How to Make Healthy, Delicious Salad Dressing and Save $

For most of my life I have bought commercial salad dressings, the premier brands kept in the cold cases in the vegetable department, near the salad fixings. The unrefrigerated ones have so many additives and preservatives, I won’t buy them, but the good ones cost more.

Upon opening one of these jars of blue cheese dressing recently, I found an inch of mold on the top: a good sign in that mold indicates the product supports life; but bad because I paid $4.50 for a pint of moldy dressing and I wasn’t driving 35 miles round trip to return it.

Instead, I printed out a sheaf salad dressing recipes (10), read the gist of ingredients and decided to make my own creamy Caesar Salad Dressing. Note: I seldom follow recipes to the letter, and am suspicious of folks who do.

Instead of 1 cup of mayonnaise, I used ½ cup of light mayo and ½ cup of nonfat plain yogurt, cutting a few hundred calories. I skipped the beaten egg as raw eggs, even organic ones, are yucky in my opinion. Instead of 2 tablespoons of water, I added 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar (although there are many varieties of vinegar from which to choose).

I added only 1 tablespoon of oil because I prefer sesame oil which has a strong, nutty taste. Two tablespoons of olive oil would work well. I only had pre-grated parmesan cheese which seemed like a bargain until I noticed that the label stated emphatically that this brand contained No Added Fillers. What kind of fillers do other brands (imported from China?) contain? I resolved to only buy fresh parmesan from now on.

Instead of two teaspoons of garlic powder, I crushed two cloves of garlic. You can’t beat fresh garlic, and shouldn’t.  I substituted raw honey for the suggested 2 teaspoons of sugar. Instead of the salt, pepper and dried parsley flakes I added 2 pinches of Herbes de Provence 1880 Blend with Lavender, the Secret Ingredient.

I came upon this amazing product at the White Barn farmers market this month. Fennel pollen is the most potent form of fennel, a highly aromatic and flavorful herb with culinary and medicinal uses, but also the most expensive according to wiki. Check out the Golden Gourmet Pollen LLC website at You may find the one-ounce tin is pricey but this is the gold standard of fresh prepared herbal seasoning.

I finished off my dressing with a dash of poppy seeds and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. My pint of fresh dressing cost less than a dollar and also makes a zesty dip for my dried homegrown zucchini.

Caesar Salad Dressing with Fennel

  • ½ C light mayonnaise
  • ½ C nonfat yogurt
  • 2 T vinegar
  • 1-2 T oil
  • 1/4 C parmesan
  • 1-2 cloves pressed garlic
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 pinches fennel pollen spice
  • Dash of poppy seeds
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Mix and refrigerate. Enjoy.

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