@judyschickens Everyday Salad Dressing

When your son calls and asks, “How do you make salad dressing, Mom?” first, you melt, and then you get busy blogging. After all, wasn’t that the reason you started blogging, so your kids could have easy access to THE recipes with a few good Big Fat Italian stories thrown in for good measure?


Salad dressing is a staple you might want to consider making from scratch. It’s easy to make and nice to have readily available, there are no preservatives or sugar in it, it doubles as a last-minute chicken, pork tenderloin, or steak marinade, and as long as you keep olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic pepper, and salt in the cupboard you’ll never run out. Once you start making your own, it will become second nature to keep the vinaigrette bottle full.

Yield:  One cup (easily doubled or quadrupled)

⅓ cup red wine vinegar (not red wine balsamic*)
⅔ cup extra virgin, first cold pressed, olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon McCormick California Style Garlic Pepper


*I do not make this make-ahead vinaigrette with balsamic red wine vinegar. For some reason, the mixture turns syrupy when I do. I know not why. It doesn’t happen when I use white wine balsamic vinegar.

Mix all ingredients together and shake. Store at room temperature. When measuring,  I eyeball the vinegar and oil — one-third vinegar to two-thirds oil — and use a measuring spoon for the salt and garlic pepper. I’ve been making this salad dressing for 20 years. I had no idea my kids had 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 for roasted vegetables. It’s how I push the easy button when making dinner day in and day out. True confession: I travel with it on vacations when I know I will be cooking.

Here’s my favorite winter salad, Grapefruit and Greens Salad:


And, my favorite spring salad, the Lily Pulitzer Salad.

And, my favorite potluck summer salad, affectionally known as Meera’s Trader Joe Salad

During the summer, I use the marinade to make Lemony Grilled Chicken Breasts every time we have a crowd to feed for dinner.


A few other salads dressed with this vinaigrette:

Roasted Beet Salad with Vinaigrette

Blanched String Beans with Vinaigrette

Marlin’s Black-Eyed Pea 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 first photo). I finally found one I like. It’s made by OXO.


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© 2014-2019 Judy Wright. All rights reserved. Photos and text may only be used with written consent.