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A drizzling of this lovely Lemon Dressing will instantly brighten any dish you add it into! This classic vinaigrette will give even the simplest of tossed greens or veggie sticks a burst of zesty, sweet, and savory flavor. Make it using simple ingredients you likely already have around the kitchen in just under 5 minutes.
Do you know that you can make the exact same dressing that you buy off the shelves at home? Not only will it save you the trip to your local grocery store, but you will also be saving some bucks while you are at it. We have tried it with our homemade Basil Salad Dressing and our Slaw Dressing with a Kick, and all we can say is – nothing beats homemade!
Why Make Lemon Dressing from Scratch
Aside from being budget-wise, here are a few more reasons to make this dressing yourself.
- It is super easy! It will only take you 5 minutes to get this dressing ready. All you have to do is get all the ingredients together and whisk!
- Healthier than commercial dressings. You are assured that all the ingredients are free from additives and preservatives. You will be using all-natural plant-based ingredients that you can consume without worries!
- Make it the way you like it! Unlike those bottled dressings you have been buying, you can custom make your lemon dressing to suit your preference. Make it sweeter, tangier or more garlicky! Follow your heart’s desire!
- It is super versatile. Don’t sell this vibrantly yummy dressing short! Aside from using it with your salads, you can also double the recipe so you can use the rest as a dip, marinade, or braising sauce.
If you are hankering for some good dressing for your kale or other greens, do a quick rummage in your pantry and fridge and will probably find these:
- Lemon juice – You will need at least 1 big or 2 medium lemons to make this. Freshly squeezed is best because they have a bright zing that is perfect for this recipe. In a pinch, you can use a good quality bottled lemon juice too.
- Olive oil – We always prefer using extra virgin when making salad dressings. It is less processed and has a more pleasant taste.
- Garlic – This adds a punch of savoriness to the dressing.
- Dijon mustard – Adding this gives more complexity to an otherwise ordinary dressing. With its robust flavors and spicy undertone, it gives a depth of flavor that makes this dressing extra special.
- Agave – ½ teaspoon of this adds the perfect amount of sweetness. However, you can add more if you prefer it sweeter. You can also use maple syrup or plain sugar if you do not have this.
- Rice vinegar – This vinegar has a sweeter and more delicate flavor than regular white vinegar. You can also try using apple cider if you do not have this.
How to Make Lemon Dressing
All you need to do is combine all your ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and whisk until everything is well combined. You can also place all the ingredients in a jar, put the lid on, close it tightly, and then shake well. You can let the dressing rest for a bit to let the flavors mingle, then use it with your salads!
Tips when Making Lemon Dressing
1) I used a 3:2 oil to acid ratio for this recipe. If you are using it for marinades and braising, feel free to modify this to fit your recipe better. Use more oil, especially when you are grilling or roasting your dish.
2) You can add your favorite herbs to make this even more flavorful. A pinch of basil, chives, dill, or parsley will take this dressing to the next level! Here’s a great way to keep your herbs fresh!
3) As always, do a taste test! You might think your dressing is too tangy, savory, or sweet when you taste it as it is. But try scooping a bit into lettuce or kale first and see how it plays against the greens. Then make the adjustment after, if needed.
4) Add a pinch of red pepper flakes to give your dressing a kick!
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why is my dressing runny? It is possible that you added way too much vinegar. Also, do not skip the dijon mustard, as it also acts as an emulsifier that helps bind the oil and lemon juice together.
- Should I refrigerate my dressing? Since we used natural ingredients for this dressing, it is best kept in the fridge as soon as possible to prevent it from going bad.
- Why is the oil in my dressing separating? This is because your dressing is not emulsified enough. Mustard and agave should do the trick here, so this can happen if you use less of these. Don’t worry; a simple stir or shake should fix it.
Storing Homemade Lemon Dressing
Place the dressing in a sterile jar and tightly place the lid, then keep it on the fridge. The dressing tastes better the longer it is stored, but make sure you consume it within a week. You will know if it is bad when it smells rancid. Since we used extra virgin olive oil, the dressing will solidify. Just let it thaw at room temperature before using.
Here are more easy homemade salad dressings you can try!
- Japanese Carrot-Ginger Salad Dressing – It is a bright, tangy, and zesty sauce that is super easy to make, 100% plant-based, and is extremely useful to have on hand. It’s excellent over fresh or grilled vegetables as a salad dressing, or you can stir it into soups and stews for a hit of bright, gingery flavor.
- Cilantro and Green Chili Dressing – It’s a tangy, zesty, and brightly flavored dressing that you can use to instantly elevate your mains, veggies, and more. It is gluten-free, vegan, and will only take you 15 minutes to make!
- Slaw Dressing with a Kick! – It’s creamy, slightly tangy, with a touch of sweetness and spiciness that is undeniably delicious! This vegan version is mayo-free, gluten-free, and done in just 6 minutes.
Photos by Alfonso Revilla
- 3 Tablespoons of lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 cloves of minced garlic
- 1 ½ teaspoons of Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon of agave (or if you don't have it use sugar)
- ½ teaspoon of rice vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- Pepper to taste
- Combine all ingredients and whisk it up.
- I used a 3:2 oil to acid ratio for this recipe. If you are using it for marinades and braising, feel free to modify this to fit your recipe better. Use more oil, especially when you are grilling or roasting your dish.
- You can add your favorite herbs to make this even more flavorful. A pinch of basil, chives, dill, or parsley will take this dressing to the next level! Here’s a great way to keep your herbs fresh!
- As always, do a taste test! You might think your dressing is too tangy, savory, or sweet when you taste it as it is. But try scooping a bit into lettuce or kale first and see how it plays against the greens. Then make the adjustment after, if needed.
- Add a pinch of red pepper flakes to give your dressing a kick!
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