The Unprocessed Kitchen: Step 5 – Salad Dressing

salad dressing

When we’re trying to eat better, we usually add more salads to our diet. Sadly, many of us don’t realize that most supermarket salad dressings are loaded with soy, preservatives, GMOs, processed salts, additives and other unwanted ingredients. Plus, they can be pretty pricey! You can throw out all those pre-made bottles of dressing and make your own with a few simple ingredients. There’s no need to be intimidated. It’s really simple.

My favorite is a lemon vinaigrette. I prefer fresh lemon juice in place of vinegars because I enjoy the clean flavor. Most days, I don’t even mix the dressing separately. Instead, I put all my greens and vegetables in a large salad bowl, sprinkle with a bit of sea salt, crack some black pepper, squeeze 1/2 a lemon over-top, and pour in a couple “glugs” of olive oil. I toss it about 10 times, taste, then adjust the seasonings if needed and I’m done!

Of course, you can always make larger batches and store them in the refrigerator in a glass jar or bottle. They don’t freeze well, so unless you’re having a lot of guests, it’s better to stick with smaller quantities.

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A few months ago, I asked Deliciously Organic readers on Facebook what your favorite homemade salad dressing recipe was. Here is what you said:

I use two parts extra virgin olive oil to one part balsamic vinegar and a bit of pink sea salt and shake it in a small jar. I am addicted to this dressing:). I don’t refrigerate it, but is usually used up by the next day. – Terry

Here’s an easy and yummy one: 2 tablespoons homemade jam, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, or lemon juice. It is so good. We have used raspberry, strawberry, and peach jam. I also marinated a steak in the leftovers. YUMM – Carol

I make a homemade dressing with 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup organic mayonnaise, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (give or take I never measure), 3 cloves chopped garlic, fresh ground pepper and Himalayan pink salt. All my friends love it. – Maria

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar and 1 teaspoon Extra-Virgin olive oil or similar. Pour it on your lettuce and toss. – Leslie

1 part homemade mayonnaise (I make a batch nearly every week in the blender with regular olive oil) & 1 part whole milk yogurt or sour cream. Whisk in finely chopped chives/scallions; finely minced parsley, garlic, & onion (or grate the onion to really lose the crunchiness for picky fresh onion-haters), a couple dashes of paprika & a teen-tiny bit of hot pepper sauce or cayenne pepper powder; sea salt & freshly grated black pepper. Mix well, adjust seasonings to taste, and chill in the fridge, ideally for an hour or two, adjust seasonings again if needed after they “marry”. If you want it a bit more tart, add a squeeze of lemon or a splash of cider vinegar. – Anna

I combine good EVOO pressed with lemon, lime, tangerines, or blood orange & a good balsamic or white honey ginger balsamic vinegar, simply drizzled over the salad, perhaps a generous tablespoon of each. Grind a little sea salt & pepper over all & toss.

Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette: 2 tablespoons EVOO, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 2 teaspoons maple syrup, 2 teaspoons Dijon or stone ground mustard, salt & pepper (to taste). – Christine

1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup buttermilk, 4 ounces blue cheese crumbled, 1 to 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar. To make the blue cheese dressing, combine the mayonnaise, buttermilk, blue cheese and vinegar in a food processor and pulse until blended (the dressing does not have to be completely smooth). – Wendy

Here are some other salad recipes you might enjoy:
Spinach Salad with Butternut Squash
Chopped Waldorf Salad Recipe
Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Raisins
Kale Salad with Currants and Walnuts

Here’s a fantastic list of salad toppings created by Deliciously Organic Facebook fans.  I hope you find it helpful!

Simple Everyday Salad Dressing

Simple Everyday Salad Dressing

This is a very basic recipe. You can add more or less seasonings, herbs, etc. to make the dressing to your liking.


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice

  • 1 clove garlic (this adds a bit of zing to the salad), optional

  • 1/4 teaspoon Celtic sea salt


Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste. You can also add herbs like basil or parsley.

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  1. Judy

    I have started making salad dressings and would like to make more, but I want to be able to keep them in the fridge for more than 1 use. When i refrigerate them, the olive oil solidifies. What are your thoughts on this? Is this OK . . . is there a way to avoid this . . . do they have to be refrigerated?

    • Deliciously Organic

      There are two options. You can make larger batches and then set out the dressing about 30 minutes before using and whisk to incorporate all of the ingredients. Or, you could leave the dressing out at room temp for a few days as long as you’re using simple ingredients like vinegars, lemon juice, spices, olive oil, etc. The dressing might loose a little flavor from being at room temp, but you could always spritz it with a bit of lemon before serving to get the flavors to perk back up.

  2. Karen

    One of my favorites is one of your Deliciously Organic recipes, your Ranch Dressing that you have paired with your chicken tenders is one I whip up frequently to eat with veggies. It’s yummy!

  3. Regarding refrigeration, the way I think about it is that if the separate ingredients are stored without refrigeration, then they shouldn’t need refrigeration when mixed as a salad dressing. So plain vinegar and oil, I wouldn’t think needs refrigeration. Additions of dairy or mayo – I refrigerate that. Also, I worry about food safety of crushed garlic in oil so I do refrigerate that, and don’t store it for very long.


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