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7 Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes

“The secret of a good salad is its dressing. Not only does a dressing add flavour and interest but it also marries its individual ingredients into a harmonious whole.”

homemade salad dressing ingredients
Why buy salad dressings loaded with preservatives and artificials when you can mix a superior one yourself in minutes, using the freshest ingredients?

Salad dressings are not new – a basic mixture of olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice, and salt has been used since ancient times in the countries bordering the Mediterranean.

Today you can go into any food market and choose from a wide range of dressings. But why buy ready-made ones loaded with preservatives and artificial flavourings when you can mix a superior one yourself in minutes, using the finest and freshest ingredients.

The Classic Salad Dressing

The classic French salad dressing is known as a vinaigrette.

There is an old French saying that it takes four men to make a good vinaigrette: a spendthrift for the oil, a miser for the vinegar, a wise man for the salt and a madman for the pepper.

The classic proportions for a vinaigrette are 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil. Salt and pepper are essential, and most French chefs will add a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, some fresh herbs and a pinch of sugar to emulsify the dressing.

This classic vinaigrette adds flavour and interest to green salads, tomato, and cucumber salads.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons wine vinegar, preferably tarragon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk the oil with the vinegar, mustard, herbs, and salt and pepper until well blended.

Alternatively, place all the ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake vigorously to combine well before using.

This basic dressing can be varied in many ways:

Indian Style Salad Dressing

For cooked vegetables, rice or pasta. Add 1 small crushed garlic clove and 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion, fried until soft in 1 teaspoon oil with 1 teaspoon curry powder.

Anchovy Style Salad Dressing

For raw salads, potato, pasta, roasted sweet (bell) peppers or tomatoes. Thoroughly soak 4 anchovies to remove the salt and fillet them if necessary. Puree the with 1 teaspoon capers. Add this mixture to the classic vinaigrette.

Herb Salad Dressing

Chop some chives, chervil and parsley with a few tarragon and mint leaves. Prepare the classic vinaigrette and add in the herbs.

Nutty Salad Dressing

Chop ½ cup (50g) walnuts, peanuts or hazelnuts, or a mixture of all three. Prepare a salad. Make a classic vinaigrette and add the chopped nuts at the last minute just before tossing the dressing into the salad and serving.

Herby Lemon-Lime Salad Dressing

Lemon and lime juice is another popular variation on the classic recipe. Here we combine it with herbs for a dressing to serve with a classic tomato, cucumber and onion salad.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh herbs (e.g. mint, parsley, chives, thyme, tarragon)
  • salt and pepper

Whisk together in a blender, or place all the ingredients in a screw top jar and shake vigorously to combine well before using.

Minty Salad Dressing

This light and refreshing salad dressing goes well with a cucumber salad, cold potato salad or tossed lightly over a fruit salad or apple and tuna salad.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
  • pinch of sugar
  • salt and pepper

Whisk together in a blender, or place all the ingredients in a screw top jar and shake vigorously to combine well before using. Set aside for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavours to develop, then whisk or shake again before using.

Basic Creamy Salad Dressing

The addition of cream or yoghurt to a salad dressing puts it into a completely new dimension. Like the classic vinaigrette recipe you can use this one as the basis for endless variations.

The secret of a good salad is its dressing. Not only does a dressing add flavour and interest but it also marries its individual ingredients into a harmonious whole.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream, sour cream, whipped cream or yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon  fresh lemon juice or wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp fresh herbs, minced (dill, parsley, thyme)
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper

Whisk all the ingredients, except the oil, together in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil. Set aside for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavours to develop, then whisk or shake again before using.

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Pikante Hoendernoedelsop Resep

pikante hoender noedelsop

In die 12de eeu het die beroemde geneesheer en filosoof Maimonides kruiebaddens en hoendersop voorgeskryf vir die behandeling van verkoues.

Meer as 800 jaar later, bevestig die New England Journal of Medicine dat Maimonides reg was. Navorsers het bevind dat hoendersop ‘n ligte antibiotika en ontstuwingsmiddel is, en dat dit geïrriteerde lugweë streel. Tradisionele Chinese genesers maak vandag nog van hoendersop gebruik om verkoues te behandel.

Om vinnig ‘n genesende hoendersop te maak, sit hoender, uie, wortels, peper en ‘n knippie sout in ‘n pot met water. Bring tot kookpunt. Voeg ‘n brandrissie, peper en knoffel by. Kook stadig tot die hoender uitmekaar val. Skep die vet af en giet die sop deur. Voeg ‘n paar dun skyfies suurlemoen by en bedien stomend warm.

Hier is een van my gunsteling hoendernoedelsop resepte. Om die genesende krag van die sop te versterk sit ek ekstra gemmer, knoffel en brandrissie by.

Pikante Hoendernoedelsop
  • 1,5 liter hoenderaftreksel
  • 2 wortels, geskil, in blokkies gesny
  • 2 selderystingels, fyn gekap
  • 3 sprietuie, gekap
  • 5 ml sout
  • 2 ml peper
  • 1 eetlepel gerasperde gemmer
  • 3 knoffelhuisies, gekneus
  • 1 brandrissie, gekap
  • 150g sampioene, in dun skyfies gesny
  • 50g rou eier noedels
  • 150g gaar hoender, in blokkies gesny
  1. Bring die aftreksel tot kookpunt in 'n groot kastrol.
  2. Voeg die wortels, seldery, sprietuie, sout, peper, gemmer, knoffel en brandrissie by. Prut, bedek, vir 15 minute.
  3. Roer die sampioene en noedels in. Voeg die hoender by en prut vir 10 minute.
  4. Bedien dadelik

This recipe is also available in English.

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Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup

bowl of spicy chicken noodle soupIn the 12th century the great physician and philosopher Maimonides prescribed herbal baths and chicken soup as remedies for the common cold.

More than 800 years later, the New England Journal of Medicine confirmed that Maimonides was right. Researchers found that chicken soup was a mild antibiotic, decongestant and throat soother. Chinese healers to this day also use chicken soup to treat colds, though they do add some herbs, like ginseng, to their brew.

To make a healing chicken soup simply add chicken, onion, carrots, pepper and a pinch of salt to a pot with water. Bring to a boil. Add a chilli pepper and garlic. Boil slowly until the chicken is soft and tender. Skim off the fat and pour through a sieve. Add a few squirts of lemon juice and serve steaming hot. Sip slowly.

Here’s one of my favourite chicken noodle soup recipes. To boost its cold fighting properties I add loads of ginger, garlic and chilli pepper.

Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup
  • 1,5 litres chicken stock
  • 2 carrots, peeled, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 3 spring onions, chopped
  • 5 ml salt
  • 2 ml pepper
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 chilli pepper, chopped
  • 150 g mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 50 g raw egg noodles
  • 150 g cooked chicken, diced
  1. Bring stock to a boil in a large saucepan.
  2. Add the carrots, celery, spring onions, salt, pepper, ginger, garlic and chilli pepper. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in the mushrooms and noodles. Add the chicken and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Serve immediately.

Hierdie resep is ook beskikbaar in Afrikaans.

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Potato Wedges with Rosemary and Thyme – Recipe

A favourite in almost every household and restaurant, this potato wedges recipe can be enjoyed as a snack, side dish, or as a light meal on its own. I love serving it with a juicy steak or as a quick snack with sweet chili sauce or a dipping sauce.

You almost can’t make a mistake with this recipe and if you do, well then you might have just created your own signature version of it.

Potato Wedges

Potato Wedges with Rosemary and Thyme
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 4
  • 6 large potatoes (peeled)
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Sea Salt & pepper
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 220 C with a roasting pan inside
  2. Cut the potatoes into wedges about 1 cm thick.
  3. Boil the potato wedges in salted water for about 5-6 minutes until just tender not soft.
  4. Drain the potato wedges and pat dry with paper towel.
  5. Remove the hot roasting pan from the oven and scatter the potatoes in the pan.
  6. Coat the potato wedges with the garlic, herbs, olive oil, salt & pepper. Use tongs to toss all the ingredients to make sure everything is mixed properly.
  7. Bake for 10-15 min until golden brown and crispy, turning regularly during baking. Remove and serve.
Variations: Baby potatoes cut in halves. Add a sprinkle of fresh lemon juice. Tip: Use fresh herbs and not dried, as the fresh herbs flavours will develop more in the oven. Make sure the potato wedges are well coated with olive oil as this is vital in getting them crispy.

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Our Favourite Basil Pesto Recipe

Making basil pesto by hand – with a mortar and pestle – arguably produces a far tastier end result than making pesto with a food blender.

For starters, the consistency is different. It’s coarser than the blender-made version. At the same time it’s silky and emulsified. The colour is different as well, more of a creamy shade of olive than bright green.

Most importantly it tastes better, having a rounder, fuller more balanced flavour.

“Perhaps the best reason for making pesto by hand is for the pleasure of the process. You’ll see the separate ingredients slowly transform in unctuous sauce. You’ll smell the powerful clove, mint, and licorice fragrances of the basil as it combines with the garlic and cheese. And you’ll listen to the soft pounding and grinding of the pestle instead of the unyielding whir of an electric motor.” – Chef Jerry Traunfeld, author of The Herb Farm Cookbook

Chef Traunfeld is also the creator of this pesto recipe. And just like his machine-made version it makes the best basil pesto we’ve ever tasted. Follow his recipe to the letter and you’ll also end up with a perfectly balanced fragrant and voluptuous basil pesto.

By the way, if you like this recipe, get yourself a copy of The Herb Farm Cookbook. It’s a must have for any foodie or food professional.

making basil pesto

Our Favourite Basil Pesto Recipe
Prep time
Total time
Makes about 1 cup, enough pesto sauce for a bowl of pasta for 4
Serves: 4
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons raw pine nuts
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups sweet basil leaves, gently packed
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Put the garlic, pine nuts and salt in a large mortar. Use the pestle with a gentle downward pounding action to crush the ingredients and start to form a paste.
  2. Coarsely chop the basil leaves on a cutting board with a sharp knife. Add the leaves to the mortar one handful at a time as you begin to rotate the pestle in a circular grinding movement, working mostly at the bottom of the bowl. From time to time use the pestle to pound the mixture with downward strokes. After several minutes it will start to form a paste.
  3. When all the leaves are added, begin to add the olive oil a little at a time, while continuing to use the pestle with the rotary grinding motion. When all the oil is added, the colour will be lighter and the oil will be suspended in the thick spoonable sauce, but you will still be able to see shreds of the basil leaves. Stir in the cheese.

Hungry for more pesto recipes? Try these…

More Resources
Follow Chef Jerry Traunfeld (@poppyseatle) on Twitter
Get a copy of The Herb Farm Cookbook by Chef Traunfeld at your favourite book store.