Cool, fresh and colorful is the way we want to eat when the temperature begins to soar! And there is an abundance of garden and farm stand veggies to make spectacular salads... just what we crave in the summer!

Why make a salad with all of that just-picked flavor and put a bottled salad dressing on it? Enhance your salad's in-season taste with a dressing as fresh as your salad!

Here are some of my favorite salad dressing recipes and  handy formulas for making your own...

dressing clockwise from 6:00... lemon vinaigrette, parmesan peppercorn, bleu cheese, balsamic vinaigrette, italian herb dressing

Salad dressings aren't ROCKET SCIENCE so you don't have to be exceptionally precise when measuring. Close is good enough! Don't you love a recipe like that?

Let's start with a vinaigrette. Most vinaigrettes follow an easy formula...

 3 parts oil + 1 part vinegar + emulsifier + add-ins + enhancer 

 This is the how I first learned to make homemade vinaigrette. A vinaigrette is  USUALLY made using at least 2 or 3 categories of the formula and some use all of them! 

This chart ( and the creamy dressing chart) are not an exhaustive list of ingredients by any means, but they are ones that will let you make a wide variety of delicious dressings! As you get more comfortable with making your own salad dressings you can move on to other ingredients.

Here are a few of my favorites vinaigrettes...

Lemon Vinaigrette
 So easy to make with an outstanding lemon flavor! It only uses 4 ingredients!
1/4 cup good olive oil
juice of 1 juicy lemon
1/4 tsp dijon mustard
good dash of kosher salt

Put all ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake.

My favorite way to eat this is drizzled over arugula or boston bibb with shaved Parmesan and toasted pine nuts.

Italian Herb Vinaigrette
This is a beautiful soft, gently seasoned Italian viniagrette. Don't expect that in-you-face bottled Italian taste. This dressing will caresses your salad... not stomps on it!
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup good red wine vinegar
2 TBS fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup canola oil
1/3 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
2 TBS fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
1/4 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
salt and pepper
Whisk all ingredients together.
Printable Recipe

Balsamic Vinaigrette
I use this on steaks, roasts and even chicken as my go-to marinade! It is scrumptious on roasted vegetables... my hands down favorite! You can't beat it!

2/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, pressed or chopped finely
2 tsp mustard
juice of 1 lemon (or two)
1 TBS Worchestershire sauce
pinch of salt and pepper
 1/2 cup fresh basil, chiffonades

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.

The printable recipe is for my favorite grilled summer vegetables. The balsamic vinaigrette/marinade is at the bottom of the recipe. 

Now, on to Creamy Dressing...
Who doesn't LOVE creamy dressing on a crisp salad. Cool and satifying!!!  I think we love creamy dressings because of their great bold flavors and FAT!

Here is an easy formula to remember when making Creamy Salad Dressings...

Mayo + Tangy + Add Ins + Liquid

It is important to remember that a creamy dressing tastes best when given time for the flavors to marry. I make my dressings up the day before I am going to need them...better yet, try to have a great dressing in the frig at all times!

Here is a chart to help you make a great tangy creamy dressing...

One thing to remember... use full fat mayo and sour cream for the best flavor. I would rather have a little of fabulous than a lot of just okay.

Here are a couple of my favorite creamy dressings...

Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing
This is a winner! Full of great Parmesan flavor
 2 tsp. finely grated onion
1 finely grated garlic clove
2 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
dash of hot sauce
1 1/4 cup good mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
juice from 1 lemon
dash of salt
2 tsp. ground peppercorns
1/2~ 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

In a large bowl, whisk all the ingredients but the Parmesan cheese. When the ingredients are well blended, add the Parmesan cheese and mix.
Make the dressing 24 hours before serving for best results. Refrigerate.
Printable Recipe

Bleu Cheese Dressing
This dressing has a whole lot more going for it than the Bleu cheese. Filled with subtle flavors, it is just different enough to make an impression in the world of Blue cheese dressings!Bleu Cheese dressing on a wedge salad makes a fabulous meal! It is Bobby's favorite!
1/2~ 2/3 cup crumbled bleu cheese (use good quality cheese)
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup sour cream 
2 TBS cider vinegar
1/4 cup chopped green onions, use green tops too
1 TBS fresh parsley
1 TBS fresh dill
salt and pepper
2 drops hot sauce

Mix all the ingredients in a blender. You can also mix by hand if you like a chunkier dressing. This recipe can be doubled.

This is such a great summer, when herbs are fresh, dressing!
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped green onions, white and green
2 TBS chopped chives
2 TBS basil (or tarragon)
2 TBS parsley
1 TBS anchovy paste (don't leave this out)
4 TBS lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 clove garlic

Add all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
Use immediately or refrigerate.

The Worlds Best Ceasar Salad Dressing
not bragging... just truth... If you try one dressing, this is it!
2 large garlic cloves (use 1 if you like less garlic)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1-2 TBS Worcestershire Sauce (I have a heavy hand with Worcestershire)
4 anchovy fillets~ don't skip this!
juice of 1 lemon (I use 2- I like it lemmony)
1/2 ~2/3 cup LIGHT olive oil or vegetable oil
 coddled egg or 1/4 cup egg substitute

Add To Salad
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated

To Make Dressing
Coddle egg and set aside.
To coddle egg: Boil enough water in a small saucepan to cover an egg.  Once the water is boiling, add an egg in it'sshell. Turn off heat and let it sit for 1 minutes. Take it out of boiling water to stop cooking. (When you crack the egg it will look raw. The white part of the egg will look just slightly opaque near the shell.) If you don't want to coddle an egg, use egg substitute. See note above.

Put the garlic, mustard, Worcestershire Sauce, anchovy fillets and lemon juice in the blender. Process until smooth.

While the blender is running add a continuous stream of oil, very slowly. Process until oil is incorporated.
Add coddled egg. Process until incorporated. If you add egg substitute the dressing will be a little thick, almost like a garlic lemon mayonnaise, but delicious.

Add pepper and process.
Printable Recipe
To see how to put the whole Ceasar Salad together click Culinary Tutorial

Here are a few helpful tips for making great homemade dressings...

~use a combination of olive and another light oil, like canola, for a less bitter dressing
~mix vinaigrettes in a jar with a tight fitting lid
~use kosher salt
~ keep all dressings refrigerated
~take vinaigrettes out of the refrigerator about 1/2 hour before serving for the oil to liquidify
~ vinaigrettes make great marinades
~creamy dressing taste wonderful as a sauce over fish
~ creamy dressings make great dipping sauces

Now throw out those bottled dressings and make your own delicious salad dressing!!!!

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Drawing  for the giveaway will take place Wednesday, June 27th at 6:00 PM.