Dressing? Do it Yourself

Dressing? Do it Yourself

I have such sweet memories of my grandmother and my mom making salad dressing starting by smashing garlic and kosher salt together with a wooden spoon against the side of a wooden salad bowl. The first time I tasted store-bought salad dressing, it tasted really sweet and kind of weird. There’s nothing wrong with having bottled salad dressing in your office fridge or as a backup in a pinch but for the most part, there’s no reason to buy salad dressing and here’s why:

  • Making it probably adds less than 5 minutes to your cooking time (and making batches cuts that down more).
  • Anything you buy in the store is not going to taste as good as something you make from scratch.
  • Store-bought dressing is usually filled with sugar or preservatives to maximize its shelf life.
  • Making your own is such a fun and easy way to experiment with flavors


For my method, I generally start out with a basic ratio of 3 parts oil (olive, avocado, sesame, toasted sesame, mayo, etc.), 1 part acid (generally vinegar – balsamic, rice, apple cider, sherry – or citrus – lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice) and .25 to 1 part salt (tamari, soy sauce, anchovies, seasoned or kosher salt, olive or caper brine, etc.), then add other things to taste (seasonings, garlic, ginger, mustard, seeds, sugar, honey, etc.).

Then when I’m done, I taste and adjust. Too pungent? Add oil. Too salty? Add acid, oil and/or something sweet. Not tasty enough? Add salt and/or seasoning. Not tangy enough? Add acid. You get the picture.

Remember to add ingredients slowly. I’ve only had a couple "abandon ship" moments with salad dressing, and those were mostly when I was trying some pretty non-traditional flavor combos. Below are some of my favorite flavor combos. Start with the basic recipe and adjust to your taste.

What are your favorite homemade dressings? Do you have any non-traditional combinations? We’d love to try them out!

Sesame Miso w/Za’atar

  • 3 parts sesame oil
  • 1.5 parts miso
  • 1 part Za’atar spice
  • 1 – 1.5 parts lemon juice
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • Sugar, ginger to taste

Tahini Dressing

  • 2 parts tahini
  • 1 part water
  • 1 part tamari
  • 1 part lemon juice
  • 1 part toasted sesame oil
  • 1 part sesame seeds
  • 1 small clove of garlic

Orange Mustard Dressing

  • 3 parts avocado or olive oil
  • 2 parts orange juice
  • 1 part tamari
  • 1 part mustard
  • 1 clove garlic
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