Dress for Success: Salad Dressing Recipes

Splashy, classy or saucy, salad dressings amplify the flavor of your favorite fruits and vegetables.

| June/July 2006

  • The freshest ingredients make the best dressings. Choose freshly squeezed lemon juice over bottled, fresh herbs over dried.
    Photo By Shutterstock

Believe it or not, salads and the dressings that accompany them have a history as rich and colorful as the cultures from which they evolved. For instance, the Chinese have used soy sauce for thousands of years to dress vegetables. The ancient Babylonians favored oil and vinegar dressings. The royalty of Egyptian dynasties left written accounts of various oil and vinegar dressings, which included imported herbs and spices.

Salad Dressing Recipes

• Easy Salad Dressing 
• Basil Dressing
• Quick Buttermilk Dressing
• Basic Cobb Salad Dressing 
• Creamy Cucumber Dressing 
• Traditional French Dressing 
• Ginger Dressing  

History of Salad Dressing

Denizens of the great courts of Europe favored elaborate salads. Prestigious royal salad chefs combined as many as three dozen ingredients in one enormous salad bowl, including exotic greens, fragrant rose petals, marigolds, nasturtiums and vegetables. Mary, Queen of Scots, is said to have preferred boiled celery root, tossed with lettuce, served with a creamy mustard dressing, truffles, chervil and diced, hard-cooked eggs.

Servers delivered the exotic salads of the royal courts to applause and fanfare and paraded them like grand trophies. Chefs competing for positions in the royal kitchens concocted elaborate salads for their wealthy patrons, dreaming up ways to blend the various ingredients’ flavors together in the most impressive, colorful and innovative way and guarding these recipes for their lifetime, sharing it only on their deathbed—if then.

It wasn’t until the mid-1800s, when cookbooks were first printed for the masses, that common people encountered salad dressings. Before that, a bit of salt, some bacon grease and vinegar might be the most exotic dressing common people ate; salad wasn’t a part of the ordinary citizen’s diet.

The word salad is said to have evolved from the Latin word for salt. The Middle English word, salade, was first recorded in a book written around 1500.

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