It’s easy to make your own salad dressings. And they’re tastier and often cheaper than many store-bought dressings…

French Vinaigrette BASE

This classic recipe can be the base for many creative dressings. Try using flavored oil or different types of vinegar such as balsamic vinegar or sherry wine vinegar. Or try lemon juice or lime juice instead of vinegar.

2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 rounded teaspoons Dijon mustard

Salt and freshly ground black pepper (about ½ teaspoon each)

6 Tablespoons canola oil or olive oil

Whisk the vinegar and mustard together until well-blended and creamy. Add the salt and pepper. Add half the oil, whisking briskly until well-blended. Add the remaining oil, and continue to whisk until the dressing is thick.


Roquefort Dressing: After mixing in the oil, add ½ cup crumbled Roquefort cheese. This is best done in a food processor or blender for a smoother dressing.

Creamy Onion Vinaigrette: Make the basic dressing, and add 2 tablespoons of chopped onion and 1 tablespoon of cream. Mix.

Mixed Herb Dressing: Add ¼ cup of chopped mixed herbs (such as parsley, tarragon, chervil and chives) to the ­basic dressing.

Chunky Green Dressing

This dressing is great as a base for a chunky tuna or chicken salad.

1 cup watercress leaves

1 cup spinach leaves

1 cup parsley leaves

1 cup mayonnaise (or reduced-fat mayo)

1 cup nonfat plain yogurt

Wash the greens, and place them in a bowl. Cover them with boiling water, and let stand five minutes. Drain the greens in a colander, and run cold water over them. Squeeze out the water, and chop the greens in a blender or by hand. Press out any excess moisture. Mix the ­mayonnaise and yogurt together, then add in the chopped greens.

Fresh Tomato Dressing

Juice squeezed from a tomato gives a fresh flavor to the dressing. This goes well on any mixed green salad. It’s also good in a shrimp or chicken salad or as a sauce over sliced cold meat.

4 tomatoes

1 cup mayonnaise (or reduced-fat mayo)

1 Tablespoon lime juice

1 Tablespoon warm water

Cut the tomatoes in half, and gently squeeze out the seeds and their juice by hand into a strainer placed over a bowl. Press the seeds in the strainer with the back of a spoon or spatula to extract the juice around the seeds. This should give you about four ounces of juice. Mix the mayonnaise into the strained tomato juice. Add the lime juice and water, and mix well.

LOW-FAT Thousand Island

This version of the popular dressing reduces some of the calories by using nonfat yogurt. If you like a little bite, add one tablespoon of chopped onion or grated horseradish and several drops of hot pepper sauce.

½ cup mayonnaise

½ cup nonfat plain yogurt

2 Tablespoons ketchup

2 Tablespoons sweet pickle relish

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix all of the ingredients together.

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