepper

Some Recipes (for Guidance)

Basic Italian Vinaigrette

Whisk or blend together the following ingredients:

3 parts extra virgin olive oil
1 part balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
fresh or dried oregano to taste
fresh or dried basil to taste

Creamy Vegan Caesar Dressing

This recipe from Positively Vegan utilizes cashews, garlic, nutritional yeast  to get the creamy, cheesy flavor of a classic Caesar dressing, without the anchovies.

Soy-Garlic Asian Dressing

Blend together:

3/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. rice vinegar
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp. fresh ginger
1/2 c. soy sauce
honey to taste (depending on how sweet you like it)
water (if it’s too thick)

Need some help eating your greens? Check out How to Love a Salad.

photo attribute: Dan S.

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  • Recipe Hunter

    Thanks for the detail write up, I will be trying this Salad Dressing today :)

    • http://www.877myjuicer.com Andrew

      Oh good!!! Hope you enjoy!