Lesson #4: Salad Dressings & Vinaigrettes

How to Cook Real Food: Salad Dressings & Vinaigrettes

Every day, fresh green salads find their way onto our lunch and supper (and sometimes breakfast!) plates – and with good reason as they offer an excellent opportunity to consume healthy, vitamin- and antioxidant-rich fresh local greens while also ensuring a good complement of wholesome and healthy fats like olive oil with its vitamin E or egg yolk with its biotin.

Vegetables, and you’ll hear this again, are best served with fat (read more in this post: Butter Your Vegetables), as doing so increases your body’s ability to better absorb and use the vitamins contained in leafy greens, lettuce and other vegetables.  Indeed, the frequent consumption of leafy greens increases serum vitamin A in both children and adults, but in order for your body to best absorb those fat-soluble vitamins, you need to make sure to eat your greens with fat.  And for this reason, it’s essential to develop a few good salad dressings and vinaigrettes that your family will love – encouraging them to eat more of those wholesome salads.

Unfortunately, most of the salad dressings commercially available are both expensive and filled with unhealthy additives and processed, refined fats like soybean and cottonseed oils.  Indeed, some dressings also contain emulsifiers, gums, high fructose corn syrup and other nasties that’ll undo all the good of eating fresh, leafy greens.  So, this week, your goal is to develop a handful of salad dressing recipes from wholesome ingredients like olive oil, egg yolk, fresh herbs, spices and garlic.

In the print materials for this lesson, you’ll find informational charts outlining the seasonal availability and nutrient content of various lettuces and leafy greens as well as charts outlining the different flavor combinations you might use in preparing dressings and vinaigrettes for your family.  Don’t forget to develop your own recipes, try them out and test them – then share them in the comments.

This installment includes:

VIDEO: how to prepare a vinaigrette, how to prepare an enriched dressing, how to wilt a salad, how to wash, clean and dry salad greens

WORK SHEETS: basic vinaigrette worksheet and chart, basic enriched salad dressing work sheet and chart
Salads: The Perfect Start to a Meal, Choosing Greens & Vegetables, Greens & Antinutrients, Greens, Seasons & Flavor (CHART), choosing salad dressing ingredients, Frequently Asked Questions
Red Wine Vinaigrette, Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette, Caesar Salad Dressing, Blue Cheese Salad Dressing, Balsamic Vinaigrette, Honey Mustard Dressing, Buttermilk Ranch Dressing, Green Goddess Dressing, Garlic Parmesan Dressing, Honey-Citrus Dressing, Ginger-Orange Dressing, Lemon-Tahini Dressing


  • Start eating more salads
  • Identify and source local greens, in season
  • Ditch processed and refined salad dressings and vinaigrettes
  • Prepare your own vinaigrette
  • Prepare your own creamy, enriched salad dressing
  • Save money doing so!

Master Download

Download all the recipes, tutorials and fact sheets in one file by clicking here.

Videos & Links:

How to Make a Classic Vinaigrette

In this video I’ll show you how to make a simple, classic vinaigrette. Trouble viewing the video? Click here.

How to Make an Enriched Salad Dressing

In this video, I’ll show you how to make a simple, enriched salad dressing. Trouble viewing the video? Click here.

How to Wash and Dry Salad Greens

In this video I’ll show you how to wash and dry salad greens in an instant. Trouble viewing the video? Click here.

How to Wilt a Salad

In this video I’ll show you how to prepare a simple, nourishing wilted salad fro winter. Trouble viewing the video? Click here.

Links Addressing Food Philosophy