LOOKING for: salad dressing

kss1956January 4, 2008

I would like to make a simple salad dressing with ingredients I have at hand. Can I use canola oil? I usually don't have olive oil in the house. When I do buy olive oil, what is the best way to store it? I don't use it often and usually end up throwing it away. Thanks!

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Gosh kss, good question. So many people never think to ask.

If you want to make a vinaigrette type dressing, what you need is some kind of oil, and some kind of tangy liquid. You can use any oil you want. Do you have oil and orange juice? You have dressing. Vinegar? V-8 juice?

Mix oil and your liquid in half to half ratio...then you adjust according to taste, more oil, more liquid. I tend to like 1/3 oil and 2/3 liquid, but you have to play a bit.

Then, put in any other ingredient you think of. Is it too sour? Add some sugar or honey. Too bland? Add spices.

Here's a basic:
Vinegar, olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, basil, oregano, black pepper, salt, sugar, & a squeeze of good mustard. Whisk it up to blend it all together. The more oil, the easier it is to emulsify (suspend all the ingredients in a thick mix rather than have the oil separate from the vinegar).

Be playful. Salad dressing shouldn't be boring, nor intimidating.

How about substituting jam for the sugar? Or marmalade? How about fruit juice?

Don't worry about following a recipe. You know what you like. Mix it up and taste it, and if you don't like it, ask what would make it better...sweeter? saltier? more sour? spicier? And then check out your cabinets for the solution!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 11:44PM
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A good medium quality and price olive oil is Bertollis. I use it a lot...I make all my own salad dressings. As Rachaelellen says...oil and something sour. But I do 1/3 vinegar and 2/3 oil.
Store your olive oil in a cook dark place...if kept cool and dark it will keep about a year.
But you can use canola...but olive oil tastes better.
Try this...
1 1/2 T dijon mustard
1 1/2 T honey
1 clove of garlic crushed
1/2 tsp dry oregano
1/3 cup cider vinegar or rice vinegar...never white distilled vinegar...too harsh.
And 2/3 cup oil
And 1 T grated parmesan cheese....
Whisk well or shake and serve over a tossed salad..
Linda C

    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 12:12AM
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You can use canola but olive oil does have a nicer taste. Just buy a small bottle and store it as Linda says.

I like a simple dressing of 2 parts oil to 1 part vinegar.

Any vinegar will do except a plain white vinegar. Sherry , raspberry, red wine and white wine vinegars all give a great and different taste to your dressings.

Always add a tsp or so of dijon mustard to the dressing, this helps the dressing stay together and not separate.

Most people add a sweet element like sugar or honey, I don't but that's just me.

To this basic mix I add, any herbs or spices that interest me. Or serve as is. Parmesan cheese is another nice addition.

If you want a creamy dressing sub mayo for the oil or do 1/2 mayo, 1/2 oil.

You can sub lemon juice for the vinegar too.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 8:38AM
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I prefer fresh lemon juice. In my climate I keep olive oil in the refrigerator if I buy a bigger bottle than I'll use in a reasonable length of time.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 5:17PM
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Thank you for your suggestions. I keep my house cool in the winter so that is not a problem, but in the summer, I don't have a cool dark place-I don't have central air conditioning or window units (I live in Boston). I didn't know if you could keep olive oil in the refrigerator. I would appreciate any information regarding keeping olive oil in the refrigerator (e.g., before using it, bring it room temperature, etc.) I asked for a recipe because I am not an all around experienced cook. My late husband did most of the cooking. I appreciate your suggestions.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 9:05PM
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Yes, you can keep olive oil in the fridge, but you will have to bring it to room temp as it coagulates in the cold. Leftover vinaigrette stored in the fridge will do the same thing. I generally forget to take it out long enough before a meal and have to warm it slightly in a bowl of warm water like you do when you want your maple syrup warm.

No air conditioning in Boston? Egad! My husband and I don't use our air conditioner much, even though summers are quite hot here, as we don't like the way they dry out the air (we use many fans). But, our heat is mostly a dry heat, not humid. As they say, it ain't the heat, it's the hum-didity.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 11:57AM
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You can use either extra virgin olive oil or the light olive oils (like Bertolli's) in salad dressings. Here are a few vinaigrette recipes and a couple of different dressings. Ann

Greek Salad dressing

3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 tsp marjoram leaves or oregano
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
fine sea salt or Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper (several grinds)

Whisk together the vinegar and sugar; add marjoram (or oregano) and blend. While whisking, slowly add the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

This is great over a bowl of tomato chunks, red onion slices, cucumber chunks (seeded & peeled), green bell and red bell pepper chunks, some pitted Kalamata olives, some feta cheese and (optional) a sprinkling of chopped flat leaf parsley. Before adding the dressing, sprinkle some fresh lemon juice over the salad.


3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

Whisk the mustard into the vinegar and blend. Pour oil into mixture while whisking. Season with salt and pepper.

a Light Citrus Vinaigrette

1/4 cup orange juice (I like to use fresh o.j.)
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil

Blend both vinegars with orange juice. Add olive oil while whisking.

Low Fat Thousand Island Dressing

1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced red bell pepper
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
a pinch of cayenne
1/4 cup water

In a blender or food processor blend all ingredients and salt to taste until smooth, adding up to 2 tablespoons additional water if necessary to thin to desired consistency. Dressing keeps, covered and chilled, 1 week. Serve dressing with crisp lettuce, sliced tomatoes, or seafood salad. Makes about 1 cup.

Each tablespoon about 12 calories and 0.3 grams fat (22% of calories from fat) Gourmet May 1996

My note: I also use regular mayo & have made it w/o the red bell pepper. I cut back on the relish a little as I don't want it too sweet. It's my favorite.

Creamy Orange Dressing

1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
¼ cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

In a small bowl combine yogurt and juice concentrate. Mix well. Chill Several hours.

each serving: 30 calories; trace fat (2% of calories); 6 g carb; 22 mg sodium; 1 mg cholesterol

from Lean & Luscious Favorites
my note: good on thinly sliced Chinese cabbage with some fruit and salted cashews

    Bookmark   January 8, 2008 at 11:24PM
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Olive oil comes in small bottles. Buy a small one and use it up frequently. I live in the NE with no air conditioning most of the time, and my olive oil does OK. I love it for its taste and healthy properties though, so I run through mine fairly quickly. I saute veggies in it too.

Just don't put it somewhere where it will bake in the sun or over the stove or something like that. Heat and air and light are the enemies of oil.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 3:06PM
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Here are a couple you might like. I am including the salad recipe on the first one because it's so darn good! But you can use the dressing on other salads as well.

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing
Source: St. Paul Hotel


1 c sugar
1/4 c poppyseeds
1/2 c Sesame seeds
1 c salad oil
1/2 c raspberry vinegar
dash paprika
1 T worcestershire sauce
1 T minced onion

Combine sugar and vinegar and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add remaining
ingredients and chill well. Serve over baby spinach leaves and sliced
strawberries. Garnish with brie cheese wedges.
(you may want to half this recipe, as it makes a lot of dressing...)

This one is from someone on the cooking forum, I am not sure who, I've had it for a few years, it's delish! Maybe someone here will claim it. 

Balsamic Vinaigrette 

1/2 c balsamic vinegar   
3 T Dijon mustard   
3 T honey   
2 garlic cloves, minced   
2 small shallots, minced   
1/4 tsp pepper   
1/4 tsp salt   
1 c olive oil 

Whisk together first seven ingredients until blended. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Yield 1\-2/3 cups   
Here is a really good one posted a while back by Beverlyal: 

Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing 

2 Tablespoons finely chopped shallots   
2 Tablespoons vinegar   
1\-1/4 cup mayonnaise   
1/4 teaspoon salt   
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder   
1/4 cup sour cream   
1 Tablespoon lemon juice   
1/4 cup cream   
3/4 teaspoon worcestershire   
1\-1/2 teaspoon finely ground pepper   
2\- 1/2 teaspoons cracked peppercorns   
1/4 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese 

Mix and refrigerate.   
Beverly AL   

Camille's French Dressing 

1/3 c sugar   
1/3 c catsup   
1/4 c vinegar   
1/2 c oil   
1 onion, quartered   
1 tsp salt   
1/8 tsp garlic powder   
1 tsp paprika   
1 tsp celery seed 

Mix all together, serve on crisp greens. 
    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 10:19PM
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What a good thread! I get in a rut with my dressings and it's nice to see some new ones (for me) and be reminded of some that I haven't made for awhile (Linda - the Balsamic Vinaigrette was posted by Glenda_al).

Here's one that we like:

Lemon Herb Dressing
Source: Adapted from Fine Cooking

1/4 - 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp dried thyme (1 T fresh, chopped)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup light olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Combine dressing ingredients, whisk until well blended


    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 1:51PM
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You can't get any more simple than 4 ingredients in a salad dressing. I have a recipe for Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce that easily converts in salad dressing with one ingredient. I always have the 3 ingredients on hand, so I make it all the time! You can reduce the recipe easily. I just make enough for myself to dip chicken tenders in or pour over a salad.


Here is a link that might be useful: Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce and Salad Dressing Recipe

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 3:56PM
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I'm not in this forum very often, although I really like it (I lurk a lot). But one of my favorite doctors, Dr. Andrew Weil (Eight Weeks to Optimum Health) says that all oils should be refrigerated, and then brought to room temp before using. I don't do it because I'm just not that well organized, but I thought I'd mention it here.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 9:03PM
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