An easy way to save on groceries is by making expensive condiments yourself. One of the easiest to make is salad dressing!
It's shocking that salad dressing costs as much as it does, when it's basically oil, vinegar, and some spices. Even if you use coupons and sales to purchase salad dressing, it can still be cheaper to make your own.
Plus, you'll know that you're putting good, healthful ingredients in it. You can put heart-healthy oils like olive oil in your salad dressing, instead of corn oil which is not as healthy (or delicious!). Plus, your own salad dressing won't had added chemicals or artificial colors or flavors in it.
To make your own salad dressing, you'll need to gather the following:
- Oils - You can get olive oil cheaply at ALDI or Walmart, or wait for a sale at the grocery store and use a coupon like this $1.00/1 any Star® Olive Oil (16 oz. or larger) coupon to save more. Canola oil is also a good choice.
- Vinegars - there are lots of possibilities here! Look for red wine, balsamic, and white vinegars. Often there are coupons available, such as this $0.50/1 Pompeian® Vinegar coupon, but vinegars rarely go on sale. You can purchase flavored vinegars, but they will be pricy. Instead, try infusing vinegars with fresh herbs from your garden. Follow these Flavored Vinegars and Oils instructions from Colorado State University to make sure you are making your flavored vinegars safely.
- Lemon juice is often a nice flavor in a vinaigrette. Look for lemon juice cheaply at ethnic food stores, or buy a bag when they go on sale at ALDI. Or just buy a single one from the grocery store.
- Herbs and spices - many of these can be grown cheaply on a sunny windowsill. Or look for dried ones at ALDI or at Walmart - the Badia spice brand in my area is very inexpensive.
- Other ingredients like mustard or mayonnaise - again, look for good deals on those!
- Bottles - you'll need bottles to store your dressings if you make more than you can use at one sitting. You can wash and reuse purchased condiment bottles, or buy your own food-grade salad dressing bottles from a reputable manufacturer.
- Bowls (not aluminum), measuring spoons and cups, a whisk, and a funnel to pour your salad dressing into the bottle.
Generally, you'll want to use one part oil to three parts vinegar. You can vary this a bit depending on the acidity of your vinegar - the sweeter the vinegar, the more you can add; if it's a more acidic vinegar, you might want to try less. If you use lemon juice, have that amount of lemon juice replace vinegar. For instance, you might use one part olive oil, one part lemon juice, and two parts vinegar.
Add your oil and vinegar to a glass bowl, then add in your herbs and seasonings, and mix briskly with the whisk, making an emulsion of the ingredients.
Use right away, or allow the flavors to meld for a few hours, mixing again before serving. Or pour the dressing into your food-grade salad dressing bottle and store in the refrigerator. Be sure to mix well by shaking the bottle when you go to serve the dressing later.
I think making salad dressing is simple enough without recipes, but if you would prefer to follow a recipe, here are a few sources for you!
Holiday Traditions with Ambience!
Enjoy making your own salad dressing - and saving money, too!