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Easy Homemade Salad Dressings | Naturally Gluten Free

Easy Homemade Salad Dressings | Naturally Gluten Free

Easy homemade salad dressings can also be a chicken marinade or vegetable dip. Here are 4 simple recipes for Ranch, Caesar, Vinaigrette, and Green Goddess. Make only as much as you need! 

Easy homemade salad dressings make amazing marinades for chicken of every sort, as a dip for vegetables of all kinds, and of course to dress your salads. Make only what you need!

Why make your own homemade salad dressing?

Making my own salad dressings is something that I have done for years without ever buying a bottled dressing. It’s not because I’m so diligent that I never ever take the easy way out. This is not a matter of virtue. It’s truly a matter of convenience. 

Bottled salad dressings go bad, but you can only buy them in the quantities in which they’re sold. Even a simple bottled vinaigrette will go bad over time, and then you have to have it rattling around in the door of your refrigerator, mocking you every time you open and close that door.

Make your own vinaigrette salad dressing in a simple blender and never buy bottled dressing again.

Vinaigrette dressing

Once you know, you’ll never forget that a basic vinaigrette is based upon the simplest of simple ratios: 3 to 1 oil to acid ratio. That means that you can throw together as much or as little vinaigrette as you like, at any time. And it doesn’t even need to be refrigerated.

I almost always use white vinegar from Trader Joe’s as my acid since it’s mild (almost a tiny bit sweet), and I add salt and pepper plus a tiny bit of honey because I find it balances out the whole thing perfectly.

Make your own ranch salad dressing in a simple blender and never buy bottled dressing again.

Ranch dressing

I’ve always loved ranch dressing, but I often find myself chasing the perfect texture and taste. If you ask me, this recipe nails it. Ranch dressing should not be super thick. It’s slightly sweet, slightly acidic, with just the right kick from finely minced garlic.

This one needs to be refrigerated, but it’s thin enough that it should be pourable right out of the refrigerator. And it’s easy enough to make that you can throw it together on a weeknight. Yes, you can!

Don’t have buttermilk? Try plain yogurt. And the best way to mince garlic super fine is to chop it with your favorite chef’s knife, and periodically press it into a paste with the flat side of the knife. Wanna make it even easier? Try adding a tiny bit of kosher salt as you’re chopping and pressing.

Make your own Caesar salad dressing in a simple blender and never buy bottled dressing again.

Caesar salad dressing

Caesar dressing really should have a raw egg yolk in it. But you can still make a very authentic-tasting Caesar salad without the egg, because really who has raw pasteurized egg yolk lying around? Not me (well at least not usually).

Instead of anchovy paste, I use either fish sauce (which is mostly anchovies) or Worcestershire sauce (which has anchovies) because, well, I just don’t keep anchovy paste on hand since my family doesn’t love it in everything. Except they don’t even know they’re eating it in this dressing.

Make your own green goddess salad dressing in a simple blender and never buy bottled dressing again.

Green goddess dressing

Finally, green goddess dressing. My absolute personal favorite. You can make it with flat-leaf parsley (curly-leaf parsley has practically no flavor!), or with basil.

I really really prefer parsley here, since it doesn’t mask the rest of the flavors but just perks up the whole dressing and makes it taste super fresh. If you don’t have scallions on hand, leave them out but they do give some nice bite. I store them in the freezer when I buy them fresh, but I also really like freeze-dried scallions and garlic.

Make your own Caesar salad dressing in a simple blender and never buy bottled dressing again.

So here you have the 4 most essential dressings. One you mix up just by shaking (vinaigrette), one just by whisking (ranch), and two by blending (Caesar and green goddess).

All are exceedingly easy to make, and call for ingredients you probably have on hand already. Now finish up those bottles rattling around in your refrigerator door, and never buy dressing again!

Ingredients and substitutions

Eggs: Each recipe that has mayonnaise has eggs, but there are a number of egg-free mayonnaise recipes on the market. If you like the taste of any of them, give it a try. But remember that these are raw recipes, so if you don’t like the taste of the ingredient alone, you won’t likely enjoy it in the dressing.

Dairy: In place of sour cream, try plain Greek yogurt (or nondairy plain Greek yogurt). In place of buttermilk, try half plain traditional yogurt (or plain nondairy yogurt) and half milk (or nondairy milk).

Anchovy/Worcestershire/fish sauce: In the Caesar and green goddess dressings, you need some sort of ingredient to add umami flavor. If you can’t have or don’t care for any of these ingredients, try adding mild white miso paste or a bit of gluten free tamari. Be sure to source gluten free ingredients, of course. 

Salt and pepper: Increase or decrease the salt and pepper in each recipe to taste. You can eliminate the pepper entirely, but not the salt entirely (although you can decrease it quite a bit).

Variations on vinaigrette: To make the vinaigrette into mustard vinaigrette, add 1 tablespoon Dijon or yellow mustard. You can leave out the honey, but it really helps to add balance to the recipe. In its place, try using some granulated sugar. 

 

Easy homemade salad dressings make amazing marinades for chicken of every sort, as a dip for vegetables of all kinds, and of course to dress your salads. Make only what you need!

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: About 1 1/4 cups each

Ingredients

Vinaigrette Dressing
1/2 cup (112 g) extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons (1 1/2 fluid ounces) white wine (or white balsamic) vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Ranch Dressing
1/2 cup (112 g) sour cream

1/3 cup (2 2/3 fluid ounces) buttermilk

1 tablespoon white wine (or white balsamic) vinegar

1 clove garlic, peeled and minced very fine

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Caesar Dressing
3/4 cup (168 g) mayonnaise

1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, chopped or grated

1 large clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

3 tablespoons (1 1/2 fluid ounces) freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon gluten free fish sauce or Worcestershire sauce (or anchovy paste)

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Milk or buttermilk by the half-teaspoonful, if necessary

Green Goddess Dressing
1/2 cup (112 g) mayonnaise

1/2 cup (112 g) sour cream

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (or basil, but I much prefer parsley)

1 teaspoon gluten free fish sauce or Worcestershire sauce (or anchovy paste)

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped scallions (optional)

Milk or buttermilk by the half-teaspoonful, if necessary

Directions

  • For the vinaigrette dressing, place all of the ingredients in a container with a tight-fitting lid, cover, and shake vigorously to combine. The oil and vinegar will emulsify, but then separate over time. Simply shake again before using. The mixture can be stored in a cool, dark place, but if you refrigerate it the oil will thicken a bit and hold the emulsification better after shaking.

  • For the ranch dressing, place all of the ingredients in a container with a tight-fitting lid and whisk to combine well. Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

  • For the Caesar dressing, place all of the ingredients in a blender in the order listed, and blend until smooth. If necessary to keep the blender moving, add milk or buttermilk by the half-teaspoonful. Transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid, and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. The dressing will thicken in the refrigerator, and then again when brought to room temperature.

  • For the green goddess dressing, place all of the ingredients in a blender in the order listed, and blend until smooth. If necessary to keep the blender moving, add milk or buttermilk by the half-teaspoonful. Transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid, and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. The dressing will thicken in the refrigerator, and then again when brought to room temperature.

  • Originally published on the blog in 2014. Recipes largely unchanged, video and most photos new.

Love,
Nicole

Comments are closed.

  • Maria
    January 16, 2020 at 11:06 AM

    Hi Nicole,
    Besides being gluten free I’m also dairy free. What do I do as a substitute for any creamy dressings?

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 16, 2020 at 1:01 PM

      Please see the ingredients and substitutions section, Maria.

  • Justina Bergen
    January 12, 2020 at 8:46 PM

    not fair. you show me the cinnamon rolls and you give me dressing recipe! I was looking forward to making some cinnamon rolls.
    Justina

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 13, 2020 at 8:04 AM

      I’m afraid I’m not really sure what you mean, Justina. Both recipes are right here on the homepage of the blog.

  • Lou champion
    January 12, 2020 at 4:19 PM

    Yum! Do be aware that some Worcester sauces contain gluten. Always, always check the labels.

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 12, 2020 at 4:20 PM

      Yes, that’s why I mentioned that in the Ingredients and substitutions section, Lou!

  • Val
    January 12, 2020 at 2:01 PM

    Nicole – I so look forward to your recipes every Sunday morning! Thank you.
    My question…Can we use either rice wine vinegar or champagne vinegar in these dressings and still get a good result?

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 12, 2020 at 2:42 PM

      Definitely, Val! And thank you for the kind words I really appreciate it!

  • Helen S.
    January 12, 2020 at 9:41 AM

    Is it my thinking or doesn’t Green Goddess dressing have tarragon in its ingredient list?

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 12, 2020 at 2:44 PM

      Not the way I make it, Helen, but feel free to customize it for yourself!

  • Nancy
    January 9, 2020 at 4:01 PM

    I think that a fair amount of onion powder is the key to great ranch.

    When I can, I put the vinaigrette ingredients in a mustard bottle and shake it all with whatever dregs are clinging to the sides.

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 9, 2020 at 4:44 PM

      If that’s how you like those dressings, then by all means, Nancy!

  • Beth
    January 8, 2020 at 7:41 PM

    How long does the Caesar dressing last in the refrigerator? I love your recipes and website. I am always curious as to what you will make next! Maybe others want to know how long the other dressings last, too.

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 9, 2020 at 8:07 AM

      Hi, Beth, since the Caesar dressing is made primarily of mayonnaise, without sour cream, it will take longer to go bad. The lemon juice will also help act as a preservative. The vinaigrette will last the longest, followed by the Caesar, then the Green Goddess and the ranch, since the ranch is mostly more perishable ingredients. But generally, each will last only as long as the least fresh of its ingredients. I know that’s not terribly specific, but I hope it’s helpful!

  • Diane Decker
    November 14, 2014 at 8:21 PM

    I vote for the sauce idea. Sometimes I am too hungry, or in too much pain, to even think about cooking an entire meal for myself. I usually keep cooked brown rice and quinoa, sauteed vegetables and often some poached chicken meat on hand. What I need are sauces that I can make and keep in the refrigerator to change the flavor of my basic rice or quinoa bowls. I love San-J sauces, but can’t afford them. I’d also like something besides Asian sauces. This would make me very happy.

  • Nancy
    November 14, 2014 at 3:43 PM

    I thought mayo was not gluten free?

    • Michelle
      November 14, 2014 at 8:32 PM

      Mayo is just eggs and oil- should always be naturally gf.

  • Lisa W
    November 14, 2014 at 1:50 PM

    I have been so disappointed in dressings at the store lately so this is very timely for me! YAY! Making some today. Thank you.

  • Laurita Petry-Dominick
    November 14, 2014 at 12:55 PM

    By the way…Thank you for all your very hard work….you save us time and money and help make us successful which builds confidence and conviction and helps us help others over their bumps in going gluten free…just a thought

  • Laurita Petry-Dominick
    November 14, 2014 at 12:50 PM

    Maybe the sauce and dressing idea….I am brain dead in this dept….but I know if you have a couple of good sauces in your bag of tricks you can make the same ingredients taste like totally different dishes…I.e. stir fry sauce, barbeque sauce etc.

    • Lauren
      November 14, 2014 at 2:26 PM

      I totally agree with Laurita on the sauces! My husband loves saucy foods, but they often rely on cornstarch or wheat flour. Most of the time it’s too daunting to try to modify them since I haven’t even tasted them in almost a decade to give me an idea of what I’m aiming for.
      I’d love to have help with the following sauces:
      * Alfredo
      * Buffalo Chicken (like for a Crock Pot chicken meal)
      * Teriyaki
      * Sweet and Sour
      And I’m interested in any other savory sauces you might have up your sleeves.

      And totally unrelatedly, I’m currently craving coconut cream pie. :)

  • Jthrel
    November 14, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    Yum! I also make a honey mustard with stone ground mustard (no vinegar, or Apple cider vinegar) and agave syrup or honey. Add enough of each to taste mix well with spoon. Best honey mustard ever.

  • Lucy
    November 14, 2014 at 10:00 AM

    Nicole, you’re so awwwwesome!
    Now that we are non-GMO as well as Gluten-free, I need all the help I can get when it comes to sauces and salad dressings.
    Thank you so much :)

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