Your favourite salad dressings?

Salads grow fab in containers… so many varieties… but what are your favourite dressings? Or are there any unusual ones you’ve tried and enjoyed? What’s the secret to a good dressing?

As we eat salad nearly every day, I’ve experimented with quite a few over the years. I’ll share some of my favourites in the coming days…

Before I do, I’d love to hear about yours…

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My favourite at the moment is:

Virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon oil, tamari, mirin … or a similar mix. Gorgeous on everything, but particularly good on sliced tomatoes, especially ones that you might otherwise find slightly insipid - it turns them into wonder tomatoes!

If I want to thicken it a bit to make it stick to the the ingredients, I add a little ground linseed.


I like to keep things simple but do always use Fairtrade virgin olive oil. My favourite is Zaytuum from Palestine them i might add a little lemon zest and juice but any citrus fruit is good.


I made one the other day with blueberries. I think it was essentially frozen blueberries, olive oil, a bit of white wine vinegar and a pinch of salt. There may have been a drop of maple syrup as well (probably a substitute for honey which my husband doesn’t eat). It was lovely and refreshing on fresh spinach.


I’d love for someone to give a recipe not containing oil! I find that oil, particularly olive oil, makes me gyp (ie heave as if to be sick). I dislike the taste of olive oil and olives, and there is no way you’d get me dipping bread in the stuff and eating it. I can manage a tiny amount in a dressing, but if I eat out I ask for them not to dress my salad or to give me some greens and a tomato!

I saw one somewhere recently - it contained mirin and rice vinegar, I think. I will try and remember where I saw it - and post here if I can find.

Occasionally we just have a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper on herby salads - but I admit I do add oil most of the time. And sometimes we also eat freshly picked leaves with no dressing at all - home grown can have so much flavour, they need dressings less than shop bought, I think.

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As we eat salad nearly every day, I like to make a variety of dressings…

That said, we eat at least half of our salad with a simple lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper dressing. With fresh, home picked salad, it’s hard to beat it.

One of the slightly more unusual additions I sometimes use is the spice sumac. It adds a nice lemony flavour to a variety of dressings. A nice version is sherry vinegar, olive oil, chilli flakes (to taste), sumac and crushed garlic. If you are adding a little onion to the salad, you can marinate the onion in the dressing before adding the rest of the ingredients.

It can also work well to make herb paste in the pestle and mortar (add a little salt to help break the herbs down) and mix this with your dressing. Lemon thyme, for example is delicious addition to a lemon and olive oil dressing. Or you can use a mix of herbs like parsley, mint and coriander. It’s fun to experiment.

The other thing I like to do is collect a variety of oils and vinegars. Raw cider vinegar is becoming more common in the shops - it’s healthy and goes very well with a little mustard, honey, galic and olive or rapeseed oil. I also save up my Sainsbury’s points and exchange them for a high quality bottle of balsamic vinegar about once every two years. We only have it very occasionally but it’s a nice occasional treat.

How about this. Mix according to taste - honey, mustard, miso, soy sauce, vinegar, pepper and a squeeze of lemon.

I usually add a few drops of toasted sesame oil. It’s for the aroma and taste. But you can skip it if you don’t like the taste.

Other optional ingredients - toasted sesame seeds, wasabi in place of mustard, chopped spring onions or coriander.

The vinegar can be rice or apple cider. I’ve used balsamic at a pinch.

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Here’s a VERY late reply for you…there are a whole lot of oil-free dressing here:

Not that I’ve tried any of them.

I’ve heard of using bean water (aquafaba) as the gel-like part of a dressing - that’s what I was looking for when I found the links above - but I haven’t tried it. I think you’d have to put garlic or something else strong in to mask the beany flavour.