Great Salad Dressing recipes and Perfect Spring Gift Idea!

Beautiful mixed salad greens with edible flowers from Jay Hill Farms


May I share the bain of my salad existence?  Dressing.
For years I never felt the dressing I made tasted as good as restaurant dressing and I’m not in favor of bottled concoctions for delicate organic spring greens (my personal bias).  I frankly just prefer freshly made dressing period.  Until I began to make my own vinegar, my creativity really fell down at the dressing stage of salad making.
About a year ago, my dear friend Colleen of prior mention (the cyber co pilot of my New Mexico road trip) gave me what ranks with my favorite gifts of all time.  A friend of hers was moving to a new home with a vegetable garden, bearing promise of unending salad opportunities.  As a housewarming gift Colleen compiled all of her favorite salad dressing recipes from friends and family into a wonderful little scrapbook made with beautiful textured papers, kirigami (cut folded paper) and embellishments (all readily available at craft, paper or scrapbook stores).  The recipes span the gamut of any type of salad or produce dipping situation you could fathom. 
Colleen was generous enough to share copies of her creative gift with some other friends and I am a lucky recipient.  She took the original 8” x 8” scrapbook to Fed Ex Office (formerly Kinko’s) to have it copied and plastic coil bound with a clear, plastic front cover.  I truly love it and use it all the time. 

I’m lingering  a moment on the book itself feeling there is no more fun gift, especially at this time of year with Farmer’s Markets waking from the long slumber of winter.  Also as a reminder Mother’s Day is Sunday May 8, a smidge less than two weeks from now and I can’t think of a better gift.  It’s easy to get into the dressing doldrums and I can’t imagine anyone not loving such a great and personal gift.

With fridge stocked with interesting greens I wanted to prepare a salad and share some of Colleen’s favorite dressings with you today.  I hope you’ll enjoy this re-entry to salad days and some delicious dressing recipes!
I decided on Classic French Dressing for my beautiful salad greens
I doubled this recipe and it was the perfect amount for the large bowl of greens pictured at the top of the page


I must close on a humorous note.  Every girl deserves a photo assistant; mine is self appointed with four legs.
I spared you the swipe of the tongue on the greens photo.  But suffice it to say Lola decided arugula is not for her.


  1. says

    I love how it looks like you just went to a local meadow and picked your lunch! I told my kids that you can eat dandelion leaves and now they collect them on our walks….I'm not eating those dandelions…i've seen how many dogs get walked in our neighborhood.

  2. says

    Oh, I LOVE your girl!!!! And both the tahini and French dressings sound fabulous…love your salad with the colorful greens and reds and yellows and…

  3. says

    Not sure what I love more – the idea of the book of the photos of the dog!!! I always rant to my cooking students about making their own dressing – I explain that it's a simple matter of selecting an oil, an acid, spices, and other add ins, then I go on to show them the almost limitless combinations: walnut oil, EVOO, hazelnut oil, canola oil, red wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice, a vast array of spices, condiments, aromatics, etc. Really so easy!

  4. says

    I remember my transition from bottled 'brand' dressings to bottled 'gourmet' dressings and realize that somewhere down that road I no longer keep any dressings;preferring to make my own. I remember those days from the time I was a kid when oil and vinegar were put on restaurant tables and I also remembering thinking 'yuck.'

    But yuck no more…and easier than I presumed too the effort to mix some oil, vinegar and herbs!

    Your nasturtiums are beautiful and thanks for some new recipes…but the dog, the adorable thank you for more pictures so that we can see she has both canine teeth dog. Come on over Lola…I'll serve you something other than arugula sweetie!

  5. says

    I love homemade salad dressings…they pack such a punch for flavour that store bought ones don't begin to have! Tanks for sharing!

    P.S. Your doggie is so cute!

  6. says

    What a great idea!! You've reminded me I need to get my nasturtiums planted. We recently discovered golden balsamic vinegar. It's become our favorite dressing with a little oil. It's not as strong as regular balsamic, and is slightly reminiscent of golden raisins…

  7. says

    I haven't bought bottled dressings in years and a nice traditional French is my favorite go to. I am so jealous that Lola is so precious isn't camera shy. My adorable Scruffy comes from an ancient tribe that believes the camera steals your soul.

  8. says

    So cute! I need an 4-legged assistant, too! 🙂

    I'm with you on the homemade salad dressing–it's the best. I do keep a couple of jars of store-bought ones for long days but whenever I make it myself, my husband never fails to mention it. What a great gift to receive!

  9. says

    I adore my four-legged assistant and her willingness to sample my creations always makes me laugh!
    What a wonderful gift idea. I may have to use that for a friend's upcoming birthday.

  10. Anonymous says

    I love your blog! This is the first time I have viewed it! I will definitely come back! Your assistant is precious! Glad you included her!

  11. The Mistress of Spices says

    I love the idea of making a scrapbook/cookbook like this. How lucky you are to have such a nice friend! And such a cute dog!


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