@judyschickens Everyday Salad Dressing

When your son calls and asks “How do you make the salad dressing again, Mom?” first, you melt, and then you get busy blogging about it for him.

IMG_3524Salad dressing is a staple you might want to consider making from scratch. It’s easy to make, and there are no preservatives or sugar in it. Once you start making your own, it will become second nature to you. I always make a double batch, so I have enough to get through the week.

Yield: One cup of dressing

1/3 cup red wine vinegar, not balsamic*
2/3 cup extra virgin, first cold pressed, olive oil
1 level teaspoon sea salt
1/2 level teaspoon McCormick’s Garlic Pepper


Mix all ingredients together and shake. Store at room temperature in a bottle with a covered spout. I usually eyeball the vinegar and oil — one-third vinegar to two-thirds oil, but I always use a measuring spoon to measure the salt and garlic pepper. I’ve been making this salad dressing for 20 years. I had no idea my kids had even noticed.

The key ingredient is McCormick’s California Style Garlic Pepper with Red Bell and Black Pepper. I prefer garlic pepper to garlic salt because I have more control over the amount of salt since I can see the pepper to garlic ratio. You can’t say that about garlic salt. I also use garlic pepper in marinades, rubs and as a prime seasoning ingredient in roasted vegetables. True confession: I travel with it on vacations where I know I will be cooking some of the meals.

*I do not make this vinaigrette with balsamic vinegar made from red wine. For some reason, it turns syrupy in the bottle. I know not why. It doesn’t happen when I use white wine balsamic.

Here’s my favorite Lily Pulitzer Salad with this salad dressing:DSC_0359

And the refreshing Grapefruit and Greens Salad:


P.S. I have searched for years for a better drip-free salad dressing bottle than my 15-year-old Tupperware jar on the left in the picture above. I finally found one I like at Crate and Barrel. I noticed Target sells it, as well. It’s made by OXO and holds one and a half cups of dressing.


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© 2014-2017 Judy Wright. All rights reserved. Photos and text may only be used with written consent.


34 thoughts on “@judyschickens Everyday Salad Dressing

    1. No, this is mine, although I learned about garlic pepper from Mom. Mom didn’t make her dressing ahead of time. She put the salt, garlic pepper and olive oil on the lettuce, tossed it, and just before bringing it to the table, added the vinegar. She often used the white balsamic, which is yummy.

  1. Thanks for writing about this. I guessed Evoo but I can see why garlic pepper is the staple. I use it on almost everything.

  2. Oh, and it’s so so so yummy over green snap beans! Judy, I still have this recipe that you gave me. I love it on salad, too!

  3. Great tip about the garlic pepper! I did not know such a thing exists. So much to learn! Do you make your own mayonnaise? That’s probably a silly question…you have hens, you have eggs, you make lots of food…you can probably make mayo with your eyes closed 😉

      1. Also, I use garlic pepper all the time. I use it with olive oil to roast vegetables and as a marinade on chicken, meat and fish. Hope you enjoy. Judy PS blog about making mayo!

  4. Thanks for sharing your simple salad dressing recipe, Judy. It sounds delish & easy but I would never have figured out the garlic pepper ingredient!

    1. You are welcome, Susie. I add lemon slices to the dressing and use it as a marinade for chicken in a ziploc bag, too. Garlic pepper- i learned about it from my mother years ago.

      1. Judy,

        It’s Mary Strong from Chicago, part of the Eastern Surgical Society group. I cannot tell you how much I enjoy your blog. All of the recipes I have tried have been fantastic! Almost always, people ask for the recipes. I, of course, refer them to the blog.

        I also love how specific you are in your directions. I know this blog was in part started to help your kids learn to cook and to pass on family recipes, but I have benefited as well! I have passed the site on to my girls to learn from you too. In other words, your impact is not only appreciated but spreading!

        The various anecdotals you share are so informative. I especially liked the one you just posted about cranberries. So fun to learn and I admire your desire and ability to share the information. You are a teacher at heart.

        In addition to finally telling you all of that, I am writing today to say that I CANNOT find the McCormick’s Garlic Pepper that you describe. I have looked at 5 different grocery stores here in Chicago. I can find it on Amazon but have to buy a 12 oz (or maybe it was 20oz!) container, which is way more than this cook needs or wants in her cupboard. I am headed to Michigan this weekend and am going to look there. Any pointers if I come up short?

        Keep going on this fantastic blog, Judy. It is a good thing.

        Most sincerely,

      2. Mary, this may be the most affirming letter I have ever received. Thank you. I read it out loud to Kelly. He was beaming. If my mother were alive I would have sent it to her. Thank you!
        They sell McCormick’s Garlic Pepper (green and white container) in Publix, Kroger, and Stop and Shop, if you have any of those stores around you. I buy that large container because we use it to marinate meat and seafood, to roast veggies, and in salad dressing and marinades. It makes life so easy to have one go-to seasoning that enhances so many foods. But, don’t be tempted to buy other brands, they are too salty! At Kroger, it is on the bottom shelf, btw. Happy Thanksgiving and please know how grateful I am to you for this lovely letter. xoJudy

  5. Just got back to Chicago and immediately ordered my Garlic Pepper from Amazon! Love your blog…can’t wait to cook my way through all your beautiful family recipes. xoxoxo Joan

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