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5 Variations on the Simple Olive Oil and Vinegar Salad Dressing

Updated on June 17, 2010

One of the healthiest choices that people make when eating meals is to choose salad over other appetizers. If you're smart, you make sure that you also choose a healthy salad dressing so that you don't defeat the purpose of this starter dish. Many people who do want to eat a healthy salad dressing will select a standard dressing made from olive oil and vinegar. If that recipe is getting a little bit tired then you can change it up a little by making a few variations on it.

Let's take a look at a basic olive oil and vinegar salad dressing recipe along with five variations that can spice things up for you:

Basic Olive Oil and Vinegar Salad Dressing Recipe

  • Pour two tablespoons olive oil into a small bowl. Light olive oil is recommended so that the taste of the olive oil isn't too strong.
  • Pour two tablespoons of vinegar into the olive oil. Balsamic vinegar is the most common type of vinegar that is used for this dish.
  • Stir well to mix. Note that the dressing won't mix completely.
  • Pour directly on to salad. Toss the salad to coat it and better mix the dressing.

That's super easy but it's a little bit boring. Here are five variations on that favorite salad dressing:

  1. Olive Oil and Vinegar Salad Dressing Variation One: Citrus. You can refresh the taste of any salad by adding citrus to the salad dressing. The simplest way to do this is to choose a citrus flavored olive oil and/or a citrus flavored vinegar which you can get from specialty stores. My favorite combination is a citrus olive oil with a vanilla fig vinegar. The rest of the recipe remains the same. An alternative to this is to add one tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, lime juice or orange juice directly to the normal salad dressing recipe and mix well.
  2. Olive Oil and Vinegar Salad Dressing Variation Two: Herbs. Adding fresh herbs to your olive oil and vinegar dressing will give it a much more robust taste. A common recipe is to add one sprig of thyme and one sprig of oregano to the traditional basic olive oil and vinegar salad dressing recipe. Mix it together well when you are combining the ingredients and then add to your salad and toss as usual. Other herbs that you might want to try adding to your basic dressing include rosemary, basil, cilantro and mint. Each will offer its own unique flavor so there are actually many variations available here depending on how many different combinations of herbs you want to try.
  3. Olive Oil and Vinegar Salad Dressing Variation Three: Mustard and Garlic Powder. For a bit more of a tangy sweet kick with your salad dressing, you might want to add in a specialty mustard and some garlic powder. Add one half teaspoon of your favorite mustard one eighth teaspoon of garlic powder to your basic olive oil and vinegar salad dressing. Mix well, add to salad and toss to coat as normal. You can substitute one clove of fresh garlic (minced) for the garlic powder if you so choose.
  4. Olive Oil and Vinegar Salad Dressing Variation Four: Cheese. Make a more textured salad dressing by adding a soft cheese to the dressing. Bleu cheese is a top choice but any cheese that will crumble (such as feta and variations on feta) would be a good choice. Crumble the cheese and add approximately one teaspoon to your dressing. Mix it well. You can choose to add herbs at this time as well (see variation two) for even more flavor from this salad dressing. This type of variation is a great choice for people who want a creamy salad dressing but one that is still healthy. Most recipes that are similar to this recommend using a red wine vinegar instead of a balsamic vinegar because it goes better with the cheese.
  5. Olive Oil and Vinegar Salad Dressing Variation Five: Nutty. For a real change, try making a nutty version of the dish. This can be done in one of two ways. The first is to substitute a nut oil for the olive oil. Walnut oil is a top choice. Almond oil is another option. The second option is to add 1-2 teaspoons of finely ground nuts (of your choosing) to the dressing when mixing it together. Do both and you'll have a really nutty variation on your usual olive oil and vinegar salad dressing!


Submit a Comment
  • PaperNotes profile image


    10 years ago

    the citrus salad sounds tasty. thanks for the great recipe

  • the pink umbrella profile image

    the pink umbrella 

    10 years ago from the darkened forest deep within me.

    I think that the cheeze an herb variations sound the best. The herbs seem healthier though, and like the flavor would be better. I love light picky things for dinner in the summer, and im going to try this dressing. Much better than gooey blue cheese or ranch.

  • bd160900 profile image


    10 years ago from San Diego

    Very interesting


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