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Homemade Salads Can Be Great: 2 Simple, Herby Dressings To Make All Summer

Eliza Sullivan
Food Writer
By Eliza Sullivan
Food Writer
Eliza Sullivan is a food writer and SEO editor at mindbodygreen. She writes about food, recipes, and nutrition—among other things. She studied journalism at Boston University.
Image by Alison Slattery // Two Food Photographers
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July 5, 2020

Sure, you can get some pretty good salad dressings in stores, but there are so many reasons to start making your own: more variety, fresher flavors, and you can reuse the same container over and over.

For Mandy and Rebecca Wolfe, the pair of sisters behind the successful Montréal chain know as Mandy's Salads, homemade dressing is an essential part of a good salad.

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"People should make their own salad dressings because it's a way to season their favorite veggies in their own unique way," they told mbg in an email, "while we love making our own dressings a certain way, we encourage everyone to play around with the myriad of ingredients to their liking."

That's right: Even though they give detailed instructions for making homemade dressings in their new cookbook, Mandy's Gourmet Salads, they encourage us all to customize those recipes to fit our tastes and lifestyles.

"You can curate the dressing to you dietary preferences," they said, "making them keto-friendly, or sweetened with maple syrup or honey, or creamy with a dollop of Dijon, tahini or even mayo...the possibilities are endless."

Throughout the book, they share recipes for a wide-range dressings with their various gourmet salads. Below, two of our favorites. These herbiest dressing-option recipes each pair with a different set of flavors, making it simple to have the perfect dressing for whatever salad mood you're in.

Wild Sage Dressing

Looking for a dressing to pair with roasted veggies or even poultry? "We love using our Wild Sage on more autumnal ingredients—think roasted diced sweet potatoes, creamy goat cheese, Brussels sprouts, even roast chicken or turkey," say the sisters.

Makes 1 cup

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ sage leaves
  • ½ cup basil leaves
  • Scant ⅔ cup olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
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Method

  1. In a blender, combine vinegar, honey, mustard, garlic, sage, and basil. Process on medium-high speed until smooth and well combined, 20 to 30 seconds. Stop the blender and scrape down the sides of the jar with a spatula as needed.
  2. With the blender running on low speed, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified and thickened, about 30 seconds. Add the salt and pepper, adjusting the seasoning to taste.
  3. Transfer the dressing to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use. The dressing will keep, refrigerated, for up to 3 days.
Mint Madness Salad
Image by Alison Slatterly // Two Food Photographers
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Mint Madness

This second dressing is perfect with salads that include "all the different fruit and berries that mint naturally pairs so well with," they explained, or with "salty, briny, feta cheese, or tahini-inspired dishes with freshly picked pomegranate seeds."

Makes 2 cups

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ¼ cup mint leaves
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
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Method

  1. In a blender, combine the vinegar, agave, mustard, lime zest and juice, garlic, and mint leaves. Process on medium-high speed until smooth and well combined, 15 to 20 seconds. Stop the blender and scrape down the sides of the jar with a spatula as needed.
  2. With the blender running on low speed, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified and thickened, about 30 seconds. Add the salt and pepper, adjusting the seasoning to taste.
  3. Transfer the dressing to an airtight container, and refrigerate until ready to use. The dressing will keep, refrigerated, for up to 3 days.
Excerpted from Mandy’s Gourmet Salads by Mandy Wolfe, Rebecca Wolfe, and Meredith Erickson. Copyright © 2020 Mandy Wolfe, Rebecca Wolfe, and Meredith Erickson. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
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Eliza Sullivan
Eliza Sullivan
Food Writer

Eliza Sullivan is an SEO Editor at mindbodygreen, where she writes about food, recipes, and nutrition—among other things. She received a B.S. in journalism and B.A. in english literature with honors from Boston University, and she has previously written for Boston Magazine, TheTaste.ie, and SUITCASE magazine.