Salad Dressing Doesn’t Require Chemicals

Posted by on May 17, 2015 in Do-It-Yourself, Frugal For Everyone, Green Living, Health and Safety, Product Information, Recipes | 39 comments

Salad DressingSalad without salad dressing is pretty blah, but have you looked at the list of ingredients on the dressings you buy? It’s enough to make you want to eat your salads plain. Most of the ingredients listed are either synthetic or chemical based. Check your bottled dressing against the list at the end of this post and see for yourself.

Fortunately it isn’t necessary to consume these chemical-laden products. Salad dressings are easy to make using ingredients found in most kitchens. Homemade dressings also tastes way better and cost a whole lot less.


Basic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing:

  1. 3/4 cup light pure olive oil
  2. 3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  3. 1/8 tsp. dry mustard (optional)
  4. Salt and pepper to taste.

Salad DressingBlend all together until smooth. Pour into a glass jar with tight fitting lid and refrigerate overnight before using. Shake well before serving. 

Balsamic Vinaigrette: Replace the apple cider vinegar with balsamic vinegar and the mustard with 1 garlic clove, minced.

To make any of the variations below start with ½ cup of the basic dressing and add:

  • Italian Salad Dressing: Blend in 1/2 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes, 1/2 tsp. dried basil, 1/8 tsp. each: garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, optional 1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese, optional 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes.
  • French Salad Dressing: Blend in 1 tsp. dried parsley flakes, and ¼ tsp. each: onion powder, paprika, sugar, garlic powder.
  • French Dressing Variation: Blend in 1/2 Tbsp. catsup, ¼ tsp each: sugar, onion powder, paprika.. 
  • Russian Salad Dressing: Blend in 1 Tbsp. chili sauce.
  • Catalina Salad Dressing: Blend in ¼ cup catsup, 1 Tbsp. sugar, 1/2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, ½ tsp. onion powder, pinch of paprika.

Ranch Style Salad Dressing:

  1. ¾ cup mayonnaise
  2. ¼ cup milk
  3. 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  4. 1 ½ Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  5. 1 ½ tbsp. fresh chives, cut fine
  6. 1 ½ tbsp. fresh parsley, cut fine
  7. Salt and pepper to taste

Salad DressingBlend the first four ingredients together, when well blended stir in the herbs, salt and pepper. Refrigerate overnight before using.

NOTE: Since homemade salad dressings contain no preservatives, it is best to make them up in small batches. They should be kept refrigerated for no longer than a week.

See how easy this is? It almost takes less time to make salad dressing than it does to read all the ingredients on the commercial products.

Common ingredients found in commercial salad dressing:

  1. Soybean, canola or corn oil – GMO products – will increase cholesterol
  2. Glucose –throws blood sugar levels out of whack and drains nutrients from the body
  3. Flavour or Artificial Flavour – made in a lab and may contain chemicals and preservatives known to be toxic
  4. Monosodium glutamate – can cause headaches, pain, nausea and asthma-like symptoms; severe allergic reactions in some people
  5. Phosphoric acid – several studies have shown a link to decreased bone density
  6. Propylene glycol – this is a synthetic liquid substance that absorbs water – it is used as a solvent for food colours and flavours
  7. Potassium sorbate – an easy to make chemical preservative
  8. Sodium benzoate – a synthetic preservative that may be linked to cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and premature aging
  9. Polysorbate 60 – common contamination with 1,4 dioxane has linked this product to cancer in lab studies
  10. Calcium disodium EDTA – currently being studied for possible link to reproductive problems, birth defects, and cancer along with a host of other health related issues.

Who wants to eat that stuff? Much better to head to the kitchen to make up a fresh batch of salad dressing – better tasting, lesser cost, no chemicals. Works for me.

Talk to you again next week,




  1. Lenie, I love your salad dressing recipes. I’d never thought of making ranch dressing. It’s my husband’s favorite kind and I will try it and see what he thinks. So much better to leave out all the chemicals!

    • Beth, it used to be that I would go to the store and pick up what I need without giving a second thought to the ingredients. But since I’ve learned about the risks associated with a lot of common food products, I’m much more careful and prefer to make my own when I can. And salad dressings are absolutely the easiest products to make. Good luck with the ranch dressing.

  2. Absolutely, Lenie, chemicals must be avoided. Being a health freak I go furhter than you. For at least 15 years I only use olive oil and spice, fresh and/or dried, for dressing. The only vinegar I ever use is cidervinegar and actually not in dressings.

    • Catarina, as you know I’m big on herbs and spices but somehow I never thought of leaving the vinegar out of salad dressing. Thanks for the great tip, I’ll be trying that for sure.

  3. Thanks for all these new recipes! I haven’t purchased salad dressing in a very long time. Now that I live alone, it’s just easier to throw some balsamic and a little olive oil over the salads that I make for myself. So I adnit=, it wasn’t really the chemicals that I was thinking about! But I’m glad to know that I have been eating them!!!

    • Jacquie, isn’t it amazing how careful you have to be about the products you buy. I’m sure our parents didn’t have these problems, seems to me their food was a whole lot healthier – and probably why we never went to a doctor.

  4. Lenie you are spot on about all these unhealthy ingredients. We usually just mix something up like you’re suggesting. Sometimes with apple cider vinegar. I will say though sometimes I get lazy. There’s a delicious tilapia recipe that calls for a low fat ranch dressing that is out of this world. But I am aiming for betterment, not perfection so I”m okay with it!

    • Good for you Pat. I love the term “I’m aiming for betterment, not perfection”. Unless you want to go crazy, in today’s shopping environment, that is a great mantra. Hope you don’t mind that I’ll be borrowing it.

  5. This is great. I refuse to buy bottled salad dressing these days, so these are some great alternatives.

    Last night I noticed my husband had bought a bottled salad dressing. It looked tasty so I read the ingredients. Yup, I was like, ick, no way! And this was a dressing marketed as “healthy” and organic. I’ll stick to your recipes for sure!

    • Erica, when I started checking into salad dressings I couldn’t believe the list of ingredients. Salad dressing needs so few ingredients that to have this long list on their bottles, definitely seems like overkill. When I found out the risks associated with most of the ingredients, that did it for me. I’ll make my own and know what I’m eating.

  6. I am always dismayed and discouraged when I read the ingredients on salad dressings. I do prefer to make my own, although sometimes convenience has me using store-bought. My daughter has recently determined she has a soy allergy and it is next to impossible to find a commercial soy-free salad dressing. Thanks for all these recipe variations. I will be using them

    • Donna, you’re right – soy is a common ingredient in salad dressing. I don’t know if you’ve heard of Jethro Kloss, but he was an herbalist from way back and he heavily promoted soy for everything and no one was ever allergic. That was in the days before they started messing with our food. So being able to make your own salad dressing using products that you know can’t hurt you seems to be the only way to go.

  7. I enjoy salad dressing but take only a small amount as I am worried it is laden with sweeteners and calories!

    I may try your recipe which looks straight forward.

    • Phoenicia, when you make your own salad dressing, you only put in what you want. Sometimes I get really lazy and just give our salad a quick squirt with olive oil and vinegar – don’t even bother mixing things. It still tastes good.

  8. Lenie, I’ve been making my own dressing for years. Recently, my daughter wanted some bottled dressing. I said OK, you dress yours and I’ll put oil and vinegar on mine. This worked until the bottled dressing was gone. She hasn’t asked for more. Yet.

    By the way, I only use raw apple cider (more health benefits) for salad instead of white vinegar. I use white vinegar for cleaning.

    • Leora, just when you think you know it all, along comes someone with something new. I had no idea that raw apple cider vinegar was available, sounds like it might taste better too. I’ll have to pick some up next time I’m in the Health Food Store.

  9. Lenie, these look like delicious recipes for dressing. I have made my own vinaigrette for years, but have never tried making homemade ranch. Something I learned in a cooking class in southern Mexico: squeeze a fresh lime over a chopped salad or plain lettuce, add salt and pepper and a little olive oil. It makes a salad taste great.

    • Hi Rin, I like the sounds of the lime instead of vinegar. That is one thing about blogging and commenting, there are so many things to learn and so many people to learn from. Isn’t that great?

  10. The recipes look wonderful Lenie! I think this is one of those lessons that we all kind of know but choose to overlook when we’re busy cause it’s just so much easier to grab a bottle at the market. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Hi Marquita, I hear the same argument over again – we’re to busy – and you’re right, we’ve all done it, bought the bottled stuff. But really, how much longer does it take to make the dressing? I keep both oil and vinegar (although the vinegar may now be replaced with lime juice) in spray bottles and sometimes, when I’m really lazy, I just spray a little of each on the salad and throw some kind of herb on top. I’ve never yet thrown out a salad because I didn’t like the taste.

  11. Thanks for the recipes. I usually prefer to make salad dressing rather than buy it in bottles, but sometimes I take the easy way out. Your chemistry lesson will help encourage me not to do so.

    • Ken, that chemistry lesson as you call it, certainly is an eye-opener, isn’t it? I can’t figure out why all those things are necessary because salad dressing has to be one of the simplest and fewest ingredient products available.

  12. I used to make vinaigrette of various types on a regular basis, but fell out of the habit. Your post serves as a reminder to get back into the habit, not to mention save money in the process too.

    • Hi Jeri – your point about saving money is such a good one – not only that but most of us have all those ingredients on hand anyway. It helps to use the herbs and spices before their best-by date.

  13. Lenie, l love your salad dressings recipes.
    Oh wow, i never knew the salad dressings bought in shops had so much chemicals in it.
    I will try your recipes and let you know how it went .
    Thanks for this x

    • ChinWe – isn’t it scary what is found in the store bought stuff? Hope you enjoy the recipes – they’re so easy and tasty.

  14. These recipes are great! I love simple salad dressings. My favorite is using dijon mustard instead of dried mustard and white wine vinegar for the vinigrette recipe. I love that you include the additional recipes by adding ingredients. What a clever idea, thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Sabrina, I tried using dijon instead of the dried mustard, and while my husband liked it, I didn’t. I found the mustard taste to dominant. (Maybe I added to0 much?). I’m going to listed to some of the other commenters and try using lime juice or raw apple cider vinegar. They sound interesting.

  15. I love these natural salad dressing recipes! I’m a big salad dressing fan. I use a TON of it and love the idea of eating things with words I can pronounce.

    • Hi Krystle – ‘eating things with words I can pronounce’ is a really neat comment. Checking ingredients with that in mind would pretty well guarantee you’re not consuming toxins. Thanks.

  16. Those are some very easy recipes. I will be trying them out very soon.

    • Hi Jason – they are easy, fast and good. Hope they fit the bill now that salad season is here.

  17. Hey Lenie,

    I’m probably the only one that will comment that this doesn’t bother me. For one thing I don’t like vinegar, mustard or olive oil. I also don’t eat a lot of dressing on my salads either but I can’t eat one without it.

    To me this is like most things in life. When I was growing up no one cared about the lead in the paint yet here I am still alive and healthy. I think that people can take things to an extreme and start to freak everyone out. I refuse to live like that and at my age I’m still healthy and on no medications at all. Obviously nothing in any food has harmed me yet and I don’t intend to live my life afraid of what may or may not happen.

    It’s not that I don’t appreciate what you’re sharing of course because I know there are so many people in this world today who are worried about every little thing they put in their mouths. For them they’ll definitely appreciate your recipes so thanks for sharing them.

    Hope you’re doing well Lenie.


    • Hi Adrienne, you are right – you are the only dissenter but that’s OK – I’ve always appreciated all views because it’s interesting to consider the other side. I am also pleased that you are in such good health – lucky you.
      For me, I do have a number of health problems and a weakened immune system so I do what I can to prevent any stress to my system. I believe toxins in the environment and our food has a negative impact on this and thus the focus on non-toxic foods.
      So good to hear from you, Adrienne.

  18. I am strictly a vinegar and olive oil kind of guy and have stayed away, or at least tried to, from pretty much anything processed. It seems to be boding well. I have seen so many documentaries on food recently that it kind of makes you be very strict…a good thing I’m sure.

    • Hi Tim, I agree. Staying away from processed foods and consuming only those containing words that you can pronounce is the best way to go. I also think I’ve flogged this horse enough – there is so much information about additives that to keep writing about it will be boring to both me and you, the readers. I hope people have gotten the message.

  19. Hi Lenie

    Never seen a salad dressing without chemicals being added to it.

    This is one nice information. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Ikechie – I guess it’s like all things in life, the simpler the better. Salad dressing from oil and vinegar, how can you go wrong?

  20. Thanks for the shout out Sabrina, appreciate it. 🙂


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