How To Make Salad Dressing

Learning how to make salad dressing from scratch is simple, yet there’s an art and a science to the process. Salads are a classic side dish or main that can be customized in a variety of ways, but a tasty dressing can instantly make your entire salad pop! When people complain that salads are ‘boring’, we’ll bet they’ve never explored the beauty and versatility of how to make salad dressing.

The Basics That Every Salad Needs

How To Make Salad Dressing

Photo: Anna Pelzer

We have a theory: in order for a salad to be delicious, you need at least six or seven toppings on your lettuce or dark leafy greens. These could include:

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How To Make Salad Dressing: Essential Components

If you’d like to make a salad dressing that’s solidly delicious, ensure you include the following components!

High-Quality Oil: 3 Parts

Healthy Cooking Fat

Use the best-quality oils that you can afford in your salad dressing recipes for maximum health benefits, texture and flavour. Some suggestions:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Hemp seed oil
  • Flax oil
  • Chia oil
  • Pumpkin seed oil
  • Sesame or toasted sesame oil

Acid: 1 Part

20 Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar

Mixing in a bit of acidity is a way to add balance to your homemade salad dressing. Try:

Fresh or Dried Herbs: About 1/4 tsp – 1 Tbsp Dried, 1 Tbsp – 1/2 cup Fresh

Fresh Herbs

The amount of fresh or dried herbs will really depend on your taste buds! Try:

  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Cilantro
  • Parsley
  • Mint
  • Dill
  • Sage

Sweetness (Optional): 1 Part

How to Make Salad Dressing

Photo: Heather Gill

Like the acid component, a natural sweetener helps to balance out the flavour of salad dressings. It’s optional if you are completely omitting sugar from your life, but just a little bit of the following sweeteners will do:

  • Honey
  • Maple Syrup
  • Coconut Sugar or Coconut Syrup

Nut or Seed Butter (Optional): 1 Part

How to Make Nut and Seed Butter

Nut or seed butters help to make your salad dressing super creamy! Our faves are:

  • Almond butter
  • Tahini
  • Sunflower seed butter
  • Hemp seed butter

If nut and seed allergies are an issue, you could try coconut cream, coconut milk or dairy-free yogurt.

Extra Flavour Power

Garlic - Heart-Heathy Foods

Amp up your salad dressing with even more flavour by adding:

Finishing Moves

Add salt and pepper to taste and you’re done!

In Summary

So, to sum up, if you want to make salad dressing, use:

  • 3 Parts Oil
  • 1 Part Acid
  • Fresh or Dried Herbs
  • 1 Part Sweetener

And then layer in extra ingredients for more texture and flavour like:

  • 1 Part Nut or Seed Butter
  • Garlic, ginger, etc.
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to Make Salad Dressing: Starter Combos

However, if you want to get started right away with some winners, these are some of our favourite easy salad dressing recipes!

Basic Vinaigrette Recipe

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Oregano
  • Sea salt

Pumpkin Power

  • Pumpkin Seed Oil
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Cilantro
  • Maple Syrup

Sweet and Spicy

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Lime
  • Cilantro
  • Honey
  • Ginger
  • Chili Flakes
  • Tamari

Creamy Tahini

  • Sesame Oil
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Lemon
  • Honey
  • Tahini
  • Tamari

Whisking up a salad dressing from scratch takes experimentation as you mix and match flavours to discover what you love. Start playing!

Salad Dressing Infographic

Header: iStock/istetiana