Food

A Magic Grid of Salad Dressings

A Magic Grid of Salad Dressings by Love & Lemon

If you’re anything like me, it’s easy to get into a salad dressing rut — which is especially troubling this time of year when we’re surrounded by peak summer produce that begs for simple salads all day long. Enter Jeanine Donofrio‘s magical salad dressing chart…

Jeanine is the wizard behind the blog Love & Lemons, and her latest cookbook Love & Lemons Every Day is packed with bright, plant-based recipes that look and taste like they hold transformative superpowers. But my favorite spread in the book is not even a traditional recipe. It’s this, her “Giant Grid of Salad Dressings,” which makes it easy and, dare I say, fun for anyone to up their salad game…

A Magic Grid of Salad Dressings

All you have to do is scan the chart, pull together some basic ingredients, plus (this is important) salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, and presto! Rut busted! How much better would a Bibb-tomato-avocado salad be if I tossed it with that curried yogurt dressing instead of my default-mode lemon juice and Dijon concoction? How much fresher would a kale slaw taste if you mixed it with her homemade dill blend instead of a store-bought variety? You can use her grid beyond the traditional leafy salad, too. Donofrio drizzles her Lemon Tahini on sweet potato wedges, tops black bean and swiss chard bowls with Red Pepper Mojo, and uses Healthier Ranch as a dip for summer vegetable skewers. In other words, the real magic lies in all the possibilities.

Love and Lemons cookbook

Which would you make? Any other dressings you swear by? I also liked this approach.

P.S. A killer salad recommendation and nine reader-favorite summer recipes. Plus, how to make your salads look amazing.

(Dressing grid reprinted with permission from Love and Lemons Every Day. Photos by Jack Mathews.)

  1. God, I am in such a salad dressing rut – going to print this out and stick it on the cupboard at home!

  2. Annie says...

    Am I the only one who doesn’t know what to do with this simple summer produce? I could just eat a tomato sandwich, but what about everything else? What actually IS a summer salad put together with “market” finds?

  3. Emily says...

    For a creamy dressing I like plain yogurt, olive oil, blue cheese, a little vinegar, and either fresh basil or fresh dill —then just blend with an immersion blender and add a little water if it is too thick (depends on the thickness of your yogurt).

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      this sounds delicious!

  4. I never knew how much I needed this. This grid is a life saver!!

  5. Gaby says...

    Oooooo… Thank you for this gem! I’ve become quite a salad dressing snob turning my nose at anything in a bottle – ew gross. One of my favorites is Whole Sisters’ “dump ranch” – a coconut based ranch dressing that is so much tastier than regular ranch. Also, sherry vinegar, walnut oil, olive oil, whole grain mustard, a pinch of salt – sometimes with a bit of maple syrup.

    • Mary says...

      Oh, you dear sweet little dressing snob. I’m sitting in the same chair with the same bad, er, um, good attitude. I love homemade dressings and wonder why everyone doesn’t share our good taste. It is so easy to whip up a dressing. I keep a huge assortment of vinegars and oils in my cabinet and love the fresh herbs from my garden. Life is good. And these dressings are better.

  6. Kahani says...

    The vinegar seems to keep them going pretty well! I’ve kept my homemade dressings in a clean jar for up to a month. It may require topping up as it concentrates. Of course, depending on how much vinegar the dressing has, your mileage may vary.

  7. Heidi says...

    Oh man… Another book I “need”! :D

  8. Jody Winter says...

    This surpasses the periodic table and the London Underground map in its design. Inspired!

  9. gfy says...

    I throw everything into a bullet blender and it makes it so easy.
    I also aim for fat-free (or use whole fat like nuts or half an avocado) by blending herbs with fresh fruit juice, salt and chili flakes. A favorite is cilantro and orange or pineapple in the bullet blender. Tomato tahini is good too.

  10. Nicole Tarbox says...

    Wonder how long they will keep in the fridge for! I’d to have a “my” house dressing on hand.

  11. Amanda says...

    I LOVE this and also want to say thank you for linking to her book on Indie Bound!!

  12. Kristin says...

    This is brilliant! Thank you so much :)

  13. Twyla says...

    Thank you for this! Printing right now to post in my kitchen.

  14. Lindsay says...

    Caesar salad is pretty yummy with any homemade pasta or pizza night. Blend mashed anchovies with a little garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and plenty of grated Parmesan and pepper for great Caesar

    • Sasha L says...

      Or put your Caesar salad ON your pizza! So delicious.

  15. Alice says...

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. For the Giant Grid, and for prompting the COJ readers to share their favourites :)

    Clearly the name Donofrio equals greatness.

  16. Lindsay says...

    Thanks. So when you guys add coconut milk to things, do you use the cans, and do you shake it to mix the hard cream into the liquid or just use the liquid part? I never know.

    • Sasha L says...

      I would shake the can and use the blended milk.

  17. Wendy says...

    Can someone explain the difference between tamari, shoyu and soy sauce? Do I need to have all of them in my house or is one most versatile? Can anyone recommend a type or brand of whichever I should have?

    • Lesley says...

      I am only familiar with Japanese soy sauce, so I can’t comment on other types of soy sauce. (Also, shoyu is just the Japanese word for soy sauce). Between tamari and soy sauce, I personally find soy sauce to be more versatile – although tamari is usually wheat free so some people prefer that. If you only want to buy one, soy sauce is a good bet. For brand, I really think it is a matter of taste. A good quality, traditionally made soy sauce (aged in barrels) is completely different than the grocery store type (like Kikkoman) but hard to find. A good quality soy sauce is going to be fine for most purposes (and worth going to an asian market to buy). I usually buy the organic Kikkoman soy sauce that is made in Japan and doesn’t have any additives and it works out well.

    • Wendy says...

      Lesley, thank you, that is super helpful. We have great Asian groceries here, so I will look for the organic Kikkoman next time I’m there.

  18. Lauren E. says...

    This is GOLD! Thanks so much for posting. We eat a lot of salads in the summer and once in awhile I switch it up, and my sweet husband will say, “This dressing is DELICIOUS!” even if it’s simple.

  19. Rebecca says...

    Mint + lemon + olive oil + salt on lettuce/tomato/cucumber salad = summer bliss.

  20. Sasha L says...

    Veg Caesar: toss in blender, olive oil, hard boiled eggs, garlic, mustard, salt, pepper, fresh lemon juice. It’s so delicious, especially good on grilled romaine. If you haven’t had grilled romaine, brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with lots of salt and pepper, straight off the BBQ, try it tonight. So good.

  21. Sasha L says...

    It’s technically the *sauce* for Korean tofu tacos, but it’s also an amazing salad dressing: 1/2 cup mayo, 2 T each Sriracha and maple syrup, chopped green onions (can leave out of you like). I can’t even describe how much I love this sauce.

  22. lydia says...

    these would make gorgeous posters/art to hang in a kitchen. does she sell prints of them?

    • Amanda H. says...

      I love this idea too!

    • Jen Collins says...

      I thought the same thing!

    • N says...

      Yes! Seconded!

    • Quinn says...

      I had the same thought!

  23. Heidi says...

    My new dressing: a few tablespoons of good mayo (Who am I, Ina Garten?) and a few tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Whisk together with pepper and a pinch or two of your favorite dried herbs. (I like dried oregano and basil.) Makes a great dressing for pasta salad with chicken, olives, arugula and a cheese like feta or mozzarella pearls. Tangy and delicious.

    • Maureen says...

      I literally just read this in my head with Ina’s voice. LOL.

    • ANDREA says...

      Mayo and red wine vinegar is also the easiest dressing for a cucumber salad. Peel and slice the cucumbers medium width and then add the dressing. Such an easy summer meal accompaniment.

    • Jessica says...

      How easy is that?? ;)

  24. Megan says...

    Jenny! Please help! I see the delicious Lemon Tahini dressing above. I’ve made a similar one in the past, but I keep running into a problem: When I add the lemon juice to the tahini, it appears to…curdle? The tahini gets much thicker, like an almond paste. Sometimes it helps if I add the other ingredients first (maple syrup, water, or olive oil) but sometimes it still happens. Does this happen to you? What causes this? How can I fix it? This has confused me for years!!! :)

    • Biddy says...

      More water and more whisking!

    • Caitlin says...

      Megan, jumping in to say what’s probably happening is your tahini is seizing (this is a good article that explains it: https://www.cooksillustrated.com/how_tos/8359-a-surprising-tahini-thickener). It won’t compromise the integrity of whatever you’re making and you haven’t done anything wrong—it’s just the way carbohydrates interact with liquids! If you keep stirring and adding liquid, it will combine and have the same consistency throughout eventually.

    • Sasha L says...

      My Thai PB sauce does this – just keep stirring and eventually it gets smooth

    • Megan says...

      Ahhh – amazing tips and article links. Thanks!!

  25. Mary Manion says...

    Pok Pok Thai Basil drinking vinegar is a game changer – I put it on EVERYTHING. Also great on rice with cilantro and ginger…credit to my dear friend Dysthe for introducing me…

    • Kristin says...

      God, I miss Brooklyn Pok Pok…
      Good call on the drinking vinegar!

  26. These grids are gorgeous and I’m excited to try some, but DALS Money in the Bank Salad Dressing Will forever have my heart!

  27. Sarah Arter says...

    THANK YOU!!

  28. Cooper says...

    Where does one find miso? Do I have to go to a special grocery store or can I find it at Trader Joe’s? What section of the store is it in? I’m excited to experiment with it! Thanks :)

    • sarah says...

      in the fridge section – stores here usually stock near the tofu/kimchi

    • Erin says...

      Miso paste is in the refrigerator case, near stuff like hummus and fresh mozarella. (I haven’t seen it at TJ’s but haven’t really looked; I get it at the other grocery store I go to.)

      One of my go-to lazy dinners is soup consisting of water, miso paste, some random veggies — spinach is good, but I tend to throw in whatever is in the veggie drawer — and TJ’s frozen potstickers, which function as pretty good little dumplings in soup.

  29. Sarah says...

    But is she related to Caroline??

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      no, but that would be so cool!

    • Sarah says...

      Thank you!! Was coming her to ask the same question! They even look alike!

    • Alice says...

      My first thought!!

  30. CORTNEY says...

    Thank you for this! I don’t like vinegar so I shy away from salad but most of these don’t have vinegar! I can’t wait to try them!

  31. Karen says...

    THANK YOU!! We have been in a dressing rut at home.

  32. Erin G. says...

    So fun – these look amazing! I’ll toss my super creamy balsamic dressing that uses raw walnuts as the base into the mix: You blend up big handful (1/4 cup maybe) of walnuts and then add in balsamic, maple syrup, dijon, garlic, salt and pepper. It’s really amazing. I will say, to get it really smooth you need a Vitamix/Magic Bullet/Ninja situation – but if you have one, it’s a really great creamy (dairy-free) dressing!

    • Whitney says...

      Walnuts are such a good idea! I also really love Sprouted Kitchen’s dressing that starts with tahini. So creamy without adding a bunch of mayo.

    • Shari says...

      Will try. Thanks for sharing.

    • Lindsay says...

      Thanks! Years ago I loved one similar but it used almonds. I love walnuts!

    • Lindsay says...

      Also, a food processor will get them smooth too, I’ve made walnut butter with mine.

  33. Lauren says...

    I cook all of the time, and dressing ruts are so REAL! I get stuck on the same two mustard vinaigrette’s, that I’ll just stop making salad for awhile until I’m not tired of those specific back-of-hand dressings. Enter this chart, and SALAD FOR DAYZ NOW!

  34. Jane I. says...

    As a super fan of the BAS (Big Ass Salad), this is amazing! Insert heart-eyes emoji. My go to is the classic: balsamic vinegar, raw honey (nuked for 10 seconds), Dijon mustard, good olive oil, salt and pep. Now I can’t wait to add some new tricks up my s-leaves! (see what I did there?)

  35. El says...

    I love this!! Suggestion for turning any salad into a substantial meal– add a couple of cups of cooked farro (I boil ahead of time, toss with a little olive oil and salt, and keep in the fridge). It is the perfect salad grain, imo. :)

    • Eva says...

      agreed. farro is magique.

    • Lindsay says...

      Yes! So chewy

  36. KL says...

    MORE OF THIS!!!

  37. Melanie says...

    THANK YOU!!! In such a dressing rut right now!! I hope lots of people post their own recipes, HINT HINT!!

  38. Emily says...

    I am a huge fan of making one’s own salad dressing. I do it 95% of the time. My favorite go to is equal parts lemon juice and olive oil, a small scoop of honey, salt, pepper, and a vigorous shake or wisk. Voila! So good – especially on a salad full of fresh summer produce.

  39. Julie says...

    I use oregano, garlic, red wine vinegar, and olive oil for my panzanella salad and simple green salads. My favorite for cold noodles is a miso ginger dressing from Smitten Kitchen. I JUST bought tahini, so I’m going to experiment with that!

  40. Amanda says...

    Oh my, I think that lemon thyme will be AMAZING on my favorite salad of all time : fuji apples, pecans (toasted or sometimes candied), goat (or blue or feta) cheese, chicken, and diced bacon. I am forever trying to find its perfect salad dressing mate, and I think this might be it!! And I think the pesto vinaigrette will go well with the steak and summer peaches salad I make about this time of year. Thanks for the inspiration! Going to go daydream about salads now…

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      YUM!

  41. Tami says...

    This is GOLD!

  42. Kim says...

    This is brilliant! TY