Homemade salad dressing

28 January 2016 / Posted in Salads Be FoodWise
Ingredients for a basic home made salad dressing

Usually oil and vinegar don't mix, but when combined for a salad dressing they defy the laws of nature, melding together in balance and flavour – if only for a little while! And one of the simplest ways to save money and be healthier in the kitchen is to prepare your own salad dressing.

The most important part to combining a dressing is to know the basic ratio: 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar or lemon juice. Although some prefer a ratio closer to 2:1, as we did in the recipe below. Blend together well, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and then add flavour as you prefer. Mustard, honey, a taste of sugar, lemon rind, herbs or spices are all different options that you could experiment with, or even try different oils and vinegars. Below is a basic recipe that we often adapt as preferred.

Remember you can make a large batch and store in the fridge. The oil used will solidify slightly and discolour as it 'sets', but once at room temperature again simply give it a quick shake before serving.

Ingredients for a basic home made salad dressing

homemade salad dressing

Makes 250 ml

150 ml olive oil
70 ml white wine vinegar or lemon juice
1 small clove of garlic, crushed 
10 ml Dijon or wholegrain or other mild mustard
5 ml sugar
5 - 10 ml fresh, chopped or 2,5 ml dried origanum (or herbs of your choice)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and blend with a whisk. Season to taste. Keep in a little jar and serve with fresh salads, steamed vegetables or vegetables cooked “the AMC way”. 

Tips & variations:

  • Use different types of vinegar or flavoured oils (such as herb-flavoured oils) to vary the flavour. Try apple cider vinegar, herb-flavoured, raspberry, balsamic or red wine vinegar.
  • Do not use spirit vinegar for a salad dressing as it is too harsh.
  • Any other herbs can be used such as dill, thyme, rosemary, basil, parsley, Italian parsley or chives or a combination of any of these herbs.
  • Substitute herbs with 30 ml poppy seeds, and 5 - 10 ml honey instead of sugar. Serve with a salad containing fruit such as pears, paw-paw, avocado or apple. 

Why not give these a try too!

  • Spicy oriental dressing: Blend 125 ml olive oil, 45 ml red wine vinegar, 15 ml lemon or lime juice, 25 ml honey, 15 ml soy sauce, 1 small red chilli, seeded and finely chopped, 15 ml finely grated fresh ginger, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Blend and use as needed. 
  • Lemon and poppy seed dressing: Combine 150 ml olive oil, 40 ml sugar, 50 ml lemon juice, or more to taste, 25 ml poppy seeds, 5 ml Dijon mustard,5 ml finely chopped onion, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. 
  • Soy sauce dressing: Blend 30 ml soy sauce, 30 ml red wine vinegar, 30 ml olive oil, 30 ml sherry or apple juice, 2 cloves of garlic, crushed and 10 - 15 ml honey. Season to taste.