Cooking Techniques: James Holloway Shares His Recipes For Eight Great Salad Dressings



I’m a great advocate for making salad dressings at home. Buy quality ingredients and learn a few simple techniques, and soon your homemade dressings will be far better than any you could buy, and at half the cost.  Really.  My co-chef for the Monday night vegetarian dinners in Palo Alto, James Holloway, is the king (well, at the very least, the prince) of salad dressings. He’s ever coming up with creative ways to dress the various green, vegetable and grain salads we serve throughout the year. Here, James shares with us eight of his dressing recipes, from a simple red wine vinaigrette to a rich blue cheese caesar aioli. See his recipes after the jump…

(Photo: balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar/ via Wikipedia)





1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon minced shallots

pinch of salt

1/3 cup olive oil


(Less acid)

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon minced shallots

1 tablespoon sweetener or choice

pinch of salt and pepper

fresh minced herbs of choice

1/3 cup olive oil

Method for both versions: Combine all ingredients except oil in a bowl, whisk with a wire whip. Let rest for a bit to meld flavors, then whisk in olive oil slowly to form an emulsion. Taste and adjust seasoning.



3/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar

3-4 slices fresh peeled ginger

2 cloves smashed garlic

2 tablespoons mirin (sweet cooking sake)

4 tablespoons apple juice concentrate

1 tablespoon honey mustard

pinch of salt

1/2 cup olive oil

Method: Combine all ingredients except oil in a blender and blend until smooth. Slowly drizzle in olive oil in a stream to form an emulsion.



1/2 cup pomegranate juice

1/2 cup raspberry juice concentrate

1 clove garlic, smashed

4 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon herbs de Provence

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup mild olive oil

Method: Place the first six ingredients into a blender, add a pinch of salt, blend on medium speed until well mixed, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil to form an emulsion (add more oil for a thicker dressing, less for a thinner one).



1 cup seasoned rice vinegar

3 tablespoons mirin

2 tablespoons honey mustard

3 tablespoons apple juice concentrate

4-5 thin slices peeled ginger root

1/2-1 ripe avocado, peeled and seeded

pinch of salt

olive oil to emulsify, maybe 1/4 cup or less

Place all ingredients except oil into blender, blend to smooth, then drizzle in a bit of oil, not too much is needed due to the thickening provided by the avocado.



2 garlic cloves, mashed with a little salt until smooth

grated zest of 2 limes

3-4 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2  tablespoons chopped scallion or minced shallot

1/2 jalapeño chili, seeded and minced

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds

1/4  teaspoon yellow mustard seeds

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Method: Pound or mince the garlic with salt in a mortar until smooth. Combine the garlic in a bowl with the lime zest, juice, scallion and chili. Toast the cumin, coriander and mustard seeds in a small dry skillet until fragrant, then immediately remove them to a plate to cool.  Grind the seeds to a powder in a spice mill, or mortar and pestle, then add them to the juice mixture. Whisk in the oil, taste and adjust with fresh pepper and salt if needed, add cilantro just be before using.



3 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos

3 tablespoons mirin

3 tablespoons soy sauce

4 slices fresh peeled ginger

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon honey mustard

2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

1/2 cup caramelized onion (start with 1 medium onion)

3/4 cup olive oil

Method: Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy.  Store for use as marinade, or use as sauce for grains.



3 tablespoons champagne vinegar

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2-3 cloves minced garlic

1 egg yolk (Note: if you are concerned about raw egg safety, use a pasteurized egg product)

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons anchovy fillet or paste

dash Worcestershire sauce

pinch of freshly ground pepper

3/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola (or other blue cheese)

2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese

Method: Blend the first 8 ingredients until well mixed, then slowly add the olive oil until all the oil is incorporated.  Finally, pulse in the gorgonzola, then the parmesan.



1 clove garlic, mashed with salt

1 cup yogurt, mayo, tofu mayo, or sour cream

3 teaspoons curry powder

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

5 tablespoons canola or light olive oil

2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

Method: Combine garlic, yogurt and curry in a small bowl.  Stir in the lemon juice, then whisk in oil, let stand 15 minutes, then stir in the cilantro. Taste and adjust seasoning. This is a great dip/dressing for fresh cut or lightly blanched veggies.

2 responses

  1. Some people may think that the dressing on a salad could make or break it. Hopefully these dressings pass the test. They sound like they would be delicious. Thank you for posting.

  2. Hi James,

    The Green Goddess is to die for. I’m having it AGAIN tonight. Can’t say I like the name though, it sounds like it will have mayo in it. Maybe the Green Goodness instead? The curry dressing was yummy with sauteed tempeh (although I doubled the amount of garlic and curry powder to give it more punch).

    Mucho Thanks!

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