Simple and Versatile Italian Salad Dressing

italian salad dressing
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  • 10 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: Makes 2 cups (16 servings)
Ratings (45)

This dressing recipe uses a very easy method that results in a perfectly emulsified vinaigrette. The tiny dash of Dijon mustard, when shaken, keeps the oil and vinegar mixed together for a restaurant-quality salad dressing. Serve on a mixed green salad with cucumber, tomatoes and feta cheese; in pasta dishes and in marinated vegetable salads. And finally, a diet bonus: Italian dressing is relatively low in calories, with about 35 or so per tablespoon.

What You'll Need

  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried  Italian herb blend
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed and finely minced)

How to Make It

  1. Combine the vinegar, olive oil, salt, sugar, pepper, herb blend, mustard and cloves in a glass jar with a screw-on lid or another container with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Tighten the lid and shake vigorously for 1 minute before serving.
  3. Refrigerate overnight for best results. Shake before serving. The dressing can be stored for several weeks in the refrigerator.


This recipe is itself a specific kind of vinaigrette, which is simply a mix of olive oil, any vinegar but balsamic, and salt and pepper.

You can change up just a few flavors or ingredients to get a completely different vibe.

  • Add crushed red pepper flakes to this Italian dressing recipe to turn up the heat.
  • Bacon and onion powder make for a heavier taste. Add honey to this Italian dressing recipe to turn it into ​a mustard dressing.
  • Make creamy vinaigrette by mixing the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper with mayonnaise or sour cream.
  • Add grated Parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper to creamy vinaigrette for an original and tasty spin.
  • If you like balsamic vinegar, make an Italian dressing with a twist on traditional by substituting balsamic for red wine vinegar and mixing that with olive oil, Italian seasoning, garlic and pepper.

Uses for Italian Dressing

Dressings carry flavor though every bite and infuse whatever dish you use it on with character. Green salads are without ​a doubt the most common use for all dressings, including Italian. But don't stop there. These blends of oil, vinegar and seasonings make taste spectaculars of otherwise boring and/or bland dishes.

Italian dressing makes a terrific marinade for grilled chicken and steaks and can turn a cheap steak cut into something that's actually worth eating. Mix it into ground beef for a boost in flavor and a change-of-pace burger. It can also turn potato or pasta salad into a star when it's mixed with more mustard, olives and red onions.