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Central California Life Magazine

5 Dressings to Dress Up Your Salad

Apr 16, 2017 08:04AM ● By Melanie Heisinger
Summer is right around the corner, and that means the bathing suit season is almost upon us. That also might mean more salads, which can easily get old fast. 

Here are a few easy salad dressings you can make at home to keep things interesting. But be careful with how much you use, not all are as low-calorie as they seem! 

Adapted from The Kithn's article

Quick Ranch Dressing


Makes 3 to 4 tablespoons, enough to dress 1 salad

2 tablespoons well-shaken cultured buttermilk
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar, optional
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, optional 
1 to 3 teaspoons finely chopped fresh chives, mint, and/or Italian parsley, optional

Whisk together the buttermilk and mayonnaise. Taste and season with salt and pepper. 
If desired, whisk in rice vinegar, garlic powder, and herbs. Refrigerate until serving and up to 3 days. 

Full recipe here

Italian Salad Dressing

Makes 1 1/2 cups (using 2-4 tablespoons per salad)

1 cup neutral salad oil, such as canola (See Recipe Note)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 large garlic clove, pressed
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake vigorously until the mixture is thickened and well-combined. Alternatively, combine the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until combined.
Taste the dressing using a lettuce leaf and adjust seasonings. The dressing will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Full recipe here

Eggless Caesar Dressing

Makes 1 cup

5 anchovy filets
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons sherry or red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
With a mortar and pestle, bash the anchovies, garlic and pepper.  Whisk in the lemon juice, vinegar and mustard. Slowly whisk in the oil until emulsified. Stir in the parmesan and taste for seasoning. 
Alternatively, combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until emulsified. 
Refrigerate in a sealed container for up to one week. Toss liberally with romaine lettuce, croutons and additional Parmesan for an authentic eggless Caesar salad. 

Full recipe here

Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

4 ounces (about 1 heaping cup) blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, use a fork to mash together the cheese and sour cream until it forms a chunky paste about the consistency of cottage cheese. Stir in the buttermilk, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Full recipe here

Balsamic Vinaigrette


Makes about 1 cup

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Fresh-ground pepper

Optional extras: spoonful of mustard, minced shallots, minced garlic, minced fresh herbs, teaspoon dried herbs, spoonful of honey or brown sugar

Combine the olive oil and balsamic in a jam jar or other container with a good-sealing lid. Add a big pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Screw on the lid and shake vigorously. Dip a piece of lettuce into the vinaigrette and taste. Adjust the salt, pepper, or the proportion of oil and vinegar to taste.

This vinaigrette will keep on the counter for several weeks (refrigerate if you added any fresh ingredients). The oil and vinegar will separate a few minutes after shaking — shake to recombine before dressing your salad.

Full recipe here

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