Everyday Italian salad dressing is a simple and versatile vinaigrette that is easy to make and will make your weeknight dinners a little more special. With the mix of vinegar and the addition of honey, this dressing is tangy, refreshing, and a little sweet too. Mix up a batch in minutes that will last you the whole week. It's perfect over green salads, vegetable salads, pasta salads, and as a marinade.Jump to Recipe
Why Make Italian Salad Dressing from Scratch
Store-bought salad dressings may contain additives and artificial flavors. If you are trying to be healthier and eat a salad every day, you might be squashing your effort with dressing from the store. Besides, making Italian salad dressing is easy, it tastes better, and you can make it exactly how you want.
Why Should I add More than One Kind of Vinegar to My Italian Salad Dressing?
Adding more than one type of acid adds better flavor. I add apple cider vinegar for its slightly sweet and tart flavor, red wine vinegar for its sharpness and tang, balsamic vinegar for its concentrated, syrupy quality, and white balsamic for its clean, crisp, and sweet taste. If that's not enough acid for you, I like to brighten the flavor some more by adding a little citrus.
A Basic Vinaigrette to Make Your Own
Most nationalities have a basic vinaigrette recipe. In our family, my gram dressed the salad to order - just olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. She didn’t whisk it in a bowl, just drizzled unmeasured amounts over the greens and mixed it with her hands.
My grandmother made the salad and my grandfather grew the lettuce. He had a garden, and the greens he grew were so flavorful. Most nights, we just had a salad with a basic vinaigrette and maybe some sliced red onion. That's it. I love salads with all the fixings, but you don't need much adornment if you have quality greens. I bought my greens from Caruso Farms East. The arugula is tender and spicy. The mustard greens taste like mustard. Everything is so fresh and lasts longer in my fridge. If you have a farm near you or a farmer's market, consider buying your produce there. It really does make a difference.
Using a mix of kinds of vinegar makes a difference too. This version of Italian salad dressing uses four kinds of vinegar and the addition of lemon juice and honey. The rule here is 3 parts oil to 1 part acid. Beyond that, you can do whatever you like. If you like more lemon juice and less red wine vinegar, you can make that adjustment just as long as you follow the 3 to 1 rule. Like it sweeter? Add more honey. Some people prefer sugar. It’s your choice.
I make this dressing at home almost every night. It’s pretty basic, but you could add some minced basil or parsley, or whatever fresh or dried herbs you prefer. A cup of vinaigrette will dress a pretty big salad, so find a container for your dressing and put a lid on it. You can make a double batch of everyday Italian salad dressing and it will last you a few weeks.
Should I keep Italian Salad Dressing in the Refrigerator?
If you plan on using Italian salad dressing each day, don't worry, you can leave it out in a well-sealed container. If you are worried that the oil might turn rancid, you can refrigerate it. Store it in a mason jar and give your vinaigrette a good shake before serving.
Italian Salad Dressing is for More Than Greens
You can serve this dressing over greens, but there is a whole host of tasty uses for this simple vinaigrette.
- Use this everyday Italian salad dressing as a marinade. Pour it over raw chicken or beef and let it marinate for a few hours. Once cooked, your chicken or beef will become so tender and delicious.
- Make a Panzanella or tomato salad. Slice up some juicy tomatoes and pour this vinaigrette over top. Tear some fresh basil and add a few thin slices of red onion.
- Make the best pasta salad ever. Simply boil up some rotini pasta and pour everyday Italian salad dressing over top. Dice up some cucumber and tomatoes and black olives and give it a good stir. Your dish will be the hit of the picnic.
Life Story: Anoint Me With This
I texted my friend, Angie, and asked her this:
“What can you tell me about Babylon and the Babylonians? Just the crib notes please.”
Angie is my dear friend from high school who has been married to a pastor for the past 20 years. She looks like a cherub; porcelain skin, smiling eyes, and golden ringlets framing her face. This seems fitting since she knows all things GOD.
“They tried to build a tower to reach Heaven after God told them not to,” she said.
“He told them to spread out and multiply throughout the earth. So, when they disobeyed, God gave them different languages and they could no longer understand each other.”
I feel this way about my daughter who speaks Teenager. I don't understand her at all.
“Then the people grouped together according to language and type and spread out into different areas,” Angie said.
I don’t know the origins of Teenager. I don’t think it’s Romantic, more like reverse Pig Latin where the consonants and endings of words are silent.
“Oh, ma ga. You neve gue wha happe in schoo todeh.”
That’s a bunch of babble right there and we live in the same house.
I had a voice teacher once who was hard to understand. I swear she was from a different country, but I couldn't place it. She spoke with impeccable diction and spoke only in her head voice, a kind of high-pitched tone that gave her an English, Mrs. Doubtfire type of vibe. Only she wasn't British, or fake British even, like Madonna. (The pop star, Not the mother of God.) My teacher was born on a farm about 20 miles from where I live, but if I didn't know better, I would swear she reigned from Neurotic Voice Coach Land.
Back to the Land of Babylonia, I thanked Angie for her biblical prowess and sprang this one on her,
“Well, did you know that the Babylonians were the first to make salad dressing?”
“You mean the New Babylonians?” she said.
“New Babylonians? What?” I said.
“Well, the New Babylonians became a people in 18th century BC. They may have a record of salad dressing from then, but definitely not the Old Testament Tower of Babble Babs,” she said.
Now, I’m confused and don’t want to spend any more time researching who was the first to dress their greens, but I think it’s a huge contribution to mankind.
Somewhere in the Bible, they deserve an honorable mention or a footnote, or something. Like on the 8th day God made vinegar and oil and presto…vinaigrette.
I think the first ruler of Babylon was named Nimrod, so maybe he wasn’t smart enough to come up with a recipe for salad dressing.
Even still, I don’t think the Babylonians should have been punished for building a tower to heaven. Maybe they just wanted to offer their vinaigrette up to God.
At any rate, long before Jesus turned water into wine, some Babylonian somewhere turned wine into vinegar.
And you can anoint me every day with a little olive oil and vinegar and salt and pepper, too.
Praise be to God. Hallelujah. Amen.
Is vinaigrette next to Godliness? Probably not, but you can bless your family every day by making everyday Italian salad dressing. They'll thank you for it. Besides, cooking for the ones we love is a language we can all understand.
Everyday Italian Salad Dressing Recipe | The Night Time Cook
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp white balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 4 tsp red wine vinegar
- 1 TBSP honey
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- In a medium bowl, whisk all ingredients together and serve the desired amount over greens, veggies, or pasta salad.