homemade ranch dressing
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Whether you prefer a light vinaigrette or a thicker, bolder accompaniment to your salad, dressing adds a welcome statement to fresh veggies, not to mention tuna, chicken, and other heartier fare

It’s tempting to stock up on pre-made bottles but a check of the ingredients might have you reconsidering. If you don’t want soybean oil and xanthan gum in your diet, take matters into your own hands. Dressing is simple to make from scratch and the results will not only taste better but are better for you. Basically, when it comes to getting your salad all dressed up, comparing homemade to store-bought is like Tom Ford vs. Tommy Bahama—and you won’t have to drop couture coin for the luxury.

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See below for some of our favorite salad dressing recipes that are sure to impress.

Related Reading: 7 Cookbooks That Celebrate Salad

Easy Ranch  

homemade ranch dressing

Chowhound

Direct from Santa Barbara’s Hidden Valley Ranch, this gooey classic with a buttermilk tang is the top choice for a winning wedge. Beyond salad, it’s a welcome dip for a crudité platter and a slice of pepperoni pizza if you really want to let your freak flag fly. Get our Easy Ranch recipe.

Caesar

Caesar salad recipe

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So named for the Tijuana restaurant where the dish was invented in 1924 and famously served it table-side, it’s in no way connected to the Roman emperor. But it garners a salute either way. Tossed with romaine and crunchy croutons, the eggy, anchovied dressing doesn’t hold back on the umami. Get our Caesar Dressing recipe.

Related Reading: The Best Egg Substitutes for Baking and Cooking

Green Goddess

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A bouquet of fresh herbs meld with lemon juice, mayo, and sour cream (with a little anchovy for extra flavor) to create this spectacular salad topper that tastes as heavenly as it looks. It’s extremely versatile, working wonders on butter lettuce and raw carrots as well as grilled fish and roast chicken. Get our Green Goddess Dressing recipe.

Blue Cheese

blue cheese dressing recipe

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Along with 1000 Island, funky Blue Cheese is perhaps one of the most polarizing dressings out there. But people who love it, really love it. If you’re not a fan, try making it from scratch and it just might change your mind. Get our Blue Cheese Dressing recipe.

Related Reading: Blue Cheeses and How to Love Them

Tangy Southwestern

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Fans of BBQ sauce will enjoy the sweet, spicy, and sour notes of this ketchup, Worcestershire, cider vinegar, and Tabasco fusion. Give it a whirl on Chicken Taco Salad and don’t look back.  Get our Tangy Southwestern Dressing recipe.

Sherry-Tomato Vinaigrette

sherry tomato vinaigrette recipe

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This is the perfect summer dressing when tomatoes are at their peak. Fruity and slightly creamy, consider it for meatier salads or even as a sauce for grilled chicken. Get our Sherry-Tomato Vinaigrette recipe.

Related Reading: Grow Your Own Tomatoes for the Best Summer Treat Around

Fresh Thyme Vinaigrette

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Prepared with only five ingredients, this thyme-infused vinaigrette oozes with fresh flavor. Drizzle over lettuce, or give it a whirl as marinade grilled chicken or slathered on roasted fish. Get our Fresh Thyme Vinaigrette recipe.

Dijon Vinaigrette

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Here’s another easy dressing pulled together with just a few pantry staple items and at a fraction of the cost of what you’d buy at the store.  If you’re looking for an excuse to use that fancy French mustard in the fridge, this is it. Get our Dijon Vinaigrette recipe.

Tahini 

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A ubiquitous ingredient in the Middle East, tahini is a paste made of sesame seeds. A key component to hummus, it also ably lends its signature nuttiness to this simple, vibrant dressing. Get our Tahini Dressing recipe.

Related Reading: 10 Unusual Hummus Recipes to Make This Summer

Honey-Poppy Seed Salad Dressing

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If you like poppy seeds on your bagels, you’ll love them on your salad especially when blended with honey and mustard. Try it out with Kale-Apple Coleslaw or as a dipping sauce for chicken fingers. Get our Honey-Poppy Seed Salad Dressing recipe.

Vegan Chipotle Avocado Salad Dressing

chipotle avocado salad dressing

Chowhound

The secret to this dairy-free dressing’s creamy appeal is blended avocados. Fresh lime juice, smoky chipotles in adobo sauce, and garlic jazz things up. Use it on a chunky corn and tomato salad this summer, or drizzle on a taco any time. Get our Chipotle Avocado Salad Dressing recipe.

Now Get the Other Elements Right

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David is a food and culture writer based in Los Angeles by way of New York City. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, CBS Local, Mashable, and Gawker.
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