Make your Own Home-Made Dressing: Easy Lemon Vinaigrette

salad dressing emulsifier

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We all have busy schedules, and sometimes it feels like you can’t possibly fit one more thing into your already jammed-packed day. Lately, this has been my reason for not making my own salad dressing. I know it sounds silly, but I always think it’s more complicated than it actually is. One of my favourite bloggers & nutritionists, Lauren Slayton, wrote a great post that includes a really easy lemon vinaigrette recipe, and it inspired me. I’m now going to commit the extra 5 – 10 minutes per week to start making my own salad dressing again. 

What’s wrong with store-bought dressings you ask? Well, most of them have a laundry list of ingredients/preservatives that are difficult to pronounce & not something you want to be consuming, lots of added refined sugar, are high in fat (the creamy ones) and can be quite expensive.

Here are some benefits of making your own dressing:

Natural – you know & can pronounce all the ingredients that go into it

Easy – make a batch at the beginning of the week and use throughout the week

Versatile – if you just make the lemon vinaigrette base, you can transfer to another jar, and mix in different vinegars & spices throughout the week to have a different salad dressing everyday!

Cheaper – most people have olive oil, lemon and vinegar in their house anyways, so you can save some money by not having to buy a few different dressings that can run you about $5 each

Custom – you can add in whatever you want to match the salad you’re making: Dijon mustard, fresh herbs, minced garlic, orange juice, cranberry juice, honey or maple syrup. And instead of lemon as the acid; you can use balsamic vinegar, white or red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.

A good rule of thumb: depending on how much acid you use (ex. 2 tbsp); always double the amount of oil (ex. 4 tbsp).

And remember, just because you’re making your own dressing doesn’t mean you can dump it on. Oil-based dressings are still about 60 calories per tbsp, so take it easy.

Here’s the easy recipe from Lauren S: 

Easy Lemon Vinaigrette

You will need:

-1 small jar (you can buy Mason jars at Canadian Tire) or salad dressing emulsifier (Williams-Sonoma makes a great one – I love mine, thanks mom)
-1 lemon (lemons produce three to four Tbsp of juice)
-Olive Oil (double the amount of lemon juice)
-Salt (optional) and Pepper


Squeeze lemon juice in jar, add oil and shake. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Easy right?

Happy dressing-making!


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2 Responses to Make your Own Home-Made Dressing: Easy Lemon Vinaigrette

  1. Laurie O'Neil September 29, 2011 at 7:50 am #

    Hey Lauren,

    I had written you a while back about what you used for dressing after seeing all those yummy salads at the cottage. Thanks for your tips on making your own. I can’t remember the last time I purchased a bottled brand!! However, I am a no measure person and pour directly onto my salads … my family says “Mom’s winging it again!!” but the problem with that is: it always turns out fabulous when there isn’t company at the table but when there is, it is never as good and sometimes it has been not good at all! Oops!! So, this gives me the “basics” as you say and then the herbs or fruit etc. can be added. I love the emulsifier; have to order one. Keep up the great work … I love your blog and your recipies. xo Laurie

    • Lauren September 29, 2011 at 7:54 am #

      Hi Laurie,
      Thanks for the positive feedback! Yes, its important to measure out your dressing ingredients for consistency and also calories. Olive oil is a healthy fat, but still packs a calorie punch. The emulsifier is great!

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